Chrome Extension Manifest V3 could end uBlock Origin for Chrome - gHacks Tech News

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Chrome Extension Manifest V3 could end uBlock Origin for Chrome

Google is working on the Chrome extension manifest version 3 at the moment which defines the capabilities of Chrome's extensions platform.

The updated manifest is available as a draft currently that anyone may access. Draft means that it is not set in stone yet and that things may change. Google will release the updated version of the manifest eventually though and make it mandatory after a transitional period.

Interested users and extension developers may follow the tracking bug, issue 896897, on the Chromium Bugs website.

Raymond Hill, known as Gorhill online, the author of the popular content blockers uBlock Origin and uMatrix, voiced his concern over some of the planned changes; these changes, if implemented as proposed currently, remove functionality that the extensions use for content blocking.

ublock chrome

Google plans to remove blocking options from the webRequest API and asks developers to use declarativeNetRequest instead. One of the main issues with the suggested change is that it made to support AdBlock Plus compatible filters only and would limit filters to 30k.

Hill mentioned on Google's bug tracking site that the change would end his extensions uBlock Origin and uMatrix for Google Chrome. While it would be possible to switch to the new functionality, it is too limiting and would cripple existing functionality of the content blocking extensions.

If this (quite limited) declarativeNetRequest API ends up being the only way content blockers can accomplish their duty, this essentially means that two content blockers I have maintained for years, uBlock Origin ("uBO") and uMatrix, can no longer exist.

There are other features (which I understand are appreciated by many users) which can't be implemented with the declarativeNetRequest API, for examples, the blocking of media element which are larger than a set size, the disabling of JavaScript execution through the injection of CSP directives, the removal of outgoing Cookie headers, etc. -- and all of these can be set to override a less specific setting, i.e. one could choose to globally block large media elements, but allow them on a few specific sites, and so on still be able to override these rules with ever more specific rules.

The new API would limit content blockers for Chrome-based browsers and eliminate options to create new and unique content blocking extensions. All that would be left are AdBlock Plus like filtering extensions that would all offer the same blocking functionality.

While there would still be adblockers for Chrome, the limit of 30,000 network filters would make even those less capable than before. EasyList, a very popular blocking list, has 42,000 filters and if users add other lists used for other purposes, e.g. social blocking, that number would increase even more.

You can follow the discussion on uBlock Origin's GitHub page as well.

Closing Words

Could this have been Google's plan all along? Create a web browser and use it to combat the use of content blockers? Block some annoying ads, allow basic content blockers, and block any other form of content blocking to make sure that Google's advertising business improves again?

Some users would certainly move to Firefox if uBlock Origin, uMatrix, and other content blockers would no longer work in Chrome-based browsers. Even if millions would migrate, it would still leave Chrome dominate the entire desktop browser market.

It will also be interesting to see how Opera, Vivaldi, Brave, and other Chromium-based browser developers react to the change, if it passes the way it is proposed right now.

Now You: What is your take on this?

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Chrome Extension Manifest V3 could end uBlock Origin for Chrome
Article Name
Chrome Extension Manifest V3 could end uBlock Origin for Chrome
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The proposed update of the Chrome Extension Manifest to version 3 could end the content blocker uBlock Origin and others for Chrome.
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Comments

  1. crambie said on January 22, 2019 at 8:27 pm
    Reply

    I’d imagine that Opera, Vivaldi et al have no say in it, neither will they work around it. The only one I think possibly would are Brave.

    If it does happen to all then hopefully by then FF will sort out their horrible power usage which is especially bad on the mac and move to something like Librefox.

    1. Anonymous said on January 23, 2019 at 2:37 pm
      Reply

      In case you did not check out Firefox after v57 was released, possibly try again. I’ve never seen a problem with power usage there, and at least with v57 it should have been better.

    2. Parthenon said on January 23, 2019 at 7:13 pm
      Reply

      Power consumption on Mac has drastically improved with Firefox 64. But yeah this change sounds bad not just for Chrome but for the whole ecosystem. Safari already limited its content blocking API, Edge is switching to Chromium. Only Firefox left for versatile and thorough content blocking.

