uBlock Origin extension taken down from Chrome Store by Google - gHacks Tech News

uBlock Origin extension taken down from Chrome Store by Google

The past week has not been easy for uBlock users as lots of things happened in that time. The first thing that happened was that Raymond Hill (Gorhill), the creator of uBlock, left the project.

It is up to this day not really clear what led to the decision only that he made it and that someone else took over.

Then, Gorhill forked the original uBlock and created uBlock₀ or uBlock Origin (what is it with those names?).

And now, uBlock Origin was taken down by Google from the company's Chrome Web Store. If you try to load the extension's store page you get an item not found message and the claim that "the item may have been removed by its author".

The admin dashboard of the account shows taken down as the status and basic information on top that states that the extension did not comply with policies or terms of service.

ublock taken down

Google has a track record of being vague when it comes to bans and take downs. The company usually refers only to its policies or terms of services but gives no further information to content owners which often leaves them puzzled as to what just happened and what the content violation is all about.

This happened to Gorhill who does not know the exact reason why the extension was taken down as none was provided by Google.

After inquiring about that, he received an email stating that further details about the violation were sent to the linked email account. Gorhill stated that he never received that email on the other hand and since Google did not include the details in the reply email, no light was shed on the issue.

Some users suggested that the similarity to uBlock (same icon, similar name, functionality, layout) might have been the reason for the take down as it looks like a copycat on first glance.

These quick fixes may or may not fix the issue. Since Google has not responded yet all that Gorhill can do at this point is to use the trial and error approach. Make a fix, upload to Chrome Store, see what happens.

That's far from ideal though and it would obviously be a lot easier if Google would include a list of the violations in the dashboard so that extension authors can address them head on.

The uBlock Origin extension is still available on Github from where it can be downloaded and installed. Depending on which version of Chrome you are running, you may need to install it using Developer Mode.

Update: And the extension is back under its new name uBlock Origin (no longer uBlock₀).

Summary
uBlock Origin extension taken down from Chrome Store by Google
Article Name
uBlock Origin extension taken down from Chrome Store by Google
Description
The popular uBlock Origin extension, a script blocker for Chrome, has been taken down by Google from the company's Web Store.
Author

We need your help

Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.

We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats or subscription fees.

If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:

Comments

  1. ilev said on April 15, 2015 at 8:22 am
    Reply

    What exactly is the difference in functions and features between uBlock and uBlocko ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on April 15, 2015 at 9:06 am
      Reply

      There is none right now. Ublock Origin is said to be feature complete though.

    2. Dan82 said on April 15, 2015 at 11:23 am
      Reply

      There have been some minor changes since the split. As of 0.9.4.0 released 4 days ago, uBlock0 developed by gorhill now allows to enable/disable cosmetic blocking and it also shows the number of hidden elements on the current page. The second notable feature is the centralized editing of per-site switches (in the uBlock dashboard), which is only possible in uBlock0 for now.

      Those are only minor details at the moment, but if you’re an advanced user of the extension, they may be significant to you.

  2. Thomas said on April 15, 2015 at 8:30 am
    Reply

    interesting read – I also think the confusion would be less if Raymond would be a bit more transparent on his moves. I like the original extension (one of the few I use) but the sudden withdrawal by him from his own creation was a bit strange. He was quite forthcoming previously in his communication, so this sudden change of extension without much info and now the removal from chrome is unsettling.

  3. JohnP said on April 15, 2015 at 8:36 am
    Reply

    Gorhill left the project because of overwhelming demands from entitled people. http://www.wilderssecurity.com/threads/ublock-a-lean-and-fast-blocker.365273/page-33#post-2476324

    After uBlock was made available for Firefox, a huge influx of people began to use the github development page to demand more features, report blocking rules (which have nothing to do with the addon itself), and random minor issues etc. He couldn’t handle the pressure and left.

  4. GunGunGun said on April 15, 2015 at 9:27 am
    Reply

    Not a big deal at all.

  5. Dwight Stegall said on April 15, 2015 at 9:58 am
    Reply

    Very typical. A lot of good things have disappeared since the web started because of users bitching and moaning about things that didn’t cost them anything. Shame on them all. :(

    1. Dwight Stegall said on April 15, 2015 at 10:08 am
      Reply

      The Firefox version is still there for now. I downloaded it in case it disappears.

  6. Dan82 said on April 15, 2015 at 11:12 am
    Reply

    “Some users suggested that the similarity to uBlock (same icon, similar name, functionality, layout) might have been the reason for the take down as it looks like a copycat on first glance.”

    That would surprise me.

    While gorhill stepped back from development of the so-called “official” uBlock and removed himself as a developer at Mozilla’s extension store for example, he did keep ownership of the extension in the Google webstore. So why would Google delete the original uBlock from their store for either of these reasons but not the “copy” which was only uploaded there a few weeks ago?

