back to article Google Chrome's crackdown on ad blockers and browser extensions, Manifest v3, is now available in beta

Google, which makes most of its money from online ads, insists it wants ad blockers to continue working under the latest, more locked-down iteration of its Chrome browser extension platform, known as Manifest v3. "We have been working closely with the developers of many extensions – including ad blockers, shopping extensions, …

  1. Totally not a Cylon

    If the goal is increased performance

    then just dump javascript.

    Amazing how fast pages load when they're not fetching badly written code from 42 different servers.

    I remember HTML before javascript, it was beautiful and quick.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. teknopaul Silver badge

        Re: If the goal is increased performance

        it's css that makes pages beautiful not javascript.

      2. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: If the goal is increased performance

        "I was there, a lot of pages were really badly designed."

        Hey! I'm sure I made one of those badly desgined Geocities pages with flashing multicoloured text, an under construction sign, and copious use of the <marquee> tag.

    2. Wade Burchette Silver badge

      Re: If the goal is increased performance

      Even on my Ryzen 3000, I notice how much faster pages load with and without NoScript enabled. Some websites try to fetch javascript from 20+ sources. That ain't cool. It is my opinion that no website should require javascript to read the content of a webpage. It is also my opinion that no advertisement should be allowed to use javascript either.

      1. teknopaul Silver badge

        Re: If the goal is increased performance

        quick to render one page but you have to re load the whole for everything you ever do without Javascript. do you remember that?

        1. I am the liquor Silver badge

          Re: If the goal is increased performance

          Full-page reloads were certainly a pain over a 56k modem.

          1. Blackjack Silver badge

            Re: If the goal is increased performance

            If you were lucky to have one and not being stuck with an older, slower model.

      2. HereIAmJH

        Re: If the goal is increased performance

        Something else you might notice is that your Internet provider has 'tuned' their network in a web unfriendly manner. Spectrum, for example has made changes to improve streaming speed in ways that slow down web pages. They prioritize large transfers at the expense of connection setup. So a web page that has 20 scripts and 50 images will load slowly, but your speed tests and streaming will all look great. That means if web developers would put all their javascript in one file they would see a big increase in page load speed. At the expense of a little more RAM. I doubt it would be significant, memory wise though. Currently my browser has 54 processes and is using 3.3gb of RAM.

        1. Blackjack Silver badge

          Re: If the goal is increased performance

          It would be significant for smartphones.

    3. Plest

      Re: If the goal is increased performance

      Javascript is good, it's lead to Node.js and other advancements. The problem as ever is "too much of a good thing". The second something good works well people overuse it and with no checks in place it just gets abused. The other issue is that more and more fancy flash webpages meant people trying to outdo each other to create a ever more complex responsive pages that punters demand or they will simply walk by your site, until you open up a page today and it's easily loading 20+ libraries in from caching servers, content caching servers must spend half their time just serving JS libs to millions of page calls.

      1. Blackjack Silver badge

        Re: If the goal is increased performance

        Hi, welcome to the future, flash is dead!

  2. quartzz

    tbh

    and I say this from a "here's the solution, before I don't use the proposed solution"

    if a webpage forces me to watch ads, with no way of disabling via ad blocker (eg, origin). I won't go on that page.

    1. Andy Non Silver badge

      If a browser forces me to watch ads (by hobbling adblockers) then I won't use that browser.

      1. Qumefox

        Yep my takeaway from this article is that i'll be switching entirely away from chromium based browsers in a little over a month when v3 goes live. at least until mozilla caves and shoves it in firefox to. In which case. I donno. Maybe i'll just go outside instead.

        1. quartzz

          m.o. on chrome is it's horrible. it's got nasty config screens (what happened to white checkboxes on grey backgrounds (aka xp style) - works for anything else), one of it's main functions appears to make it harder for you to delete specific parts of your history. (tbh, even if a browser/application did allow you to delete individual history (firefox - also very rubbish cookie control in chrome compared to firefox), there's no guarantee that the only person who was losing access to the data you were deleting is you) - your "deleted info" might still go back to the large mirrored buildings, or buildings shaped a bit like circular radiation signs.

