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.
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).
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.