    Two almost identical extensions with the same logo and a very similar name is a bad idea, because the average user will have no knowledge why there are two iterations of what is in effect the same extension and this person would also have no idea which to choose. I can understand and support Raymond’s actions and attitude, but it looks really bad to outsiders. I’m definitely an enthusiastic uBlock user, but even so there has been way too much drama going on and I’m left to hope that everything will settle sooner rather than later.

  7. Dan said on April 15, 2015 at 1:52 pm
    Reply

    I don’t really care if Gorhill left his project. If the new maintainer doesn’t put acceptable ads into the code or other subterfuge, then it’s all good. There is too much internet drama as it is.

    Second, there may be a cause for confusion, but it’s not unique. There are several extensions with similar titles already (Adblock, Adblock Plus, Adblock Edge, Adblock for Chrome, Adblock for Opera, etc.) and they have similar icons and user interfaces.

  8. CHEF-KOCH said on April 15, 2015 at 3:28 pm
    Reply

    What are the news?
    Google already removed the AdBlock addon/extension from Google Play Store and there Store for the Browser, so it’s nothing new. If the developer would read that they changed there terms so that this is no longer allowed to upload such addons he had never uploaded it there. But wayne, we have GitHub without censorship.

    @Dan82
    Latest uBlock is 0.9.3.5
    https://github.com/chrisaljoudi/uBlock/releases

    1. Dan82 said on April 15, 2015 at 3:43 pm
      Reply

      @CHEF-KOCH: I’m aware. gorhill’s fork is up to 0.9.4.2 by now, with the additional features I mentioned in earlier comment being introduced in 0.9.4.0 (see https://github.com/gorhill/uBlock/releases for details). Although not the “official” extension anymore, so far his own version called uBlock0 (or uBlock Origin) shows more activity.

  9. Maelish said on April 15, 2015 at 3:53 pm
    Reply

    But I see it’s still available here: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/ublock/epcnnfbjfcgphgdmggkamkmgojdagdnn

    Or is that a different version?

    1. Maelish said on April 15, 2015 at 4:10 pm
      Reply

      I see the files for uBlock Origin here on github https://github.com/gorhill/uBlock

      I’m still not sure what the different is between uBlock and uBlock Origin. Can somebody explain that to me?

      1. Murdock said on April 16, 2015 at 10:19 am
        Reply

        uBlock was originally developed by gorhill for Chrome/Chromium. A couple of weeks ago gorhill got stressed (from all the irrelevant issues on the github tracker?) and asked Deathamns (guy who was doing the Firefox port) and chrisaljoudi (Safari port kid) if either of them wanted to take over the project. chrisaljoudi responded first and gorhill transferred the uBlock github to him. Deathamns quit the project and hasn’t been heard from since. gorhill then forks his own project. The first thing chrisaljoudi did was to add donation buttons to the uBlock github and his homepage originally listed uBlock as being “made with love and care by Chris” with no mention of gorhill or Deathamns. Now this ruffled some feathers because gorhill had refused donations from the beginning and chrisaljoudi had way less commits on the project than the other two. gorhill then asked chrisaljoudi to rename uBlock to something else so as not to confuse people between chrisaljoudi’s version and gorhill’s new version. chrisaljoudi said ok and suggested “uBlock Neue” but it didn’t get changed for some reason so gorhill changed his version to uBlock0 and now uBlock Origin. In addition to all this a guy named Alex Vallet took over the Firefox port and Firefox AMO for chrisaljoudi’s version.

        Basically, the extension called uBlock is now in the hands of two people who had little if anything to do with making it what it was. uBlock Origin from the Chrome store or from https://github.com/gorhill/uBlock is actually the real and original uBlock made by the original developer despite its different name.

  10. ilev said on April 15, 2015 at 4:49 pm
    Reply
    1. ilev said on April 15, 2015 at 5:03 pm
      Reply

      p.s Just checked my uBlock in my Chrome browser and uBlock has been automatically replaced/updated to uBlocko !!

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on April 15, 2015 at 5:10 pm
      Reply

      So it has been reinstated, great.

      1. ilev said on April 15, 2015 at 6:45 pm
        Reply

        I wonder how the original extension has been replaced with the new one.

      2. Neal said on April 15, 2015 at 8:36 pm
        Reply

        All Chrome extension have a unique identifier key, so theoretically only owners who know the key can push out updates and so on. So I guess Gorhill, the original owner, did not hand the keys over when he forked Ublock, all he had to do is push out an update and all the original Ublock users would receive the Ublock origins update.

        The “Ublock” on the chrome store right now has a different key from the the original, and unless Gorhill gives them the key, so they have to start their user base from scratch, and cannot push or change anything for the original “Gorhill” ublock users.