    2. BGatez

      Better yet notify the advertiser you will not be buying their product

      1. HereIAmJH

        And let them collect your contact info? An anonymous "I'm going to boycott your product" will simply be ignored.

      2. quartzz

        the advertiser will look at their bank balance, if it's going in the right direction, they'll think "he knows our product name, even if it's to avoid it. good enough for us"

  3. TonyJ Silver badge

    I try to use a combination of methods

    My XG Firewall blocks adverts. Even though they slip through when I search with DDG, clicking them gives an error;

    I use the usual script, tracker and ad blockers

    I run a Pihole.

    Still get some garbage through but generally I find pages load a lot quicker and are a lot less intrusive with this combination.

    But I prefer not to use Chrome as my browser anyway.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: I try to use a combination of methods

      I only use Chrome at work when forced to do so. I have most of the well known browsers installed at home I'm also running a Pi-Hole and use Brave, Firefox and Opera.

      1. HereIAmJH

        Re: I try to use a combination of methods

        Except Edge and Opera are now Chrome with a new wrapper. I've been reasonably happy with Opera, since I got tired of Firefox's bloat and bullshit. And if Google makes this the new core Chromium, then it's going to be hard to get away from. It would take a lot of work for open source developers to stand up a new browser engine. Sure, you could fork the code. But Google could just bury it deeper with cross dependencies. Think SystemD.

    2. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: I try to use a combination of methods

      Yep and the good thing is you can configure the caching proxy to pretend to download the adverts thia bypassing the advert blocker detectors. You jiat have nice web pages without the cruft.

    3. JCitizen Bronze badge
      Alert

      Re: I try to use a combination of methods

      The mention of DDG was what I was wondering about - I will be seriously upset if I have to give up on DuckDuckGo! I haven't noticed anything slips by it, unless I configure it that way. It gives me granular control to allow web sites I support to keep doing business. Taking that away will impact Google's, AND those web site's business, I hope they know!!!

      Hopefully this won't affect Edge, because that is what I will switch too if the Chocolate Factory pulls this stunt!. If it does effect it I will switch to FireFox whether I like it or not, or whatever browser I can to get away from the creepy crawly privacy violation that is Google.

  4. chivo243 Silver badge
    WTF?

    to evolve the platform

    In our own vision for our own ends... Nice, really nice... pffft google

  5. Mike 137 Silver badge

    "This transfers power from the extensions (and so the users) to Google and websites,"

    Just what the doctor ordered - let the adversary decide on your defences.

    Sadly, as Mozilla is largely funded by Goooooogle, it may just have to toe the line.

  6. ThatOne Silver badge
    Big Brother

    The end of innocence

    Internet is "growing up", that means it is being taken over by commercial interests, and the former nerdvana is slowly turning into a huge mall, built to take your money (want it or not).

    It happens continuously, right before our eyes, but we don't (want to) see it. Remember when common people used to create small websites about their personal interests? Back then people owned the Internet, today "the Internet" (Google, Facebook) owns them.

    The Manifest v3 issue is just another stone in the wall, some oddballs will grumble about it for a while, but eventually it will become the new normal. The masses will go "whatcha gonna do?", and life will go on. (And please don't mention Piholes and other nonsense: That's not a society-wide solution, it's just the privileged bragging about their privileges. A little like dropping in a discussion about traffic congestion that your private helicopter is so comfortable and fast.)

    If the people really want to get out from the commercial meat grinder, they need to fight it at the political and legal level. And be aware it will be an uphill battle, given the millions spent in lobbying, and the governments' own desire to keep tabs on the Great Unwashed: Everybody who is somebody or has something to say wants to fleece you in some way.

    1. TonyJ Silver badge

      Re: The end of innocence

      "...(And please don't mention Piholes and other nonsense: That's not a society-wide solution, it's just the privileged bragging about their privileges..."