      1. crambie said on January 23, 2019 at 9:56 pm
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        I primarily run MacOS these days and FF is still terrible even using nightly. Between 4 and 6 times the energy impact compared to safari (you can see the far greater CPU usage to confirm that), about 3 to 5 more than chrome. But reading MS said Edge is something like 94% better on battery than FF perhaps it’s not just a Mac thing. Obviously you don’t notice so much on the desktop but it’s still working harder.

        I don’t totally trust Apple, you have to basically take their word that they’re being whiter than white, and if you’ve learnt anything about big tech is that they’re not. Also I don’t like the move to app extensions for Safari, its messy.

        So for browsers I’m not sure. Thinking PM for general browsing and FF/Safari or something for more sensitive stuff like banking. Unless someone like Brave to patch things back to how they were.

    3. scorpiogreen said on January 24, 2019 at 6:44 pm
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      “I’d imagine that Opera, Vivaldi et al have no say in it, neither will they work around it.”

      You don’t know that. I know Vivaldi and SRW Iron have their own app stores and it wouldn’t surprise me if their small user bases would demand a workaround. After all, these browsers can’t afford to alienate their small pool of users.

  2. Some Guy said on January 22, 2019 at 8:37 pm
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    I love this. This will cause a mass migration to Firefox and other browsers, myself included. I’m using Chrome with a ublock Origin group policy on over 50 workstations and will promptly migrate users to Firefox if ublock Origin is no longer supported on Chrome.

    1. NoT-Today said on January 22, 2019 at 9:04 pm
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      Dont love it, Firefox like a slave follows google’s policies and will do the same since they have embraced the WebExtensions which is aderivative of Chrome’s Extensions.

      1. Mikhoul said on January 22, 2019 at 10:27 pm
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        That’s my main fear since those days you can’t trust Mozilla to do the right thing sadly.

      2. kusuriurikun said on September 20, 2019 at 5:14 pm
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        Which is why forks of the Mozilla codebase exist, and if Mozilla tries the same sillybuggers there is Waterfox (which has a history of explictly integrating security fixes but allowing older extensions to have functionality, and which is now working on a fork of the Mozilla v68 codebase that allows more flexibility in extensions than Firefox proper).

        REPORTEDLY Opera, Brave and Vivaldi are considering Waterfox-esque approaches if U3 goes live (basically use the “old” engine or a derivative above), though this may be harder than the Waterfox v68 branch (Waterfox uses a derivative of functionality that exists in Thunderbird–Mozilla’s email client–that allows backwards compatibility with pre-WebExtensions extensions with some minimal changes).

      3. Anonymous said on January 23, 2019 at 4:35 am
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        @NoT-Today
        If Mozilla is smart enough, this is the chance they’re waiting for. I see no reason why Mozilla has to follow Google’s step

      4. Not So Anonymous said on January 23, 2019 at 9:22 am
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        @Anon: The problem is they aren’t. They’ve already had a couple chances in the past but screwed up miserably (eg the Mr. Robot fiasco)

      5. suomynona said on January 23, 2019 at 12:35 pm
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        @Not So Anonymous, I doubt that the Looking Glass issue and this are comparable. Mozilla might make odd decisions at times (by subjective feeling; more in the last couple years), but they probably will not pass by the chance of ~5% of Chrome’s userbase.

    2. Kevin said on January 22, 2019 at 9:17 pm
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      Yeah I figured this is what Ublock Origin fans would do. It is what I would personally do if I was using Chrome and they stopped supporting Ublock Origin.

      On another note, I decided to be a nice person and disable Ublock Origin on Youtube the other day. And then I was promptly assaulted with a 2 and a half minute unskippable video ad. So I quickly switched UBO back on. I do think that the system is slowly tearing itself apart. Advertisers get more aggressive and obnoxious, so more people block ads, so advertisers get more aggressive and obnoxious, so more people block ads, and so on and so fourth until the system just collapses.

      But I don’t think ad blockers or people who use them are to blame. After all, annoying ads came before the ad blocker!