        Yeah it is a bit confusing.

  11. Blue said on April 15, 2015 at 10:00 pm
    Reply

    Something has change… other than uBlock changing to Ublocko… the overall page loading has increased exponentially. I find myself actually twiddling my thumbs as I wait for pages to resolve host before loading. Seconds pass and I feel annoyance coming on followed by anger. Somehow something changed in both versions and now it takes an extra-extra-extra long time to load any pages.

    I use Ghostery side-by-side with uBlock, I tried to disable first Ghostery, then uBlock and to bring back instant page loading on a 64b version of Chrome… I simply deleted uBlock and now have all my speed back. Ghostery removes tracking type of ads so in a way was doing double duty or blocking out stuff uBlock couldn’t.

    1. AJ North said on April 15, 2015 at 10:25 pm
      Reply

      Thanks for reporting this; I wonder whether the results would be similar for Firefox (and just how their overall protections compare, side-by-side).

      1. Blue said on April 16, 2015 at 12:25 am
        Reply

        Well Ghostery does block ads but it is a bit more specific than uBlock because it blocks widgets, gadgets, tracker, 3rd party scripts and other page nuisances that uBlock does not block.

    2. theMike said on April 15, 2015 at 11:54 pm
      Reply

      i had the same problem. it took forever to load a page and most of the time only half the page showed up. i deleted it also. They’re making fun of it on 4chan, great thread going on.

    3. AJ North said on April 16, 2015 at 12:45 am
      Reply

      Thank for your reply, Blue!

      Do you also happen to use Firefox? If so (or if that is really a distinction without a difference), do you view Ghostery to be a worthwhile add-on for those already using NoScript (in Firefox), or would the two not play well together (or simply be overkill)?

      (Speaking at least for myself, maximizing security and privacy, whilst minimizing the “hit” to the system — especially on older machines with limited resources — is the Holy Grail.)

      Again, thanks!

      1. Blue said on April 16, 2015 at 8:41 pm
        Reply

        Yes, I use Nightly (64b) and because I found NoScript to be confusing and often broke the pages I go to, which is the reason why I opted for Ghostery instead. It was much easier to toggle on/off page elements than to play a guessing game which script to disable that would break one page but make another work. NoScript only works on scripts, but

        Ghostery blocks gadgets, widgets, and other page elements NoScript could not easily block with a single click. Ghostery even block page elements like Disquis, Live Chat, and subscribe now annoyances. In NoScript we had to figure out which script is controlling what then toggle on/off each one til we get the desired effect.

  12. AJ North said on April 15, 2015 at 10:23 pm
    Reply

    Though this article pertains to Chrome, as a Firefox user, to add to the confusion (at least my own), is the question of which is the most current version — and where to get it (especially for those simply wanting to add µBlock0 for the first time.

    The version of µBlock0 currently installed in my FF browser (current mainstream build, version 37.0.1) is 0.9.4.1 (running “Check for Updates” results in “No updates found”).

    However, the version listed at https://github.com/gorhill/uBlock/releases is 0.9.4.3, updated six hours ago; below that is version 0.9.4.2, released eight hours ago, then version 0.9.4.1, released three days ago (at the time of this post).

    Now, if one were to follow the links at either https://github.com/gorhill/uBlock or https://github.com/gorhill/uBlock/releases to the Firefox add-on page (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/ublock/), the version posted there is simply labeled “µBlock 0.9.1.0 by Alex Vallet” and last updated 13 March 2015.

    To possibly answer my own confusion, it may simply be that versions 0.9.4.2 and 0.9.4.3 were intended to deal with either Chrome or Firefox Nightly issues, so that there really is not update for FF 37.0.1.

    Still, it does strike me as rather odd that the Gorhill pages link to the Mozilla add-on page that they do.

    1. MH said on April 16, 2015 at 6:20 pm
      Reply

      uBlock Origin is not currently hosted on AMO and consquently, at this time, cannot auto-update. While uBlock is hosted on AMO, updates reside in a review queue for a number of weeks before released. So expect a slower auto-update for uBlock Firefox releases.

  13. Dan said on April 16, 2015 at 1:07 am
    Reply

    BTW, I think it’s a dick move on gorhill’s part to quit the project, hand it over to another guy who will be handling the feedback of hundreds of whiny freeloaders, not hand over the Chrome Store key, immediately start a competing project, and use the original project’s key to push his new, competing product.

    1. gt said on April 16, 2015 at 7:52 am
      Reply

      If you had all the facts (not saying that I do and you don’t) I hope you would not disparage the developer. A while back, I followed the issue reports threads for a few weeks… and observed that Mr. Gorhill was “more than patient” with the idiotic reporters, WAY more patient than I could ever be. To me, it’s understandable why he got burnt out. As for his choice(s) — fork or not fork, hand over the keys or not, use a confusingly similar name for the forked project — I trust / respect that his actions have been well-intended.