      Jesus, calm down. No one here said this was a ubiquitous solution.

      Also this is the reg - have you not noticed the "I've never...", or "I do it this way", or even the "Choice is good. Your choice is bad" brigades all live here?

      Have a biscuit or something.

      1. ThatOne Silver badge

        Re: The end of innocence

        > No one here said this was a ubiquitous solution.

        Every time some problem is discussed (not only IT-related), there is somebody who will drop in and in a condescending tone explain that his solution, one usually only available to him, solves this issue (understood that everyone else shouldn't complain because it's his own fault if he's affected).

        I'm not protesting about the fact some have the means and some not, I'm protesting about (apparently intelligent) people not realizing that. I can understand Schadenfreude, but not arrogance.

    2. HereIAmJH

      Re: The end of innocence

      The Internet isn't changing, you've just finally become aware of what is has been for over 2 decades. Probably since it moved from an academic only platform to the general public, it has been a commercial enterprise. Amazon launched in '94. eBay moved from 'sell stuff you don't need' to stores a long, long time ago. I rarely buy anything used there anymore.

      If you want to create your own web space, you can still use a web host or dynamic DNS. Most people prefer the ease of Facebook or Instagram. The only business model for public web sites that seems to succeed is free content with advertising. As such, there is going to be a battle over what the appropriate amount of advertising is going to be.

      1. swm Silver badge

        Re: The end of innocence

        Remember when cable TV was sold on the premise that there would be no advertising because the subscription would pay for the content?

  7. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

    "Remember when common people used to create small websites about their personal interests?"

    These days they do it on Facebook, rather than the raw web.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
      Unhappy

      I liked Google and Facebook when they first started, I even tried to sign up for Facebook but was told that I was using a fake name (my real one) so that was the end of social media for me (Thank God!).

      But watching Google, Facebook and the rest of the Internet world, it's like having a baby lion cub for a pet, they are so cute until they are six months old, and then about a year later you are dinner.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Facebook real name policy

        I created a facebook account many years ago but even then I was concerned over privacy so I used a fake name and data.

        It took them a long time to figure out that there was no 93 year old Lesbian living in the Outer Hebrides named Charnel Liquor. Perhaps the skull I used for a personal picture gave me away?

        1. ThatOne Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Facebook real name policy

          > Perhaps the skull I used for a personal picture gave me away?

          On the other hand, at age 93 it wouldn't be totally unexpected either...

      2. DavCrav Silver badge

        "I even tried to sign up for Facebook but was told that I was using a fake name (my real one)"

        I agree with Facebook, I'm afraid Mr or Ms 1.0. What kind of a first name is 'Version' anyway?

    2. LDS Silver badge

      "these days they do it on Facebook, rather than the raw web."

      Yes, Facebook is really "Internet for dummies".... give them a way to publish their ugly photos and steal from them their lives and their souls....

  8. Plest
    Facepalm

    Stick Chrome where it hurts!

    Only use Chrome as ordered to at work, at home wouldn't touch it with 50 foot shit rotted bargepole!

    FF with UBlock is a huge step in the right direction, and if your site stops loading and warns me to disable my ad-blocker 'cos you know I've got an ad-blocker in use then you know where you can take your site and store it!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Stick Chrome where it hurts!

      Chrome seems to take as many gigahurts as I can give it.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Advert program

    Reading that several people are forced to use it at work is interesting. Due to proxying all meta data (including keystrokes) to harvest data (for marketing) we can't use goog chrome at work, as we would be passing members financial data to an un approved 3rd party - goog. We have internal web apps that we use a browser to access. I guess some businesses don't have to meet data protection laws that financial places do.

    Maybe it's that when you click Agree, that makes it okay for personal use, but under GDPR can you legally process other peoples data though an advertising company?

    Goog blocking ad blockers is understandable as the entire purpose of google is Marketing (and data harvesting to do so).

    Blocking ads takes the entire reason they develop a browser mute.

