GOOGLE'S PLANNED changes to Chrome and Chrome OS have been revised, after threats of legal action following heavy protests from its user base.
The planned "Manifest V3" had a number of new features designed to make it harder for extensions to be misused to compromise user data and online safety.
However, once it was revealed that the plan could put an end to third-party ad-blockers like Adblock Plus and Adblocker, appetite for the changes was significantly curbed.
Early reports suggested that the move had been reversed altogether, but in fact, this is not true, rather that the changes have been softened, but not enough to assuage concerns.
The issue here is a feature called webRequest API which would be removed and replaced in V3 by a new declarativeNetRequest API. Problem is, the webRequest version is the one that allows most adblockers to work.
Google's argument is that the current API is slowing the browser down and taking up valuable resources, something that critics have often cited as Chrome's biggest weakness.
So for Google, it's one of those "can't have it both ways" things.
Cliqz, which makes the Ghostery ad-blocker has called Google out on its motives: "Users would be left with only very limited ways to prevent third parties from intercepting their surfing behaviour or to get rid of unwanted content.
"Whether Google does this to protect their advertising business or simply to force its own rules on everyone else, it would be nothing less than another case of misuse of its market-dominating position. If this comes true, we will consider filing an anti-trust complaint."
Cliquz has also pointed out that webRequest would not actually be removed under the proposals, but would have its wings clipped so much as to be useless to anyone wanting to block selected content.
It claims that the difference in performance would be an average of 0.05 miliseconds, which would be unnoticeable to puny humans. µ
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