      1. Peterc said on January 24, 2019 at 11:26 pm
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        @Kevin:

        Personally, I’m looking forward to a return to the golden age of native advertising in TV broadcasting, when trusted news anchors would switch to a different camera sometime during the broadcast, take out a pack of cigarettes, and say something along these lines:

        [David]: When I need a break from a tough news hour, I find that there’s nothing more refreshing than the crisp, clean taste of Kool menthol cigarettes. And they’re even *better* when you’ve been drinking. Isn’t that right, Chet?

        [Chet:] *Hic!*

        [David:] Yeah, Chet knows what I’m talking about. Anyway, if you need a break, you should try Kool menthol cigarettes. They’re the freshmaker!

        [Producer, off camera:] That’s the tagline for an entirely different product, David.

        [David:] I’ll get it right next time. Now can we *please* get back to the news?

      2. mike O said on February 28, 2019 at 7:20 pm
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        LOL Very good! :-D I remember that time.

    3. Nuggets said on January 24, 2019 at 6:50 pm
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      I think you overestimate adblocker users.
      Yes, adblockers are some of the most popular addons/extensions. Yes, they’re extremely useful/QoL.
      No, people won’t drop Google/Chrome when uBO stops working/becomes inferior.

      First of all, a lot of internet users don’t even know about adblockers or don’t care about ads. There’s even people who refuse to use adblockers because they want to support websites/people; some strangely even like ads…
      Then there’s those people who have an adblocker, but don’t know how to use/maintain it. Not to mention that a lot of people don’t understand certain functionality or UI options. The more complex something is, the less likely people are going to bother with it.
      Example: I’ve been using computers since Win95; adblockers for over 10 years now. I’d like to use uMatrix instead of NoScript, but guess what? I don’t understand the UI. It confuses me and reading up on it confuses me more. I just stopped bothering with it and I’m somewhat capable with computers. uBO+NoScript on the other hand are simple and easy to use, even the advanced options are understandable.

      It always baffles me when I see streamers using their browser and the lack of security or plugins… no adblockers, basic settings, default this and that. But I do understand that it’s just how they do things. A lot of “normal” tech users are like that. What they want is simple and easy, as long as it works they’re fine with whatever. Have to install something extra? Too much effort, not worth it.
      And this also applies to tech people who should know better!

      Back to the topic. Let’s say Google pushes the changes and uBO/uMatrix can’t be used anymore. Some people won’t even notice, others will switch to adblock or something else. If Gorhill’s addons stay alive but with less functionality? Nothing changes for the majority of users.
      Let’s say disgruntled users decide to dump their Google browser because of ONE/TWO addons… what are their options? Almost every other browser is Chromium-based, so they’ll most likely have the same problem there. The only alternatives are Firechrome or Firefox branches, most of which adopted changes to FF to stay current, even if that meant giving up stuff that made them branches and “different” or “classic FF”. There’s still PaleMoon (which I’ve been using for years), but you won’t have your fancy WebExts or current maintained addons. There’s also some broken websites here and there. Most normal users won’t put up with something like that, heck they won’t even find out that FF branches exist!
      All they’ll do is googling “best browser 2019” and get results like “Google Chrome, Firefox, Edge” or something lol

      TLDR: no, I don’t believe people will awaken and abandon the almighty Google! Normies want easy and simple = Google. Tech people want something that works and is compatible = Google or FF. Most browsers are Chromium = Google, even FF looks and behaves similar to Google. So no, nothing will change, sadly.

      Cheers

      1. ShintoPlasm said on February 3, 2019 at 1:25 pm
        Reply

        Say what you will about the “evil” Google but they have created a really really good browser!

        Incidentally, everyone keeps saying that google tracks you and mines your data if you use chrome. But can anyone refer me to a reputable source online which actually provides proper evidence that this is so? I’m honestly curious to know.

      2. Samus said on March 15, 2019 at 4:22 pm
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        Hi Shinto,
        I’m not aware of how Chrome works since I don’t use it, but I do know google tracks you via their ad network. Websites which sign up to google adwords, doubleclick or other google advertising partners will place cookies (either the old kind or new html5 kind) on your browser when you go through their website. As most websites these days rely on google for their advertising, it allows google to build a nice profile of which websites you visit to sell to advertisers.

