Even after promising a review on the subject, Google must really maintain the change that limits the activity of ad blockers in Chrome. At a developer forum, a company representative said that the API used to hide advertisements will be replaced.
The change will take effect in Manifest V3, the new version of the Chrome extensions platform that is expected to start being released in the coming months. It will discontinue blocking features currently offered by the WebRequest API in Manifest V2.
The API, which allows extensions to block content even before loading, will remain available, but will become more limited. Developers who use WebRequest for their ad blockers must make changes to keep them working.
To circumvent the change in WebRequest, one way out will be to use the DeclarativeNetRequest API, which, in theory, has the same utility. However, it does require extensions to send a kind of blocking filter list to Google.
In addition to the company appearing as an intermediary, the new API sets a limit on the size of this list. Currently, Chrome extensions using DeclarativeNetRequest can define up to 30,000 rules at installation and another 5,000 dynamics.
To give you an idea, EasyList, a set of filters used by several blockers, has 76 thousand rules. Google says it is considering expanding this limit to help developers.
“We are planning to raise these figures, but we will not have updated figures until we can run performance tests to find a good upper limit that works on all supported devices,” said the company representative, at the forum.
In February, Google indicated that the move to Manifest V3 will offer more privacy to users, make it harder for malicious extensions to work, and improve browser performance. The new platform, however, is expected to take a few months to be released and even longer to reach most users.