    Interesting times in data laws. I wonder what this landscape will look like in another 10 years.

    1. HildyJ Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Advert program

      "I wonder what this landscape will look like in another 10 years."

      It will be worse.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Advert program

      At my work, we have a choice of Chrome, or (pre-Chromium) Edge. Both of which are quite heavily locked down by GPO: cookies are wiped on exit, nothing is (officially) slurped to the cloud, even passwords can't be saved (because apparently that's better for security, said no actual security expert ever).

      1. Qumefox

        Re: Advert program

        Actually pretty much every security expert that's not clueless will tell you that cloud based password management (which chrome's is, since it syncs them with google) is a horrible idea. Ideally you want to use unique passwords for everything and just remember them all. However since that's not really doable in this day and age, the next best thing is to use non-cloud based password managers that have local encrypted storage like password safe or keepass, etc. Sure it's not as convenient, but actual security never is.

        Plus there has been no shortage of exploits and vulnerabilities that have cropped up over the years that have allowed browser stored passwords to be read by malicious parties. So there are plenty of good reasons your organization has banned that practice.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Advert program

          ...cloud based password management (which chrome's is, since it syncs them with google)...

          If you use Chrome without signing in to Google, which you can, and you save passwords in Chrome, which you can, whose account does Chrome synchronise the passwords to?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Advert program

        Maybe they are doing something I haven't heard of yet, but from my research Goog chrome can only be managed in googs cloud services, not on prem. But things are always changing.

        It would be interesting if you opened chrome, not going to a site, then in a command prompt run "netstat -an" without quotes. Then do a who is on the IPs that show up, to see if it is really kept from googs prying eyes.

    3. JCitizen Bronze badge
      Megaphone

      Re: Advert program

      As far as I'm concerned Google can make plenty enough money positioning search results for companies that want to buy into that, but getting in my nickers is verboten, and I don't care if they lose that or not.

      I support the sites I wan't to, because I know they need to stay in business, so I don't block tracking or ads from them - Google should be happy they can glean from that too - if not, then I think it is time to whip out the anti-trust laws, because we need a choice of browser that doesn't steal our lives away.

  10. FuzzyTheBear
    Stop

    Getting out of the inferno

    Time for a new open source no ad allowed browser ? I mean FF and chrome are now Google creatures and both will eventully totally surrender to advertisement and monetiation. it's unavoidable because commercial interests have taken over by fnancing Firefox heavily. They owe Google .. in fact accepting money from Google meant in the long run having to obey to their masters and do as they are told. Simple. Both browsers are to be avoided and a new project needs to come to life. FF was nice .. but time to move on and start coding something ground up that will be small light efficient and built to suit our needs , not the needs of the advertisers. We need data and access to information , not to be flooded with ads. There's a need to reclaim what's rightfully ours and our work to begin with.

    We need to get out of the circle for it to end.

    1. Qumefox

      Re: Getting out of the inferno

      The problem with that is that Google essentially controls the game at this point. If someone creates a browser that starts impacting their revenue stream, they'll just simply leverage their market share and basically change the rules to favor themselves and there's little that can be done to stop them.

      About the only thing that would prevent it is if google ended up getting carved up so the ad business was a completely unrelated and separate entity from the browser business. But I don't ever see that happening even if they do actually get brought up on monopoly charges.

      1. JCitizen Bronze badge
        Alert

        Re: Getting out of the inferno

        They've got anti-trust laws for that, and in the US they just love whipping it out to blow apart any huge corporation that thinks it can completely corner a market. They could even fine Google enough that the money could go to a company to develope a truely private browser. However, that might impact mom and pop web sites that make money on tracking and advertising too But there has be be a limit somewhere.

  11. YetAnotherJoeBlow Bronze badge

    What if...

    If manifest 3.0 takes hold on Firefox, I would imagine Waterfox will have market share over Firefox.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What if...

      Oops.

      https://www.ghacks.net/2020/02/14/waterfox-web-browser-sold-to-system1/

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