      3. Ali said on March 19, 2019 at 12:47 pm
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        I also was like you about uMatrix but i recently tried it and after i learned it, it is really good :)
        I suggest you to read these webpages and you will find out how use and config it:

        https://github.com/gorhill/uMatrix/wiki/How-to-work-in-hard-3rd-party-default-deny-by-default
        https://github.com/gorhill/uMatrix/wiki/How-to-create-rules-which-apply-everywhere,-on-all-web-sites

        Also this is a great guide about it but i haven’t read it yet:

        https://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/umatrix-guide.html

      4. Clairvaux said on March 19, 2019 at 2:05 pm
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        Agree. uMatrix is intimidating at first, but this impression should be overcome. In fact, it’s quite easy to use, and very noob-compatible.

        The learning curve is long, if you want to get to the bottom of it. But the beauty of the concept is, you can use it at whatever knowledge level you like. It just takes a little while of reading at the beginning, because indeed the UI is not self-explanatory. However, this starting step is very modest. It takes very little to be able to use it.

        Afterwards, you’ll be free to learn more whenever you feel like it. Or just stay at that basic level.

  3. Malte said on January 22, 2019 at 8:41 pm
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    The Purge begins. Embrace, extend, extinguish.

    1. Anonymous said on January 23, 2019 at 1:21 am
      Reply

      Google is the new Microsoft.

    2. Anonymous said on January 23, 2019 at 3:55 am
      Reply

      If all browsers go down this path then expect: UBLOCK PROXY. System-wide adblocking… and maybe more, like a firewall.

      1. Anonymous said on January 23, 2019 at 6:49 am
        Reply

        Already exists. It’s called pihole.

      2. booey said on January 23, 2019 at 7:58 am
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        no windows version though

      3. Anonymous said on January 23, 2019 at 10:34 am
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        hosts file perhaps?

      4. Parthenon said on January 23, 2019 at 7:15 pm
        Reply

        System wide adblocking can never be as granular and powerful as add-on content blocking, sadly

      5. Anonymous said on January 25, 2019 at 10:29 am
        Reply

        Unblock

      6. ULBoom said on January 28, 2019 at 3:20 am
        Reply

        AdGuard has blocking at the DNS level. There are many alternatives to ublock method (which I don’t use because of the interface) but the reality of the matter is most users don’t care to spend time learning something new when notifications are waiting.

  4. Anonymous said on January 22, 2019 at 8:47 pm
    Reply

    Good. That’s what they get from standing on Google’s side.

    Long live XUL!

  5. Sigitas said on January 22, 2019 at 8:52 pm
    Reply

    Time to move back to firefox then…

  6. user17843 said on January 22, 2019 at 9:05 pm
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    This is devastating.

    Obviously it is done by design, but this will be the beginning of the end of Chrome for professional users. I waited for this moment, when I realized that you can’t find uBO easily on the chrome extension store. They advertize all kinds of ad blockers, but the only one they do not is uBO. Because it is incorruptible.

    The web is unusable without ubO, tens of millions of professionals rely on it.

    I can’t even switch to FF for my main work because the usability is to weak, and I’m on a Mac. Hopefully Brave will be ready by the end of the year.

  7. Anonymous said on January 22, 2019 at 9:09 pm
    Reply

    Firefox FTW!

    Seriously though, you should probably be using Firefox anyway, regardless of what happens here.

    1. Ali said on March 19, 2019 at 11:14 am
      Reply

      Firefox became far better than before.
      It is now rather same as chrome in performance however chrome has more startup time but chrome has rather more stability in heavy websites.

      Even firefox 65 is far more better than 60.
      Recently i tested FF 60.5 ESR but 65.0.2 is far better than it in the responsiveness and performance.

      The Android version also became better than before and now is usable. i have 80 tabs on it :D

      Although i don’t know about Mac version, but i suggest you to try it again :)

  8. Sebas said on January 22, 2019 at 9:18 pm
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    If Google begins I think other Chromium based browsers fill follow. I wonder if for Brave it would be a chance to promote their BAT.

