back to article Chrome ad, content blockers beg Google: Don't execute our code! Wait, no, do execute our code – just don't kill us!

Makers of ad blockers, content filters, and privacy extensions for Google's Chrome browser have drawn up a list of desired technical fixes to undo the anticipated damage from pending browser platform changes. The proposed API changes, collectively referred to as Manifest v3, would break many ad-blockers and other Chrome …

  1. JohnFen Silver badge

    Making Chrome less acceptable

    I'm already in the small group of people who don't find Chrome to be a good browser, but everything I've heard about Manifest v3 -- not just the proposed restrictions, but the reasoning behind wanting them -- is telling me that it would make Chrome into an unacceptable browser.

    1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge

      Re: Making Chrome less acceptable

      Agreed. And why trust a browser from a source who has an inherent conflict of interest in protecting users privacy, and always will?

  2. arctic_haze

    Why bother?

    Maybe it's time for switching to Firefox?

    1. emullinsabq

      Re: Why bother?

      There is a reason FF has several forks. The FF devs stopped listening to users long ago, instead mostly copying Chrome. I recommend trying some of those forks instead-- it will save you aggravation.

      Another reason is that jumping between FF/Chrome when one ticks you off gets you the same basic issue of a two party political system where choice is often just illusion.

      1. Ragarath

        Re: Why bother?

        Surely the answer then is to all go back to IE! Edge is just another chrome (or soon to be) so that's out of the question.

      2. Joe Drunk

        Re: Why bother?

        Plenty of Chrome forks too. I switch between Mozilla/Chrome forks depending on my mood and extension need. I can't remember the last time I used a mainstream browser. They suck.

    2. JcRabbit

      Re: Why bother?

      I've stuck with Firefox for many years, but it's not without it's problems, especially if you like to keep a lot of tabs open:

      First they did not have a 64 bit version which would limit the amount of memory it could use to 3GB, then with the 64 bit version I run into memory fragmentation eventually slowing down the browser to a crawl - at least that could be sorted for a while by going to about:memory and clicking on the GC, CC, and 'Minimize Memory Usage' buttons.

      Firefox Quantum fixed the memory fragmentation issue and subsequent slow down, but now the browser gobbles up RAM like there is no tomorrow. It simply looks like it NEVER releases memory, even when you close the tabs. Problem with this is that the buttons in the about:memory page no longer seem to help either. Only solution if you want to get nearly all of that memory back is to restart the browser.

      Quantum is actually the major reason why I went from 16GB of RAM to 32GB of RAM in my new system. Kid you not lol.

      1. JLV Silver badge

        Re: Why bother?

        I agree, my main browser is Firefox and its RAM hogging has been a disgrace forever.

        I find Vivaldi uses much less RAM than either Firefox or Chrome (tally up those per-PID RAM grabs of Chrome's, always instructive). Which is odd, considering Vivaldi's also a Chromium-based browser. Makes one wonder what Chrome uses all that RAM for, if it's not a built-in shortcoming of their engine.

        (Disclaimer: was always a bit put off by hardcore Opera fans insisting theirs was the one true way. But Vivaldi's so far delivering rather well)

      2. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Why bother?

        "I've stuck with Firefox for many years, but it's not without it's problems"

        True. I've been using Firefox since the very beginning. Unlike your experience, though, mine is that post-Quantum, Firefox has become a browser that I prefer to avoid (for many of the same reasons as I prefer to avoid Chrome). I switched to Waterfox instead.

  3. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge

    The real reason

    For Google wanting to make the changes is that ad-blockers are winning the war with the advertisers and it is the advertisers who give Google its large profits.

    After the "discussion" the result will still be that Chrome will not do as good a job in blocking rubbish as it does at present when ad-blockers are used.

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: The real reason

      To be honest I'm always surprised that Google haven't just banned ad blockers from their plugin store. Why would they make it so easy for their customers to bypass their main source of revenue?

      Similarly, I'm surprised that they've never made it harder to block ads on Youtube, I'd have thought it would be easy to block the video from playing until an advert had been played (or at least sent to the customer), but instead adblockers just stop the ads, and the videos play as soon as you click.

      I should probably shut up and stop giving them ideas.

      1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: The real reason

        The popularity of ad-blockers means that a large number of people would simply stop using chrome. Blocking ads is more important than browser features.

        Similarly, the adblockers ultimate weapon is not to support a browser, as few users wanting a blocker are going to trust anything built in by google.

  4. Starace

    Browser developers hate users

    How else do you explain their constant efforts to introduce new features no-one wants, kill features users do want, constantly break the UI with 'improvements' that are anything but, cripple performance in the name of improving it, and go out of their way to frustrate add-on users and developers?

    They really do seem to live in a little bubble where any criticism can't reach them.

    And that's before we even look at the semi-functional messes that pass for the mobile versions...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Browser developers hate users

      It's not that they hate their users (I suspect they are simply ambivalent about them), rather they love their customers, and the profits they generate from them. And they are in the business of selling ads. This is very simple.

    2. vtcodger Silver badge

      Re: Browser developers hate users

      Hate users? Heavens no. It's been quite clear for decades that browser developers are barely aware that users even exist. Hating users would be like hating hops pickers, sailmakers or clam diggers -- totally irrelevant to the browser developer mental model of their universe.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Browser developers hate users

        As the saying goes, the opposite of love isn't hate, it's indifference.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google - just do it

    The sooner more people stop supporting you the better.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tried firefox for the first time in ages and was pleasantly surprised at the improvements. Now I get 60fps on youtube without stutter unlike chrome which seems unable to play videos without frame drops....

