Google has proposed a major change that will adversely affect Chrome ad blockers

“The proposed changes will force ad blocker extensions to use “declarativeNetRequest” API instead of the current “webRequest” API”

Google has proposed a broad set of changes to Chrome’s extension platform, which among other things won’t allow ad blockers to work as efficiently as they currently do. The changes will have a major impact on the functionality of ad blocker extensions such as uBlock Origin and AdGuard. As part of the new design, ad blocker extensions on Chrome will be forced to use a new “declarativeNetRequest” API instead of the current “webRequest” API, which would severely limit the ways in which extensions can be used to filter web traffic. The issues being raised against the new Adblock Plus style blocking method are that, firstly it is limited to only 30,000 entries and secondly its specific design structure will prevent other ad blockers like uBlock Origin (that operate on a different system) from working as intended.

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The creator of uBlock Origin, Raymond Hill has raised his voice against the proposed changes on the Chromium bug report portal, claiming that the new extension API is not in favour of users. “Extensions act on behalf of users, they add capabilities to a user agent, and deprecating the blocking ability of the webRequest API will essentially decrease the level of user agency in Chromium, to the benefit of web sites which obviously would be happy to have the last word in what resources their pages can fetch/execute/render,” he wrote in the thread while adding, “with such a limited declarativeNetRequest API and the deprecation of blocking ability of the webRequest API, I am skeptical user agent will still be a proper category to classify Chromium.”

The changes are outlined in a public Manifest document published by the Chromium developer team and discussions are currently taking place on the Chromium bug report portal. And the basic objection behind the implementation of ‘declarativeNetRequest’ API is that it doesn’t allow for rules such as blocking content elements beyond a certain size, blocking JavaScript, and stripping headers from cookies.

Given his obsession with all things tech, becoming a writer in this field was the natural career progression for Siddhant. When he's not busy following the tech world, he loves spending time with pets or slaying Messi on the virtual soccer field.
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