    Firefox would be smart to launch kind of a media offensive (if they have enough money for that).

    Anyway a sure sign Google, Facebook and the like don’t care one bit about all the negative news and EU penalties.

    1. crambie said on January 23, 2019 at 10:51 am
      Reply

      They won’t have a choice unless they are able to and want to patch it out. Brave seem more focused on privacy than the rest, always talk about it on github and their blog, the others don’t say a lot. So if anyone does they will but it may be that it’s pretty much impossible.

      1. Sebas said on January 23, 2019 at 12:00 pm
        Reply

        I am afraid so it will be.

  9. zakius said on January 22, 2019 at 9:48 pm
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    *laughs in waterfox*
    well, but it’s understandable: they are going to block non-google ads themselves and anyone trying to block google-ads is in the wrong from their standpoint

  10. glitsj16 said on January 22, 2019 at 9:50 pm
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    Remember the age-old adagio that one ‘ending’ gives rise to another ‘beginning’? Although it would be very regretful indeed to see uBlock Origin disappear from the Chrome content-blocking landscape, this move might very well inspire people to migrate to system-wide (host file based) alternatives.

    1. Moscato said on January 23, 2019 at 4:13 pm
      Reply

      That prevents the usage of per site, and per element control

  11. Vítor I said on January 22, 2019 at 10:01 pm
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    “Could this have been Google’s plan all along?”

    Yes!

  12. chesscanoe said on January 22, 2019 at 10:05 pm
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    I watch very little TV primarily because of the generally horrible advertising/show ratio. If I cannot mitigate the same potential problem using the Internet and tools like uBlock Origin, I will be back to 1985 again where a PC is just a tool for programming for my own pleasure.

    1. Anonymous said on January 23, 2019 at 1:23 am
      Reply

      I wish there was an adblocker for TV ;)

      1. MdN said on January 24, 2019 at 1:31 am
        Reply

        There is, it’s called a “remote control” :-)

  13. K@ said on January 22, 2019 at 10:05 pm
    Reply

    Hmmm… I use Vivaldi and Opera v12. Hereon in, I’ll make sure that I don’t update Vivaldi. If it breaks, it breaks. Opera v12 still works with 99% of sites, so I’ll stick with that. I can’t be doing with all this fucking about, myself. Apart from Vivaldi, I have Google locked well out of my system and I’m not about to let them screw me over, like this.

    1. twi said on January 23, 2019 at 8:47 pm
      Reply

      How do you stay safe with Opera 12?

      1. K@ said on January 24, 2019 at 10:28 am
        Reply

        I’m guessing, here and I hope I’m not inviting trouble, by saying this… As Opera v12 uses a vastly different engine, to any other browser, but is, now, deprecated, people don’t see the point in trying to exploit it, as few people use it, now, I suppose. But, I’ve been using the original Opera since v4, way back, and it’s never given me any hassles. It’s surprisingly fast, too, though I doubt there’s a flashplayer plugin that works, now. Plus, it has all my e-mails, going back many years. I doubt I could import them all to another client, now, if I wanted to.

      2. twi said on January 24, 2019 at 10:35 pm
        Reply

        I used Opera for over a decade, and have been mourning and browser-hopping ever since (currently on my second time around with Vivaldi, made by Opera’s co-founder). Every other browser still feels like amateur hour compared to O :)

        I’m *not* a security expert, but I was under the impression a lot of online exploits aren’t really targeting a specific browser per se but target some other vulnerability (e.g. JavaScript, operating system memory) and get away with it until the loophole in the browser that lets the exploit access that vulnerability is blocked off by the browser-maker, something that won’t happen with an unmaintained browser like O v12.

        But if you’ve been using it without problems all this time, maybe I can give it a go again (but perhaps in some kind of sandbox/jail to play it safe).

        Re ad-blocking, do you have a working third-party adblocker for O v12, or just use the internal filtering tool? Or something else?