      The suspension from Play Store, if we had all the facts, we might agree that it was a GoodThing. Maybe google algorithm recognized that the extension had changed hands, and suspended it pending investigation by staff. I believe they have reason to worry/suspect — people developing an extension, establishing a userbase, then cashing in by selling ownership of the extension to a less-than-pious new owner, that’s become prevalent enough to describe it as a bona fide “business model”.

      1. Dan said on April 16, 2015 at 9:32 am
        Reply

        I do not dispute most of your post. I am aware that he got burned out by the whiners. I think he has the right to walk away.

        But what I disagree with is with this statement:

        “As for his choice(s) — fork or not fork, hand over the keys or not, use a confusingly similar name for the forked project — I trust / respect that his actions have been well-intended.”

        From what I see, I have no reason to respect or trust his actions. If he walked away from burn out, then it was a pretty short burn since he came back rather quickly with a new, similarly-named project. If he passed the project to another developer, then why not hand over the Chrome Store account/key to the new guy? He basically kneecapped the new developer by releasing a competing product with the original product’s chrome store account/key. That is a dick move, no matter his intentions.

        If this is a foul-up with the chrome store algorithm, then it is only because of gorhill sowing confusion with his similarly-named, similarly-coded product. I respect him as a developer and I use uBlock as my adblocker, but he should have thought things through.

      2. Gorhill said on April 16, 2015 at 8:07 pm
        Reply

        > He basically kneecapped the new developer

        What a bizarre claim.

        To me it looks like things are looking good to the new developer. His donation button can now be displayed prominently on the front of the Github project, he can still pull bug fixes from my branch, I still push big fixes to his branch (because I mind users of uBlock not suffering bugs which are in the original code).

        How is the new developer worst off? Please, can you spell *exactly* why you think he is getting “kneecapped” by me?

  14. Eljay said on April 16, 2015 at 6:10 am
    Reply

    Suddenly, tonight, my uBlock Origin is hosed. Ads on pages and the icon grayed out with its drop down showing the big power button and question marks under it without any of the buttons/links working. Already checked the extension and it’s loaded and enabled. Perhaps something went south with Chrome and these changes and somebody didn’t get another email? I’ll try to reinstall it and see.

    1. ilev said on April 16, 2015 at 8:03 am
      Reply

      uBlock Origin v0.9.4.2 works fine on my 42.0.2311.82 beta-m (64-bit)

  15. AJ North said on April 16, 2015 at 11:31 am
    Reply

    @ Murdock,

    Thanks for the historical thumbnail (perhaps it will help to quell the rude criticism…).

  16. Henk Poley said on April 19, 2015 at 12:34 pm
    Reply
  17. Fry said on June 26, 2015 at 6:05 am
    Reply

    Netiquette is dead on the interweb. With it went the ability to quote sensibly, as well as the end of suitable forum moderation.

    F/oss is not a service guarantee. If you demand features you had better be a PAYING client.

    Perhaps the same mentality keeps the naive enslaved to sms texting on a smart phone when Xmpp Texting is obviously better.

  18. DeleteCopyPaste said on July 30, 2015 at 9:22 pm
    Reply

    Since this article was written I gave uBlock a try and today I removed it. Though it has a lot of fanfare behind it, it doesn’t really do much and of what it’s suppose to do, it does a poor job at it. I’m moving back over to AdBlock Plus, because it not only blocks ads, it did pop-ups/unders, malware and social networking widgets. uBlock only does ads and it did a poor job.

    For uBlock to fully remove the exact same ads as ABP on the same page, I’d have to turn on every filter and the page pop-up/under and annoying elements were still there. In uBlock, if we set a specific element to be hidden, it will only hide it for that session. If we close the tab and come back to it. that element we hid will be back again. At least in ABP when I want to hide an element, it stays hidden until I remove the exception that removes it.

    With every filter turned on, it runs as SLOW as ABP… the only difference is a slight size in memory foot print and the fact uBlock only does ads whereas ABP does a lot more than just ads. So to claim uBlock is better than ABP is really lame because the two don’t do the same thing. If uBlock adds malware, social widget blocking and pop-up/under blocking as well as active element support. Then sure we could compare the two as competitors, but the two are really different and though the footprint of one may seem smaller than the other, it really doesn’t do as much.

    Gone back to AdBlock Plus… nice try uBlock/uBlocko, but you missed the mark…

  19. Luisa said on June 19, 2017 at 1:35 pm
    Reply

    Why is Ublock Origin no longer offered in the Firefox web store for android?

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.