  7. Number6

    I mix and match between Chrome and Firefox already, and I can see dropping Chrome completely if the adblocker stops working. I occasionally get to see pages bristling with ads and it reminds me why I don't want that to be my regular browsing experience. Plus there's the security issue too, with the occasionally dodgy scripts that plant malware. I've said it before, the ad industry needs to come up with a server-side model so that all that gets served is hosted on a single server rather than finding that a page is loading scripts from a couple of dozen different sites. If they did it that way, most ad blockers would be defeated but user security would be maintained.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Watch out. At some point, they may just preload all the javascript for you and shove the whole page at you. No real difference, as the javascript does all the requesting rather than the HTML*, but now served from the same server, so a bit slower if that's possible.

      *If you also block the javascript from loading remote resources, they can implement a proxy system so all javascript requests are sent through the server from which the page was retrieved and sent on. A bit of overhead for the small pages, but child's play for Google. And given their current use of javascript, they will probably not have too much trouble breaking things if you don't have javascript enabled.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        "Watch out. At some point, they may just preload all the javascript for you and shove the whole page at you."

        That wouldn't affect me, as I disallow Javascript regardless of whether it's third-party or not. I think it's foolish to trust websites to run code in my browser. If that means the site won't work, so be it. No loss to me.

  8. Matthew 25

    Advertising company stops advert blockers working. And people are surprised?

  9. Barry Rueger

    Oh great (:

    Just this week I ditched Firefox and moved back to Chrome. FF consistently ground my laptop to a halt if it wasn't restarted once a day.

    I was hoping that Chrome would work adequately for at least a year before I had to move back to Firefox.

    Seriously browser developers, I got 99 problems, but ad-blockers ain't one of them

    1. FrJackHackett

      Re: Oh great (:

      Same here. Keen to get away from Chrome and have tried Firefox a couple of times recently. I first moved to Chrome about 10 years ago from Firefox because Firefox used to gobble up most of my RAM. Unbelievably, on trying it again just this week and last, it still does that. I thought I could live with it using 1.5-2GB of RAM, but on coming into work yesterday and finding it using 3.5GB, that's just not acceptable. I'd use Brave, but can't get the sync feature to work across devices. Very frustrating.

  10. emullinsabq

    Bye, Chromfoo

    It is obvious Hill / uBlock are on the right side from my perspective. I will be using uBlock Origin for the foreseeable future, dumping any browser it doesn't work with.

  11. JLV Silver badge

    In other news, Mr. Wolf, in charge of lock manufacturing, isn’t keen on high strength locks being made available to Mr. Sheep, deeming them a potential risk in case of fire in the sheepfold.

    Icon cuz.

  12. revenant Silver badge

    "Google has cited privacy, security, and performance to justify its decision.."

    And millions of users cite those very same issues to justify their decisions to use the best Ad-blockers or Script-Blockers that they can get. Pull the other one, Google.

  13. Lloydy lloyd

    Run it through you you pi hole!

    I understand It's not the easiest thing in the world to drop £35 (£55-£60 full set) on a raspberry pi but if you can, that's still an option. I've had one sitting around from numerous fails attempts at making something and decided to try this thinking it's gonna be another failed attempt at a pi project but it actually works. Yeah web pages don't look as nice as when using an ablocker but it works and set up at router level it works on all my devices. My main device is a Chromebook so no Firefox for me unfortunately.

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: Run it through you you pi hole!

      AMEN to that Pi-Hole, should have done it years ago already instead of recently.

      As I am using the Raspberry Pi also for other things, I am running the Pi-Hole in a Docker container, with a recursive DNS server in another container. After the other problems with setting things up, these were amazingly easy and quick.

    2. Symon Silver badge

      Re: Run it through you you pi hole!

      You don't need to spend anything if you have a server running. Just make a minimal CentOS virtual machine and install pi-hole in that. You can even run it as a virtual machine on a NAS like FreeNAS.

      # curl -sSL | bash

      It doesn't run in FreeBSD jails yet, and it doesn't play nice with SeLinux, but it works very well.

      "Holy shit! What - why?! I snapped the one without Pi-hole at 17.4 mins after I got sick of waiting. 2,663 requests (one of which was to Report URI, thank you very much!) and 57.6MB. To read the freakin' news. (Incidentally, in this image more than the others you can clearly see requests to domains such as failing as the Pi-hole prevents them from resolving.)"

  14. tentimes

    Chrome has been my default browser for 8+ years

    But I will reconsider if they defang ad-blockers. Surely they must know that they will lose users to other platforms that allow ad-blockers? This seems a case of them shooting themselves in the foot.

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: Chrome has been my default browser for 8+ years

      "This seems a case of them shooting themselves in the wallet."

      FTFY ;)

  15. JLV Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    This puts MS's decision to abandon Edge in a whole different light, especially if, as I understood it from this article, Google's push is about getting this into the Chromium, the open source precursor to Chrome, rather than limiting this cynical ploy to their Chrome implementation.

    True, Edge and IE won't be mourned much, but monocultures, especially the likes emanating from Google (or FB) are not especially beneficial to individuals, companies or developers.

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