      3. K@ said on January 25, 2019 at 12:41 pm
        Reply

        They were magnanimous enough to offer a security update, a while back. I believe that Martin has a page, on that, somewhere. IIRC, though, the link he gave now just goes to somewhere “modern Opera”, as it were. I’m on v12.18 Build 1873. No add-ons, at all, now, as I doubted they’d ever be updated. I can prevent various things happening (javascript, &c.) on a per-site basis, though, which helps. I really never have any problems, at all, with it, except for one site, for whatever reason. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk

        It kinda works, if I disable javascript, for that site, but it does render rather weirdly. I don’t recall ever having hassles on any other site, though.

        There seem to be a few sites, where you can get it. A search at startpage shows that there’s even a portable version.

        https://www.filecroco.com/download-opera-usb/

      4. twi said on January 26, 2019 at 11:12 pm
        Reply

        Thanks!

      5. Joop said on January 24, 2019 at 9:52 pm
        Reply

        Run Opera 12 with Sandboxie.

  14. gazoo said on January 22, 2019 at 10:15 pm
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    > It will also be interesting to see how Opera, Vivaldi, Brave, and other Chromium-based browser developers react…

    Vivaldi and Brave would do well to base their technologies off Mozilla’s FF Quantum Code. Opera, I think, is a lost cause in terms of how they view privacy. As one user already commented: Mozilla has been a bit flaky and could well implement the same set of changes (WebExtensions a derivative of Chrome’s Extensions).

    It would be great if Mozilla actually addressed this.

  15. Iron Heart said on January 22, 2019 at 10:22 pm
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    > One of the main issues with the suggested change is that it made to support AdBlock Plus compatible filters only and would limit filters to 30k.

    I know why they did this. Adblock Plus is being developed by the Eyeo GmbH. The business model of eyeo GmbH is to put advertisers who pay them a decent chunk of money, in order to be put on eyeo GmbH’s whitelist. Being on the whitelist is a good thing for advertisers, as that means that all of their ads come through despite the adblocker.

    Google is one of the major clients of eyeo GmbH, having paid them 25 million Euro in order to be put on their whitelist, according to Sascha Pallenberg, a German blogger who exposed the shady business model of the people behind Adblock Plus.

    Adblock Plus is thus favored by Google, as they are corrupt. Raymond Hill, developer of uBlock Origin and uMatrix, isn’t corrupt. Google’s failure to bribe him into submission is why he is now being put at a disadvantage.

    Our reaction to this should be a shit storm without equal, and if that doesn’t work, boycotting Chrome.

    By allowing 30K filters, Google ensures that only a tiny minority will switch to other browsers, as that’s “just good enough” for a decent browsing experience. Forbidding adblockers is not possible just yet, but Google is moving n that direction, by killing off legit offerings such as uBlock Origin first, leaving only their minions (eyeo GmbH) in the market for now.

    1. Iron Heart said on January 23, 2019 at 11:28 pm
      Reply

      Small correction: It was 25 million USD from Google, not 25 million Euro. Point still holds, though.

    2. Miraa said on January 24, 2019 at 1:40 pm
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      Ok, first of all I got linked here from Reddit so bare with me.
      Second, I agree with you, that we should not be taking this from Google. It’s not a good way to go at all, it takes away the liberty of user choice and I’m pretty fond of choosing what I want and don’t want.

      Now, while I appreciate uBlock Origin for it’s functionality and how much it allows me to adjust. I’m not using it for moral reasons, which also tie into why I’m responding to this post specifically:

      Advertisers don’t just pay a good chunk of money to the company from Adblock Plus.
      Advertisers apply to be white listed by adjusting their ads to fit the criteria of Acceptable Ads. If they fit the criteria AND surpass a certain threshold of people seeing their ads -> they have to pay around 30% of the money they get from being on the white list. You can find this information on the Acceptable Ads homepage actually.

      You’re free to call it what you will, but to me this looks more like an attempt to communicate to Advertisers to stop with their shitty ads and make them more user-friendly instead of obnoxious.
      If you want to see changes, you have to communicate and provide incentive. uBlock Origin in this case, represents a party that just sits around but doesn’t voice what it is they actually want (no ads!!!. Well, what’s the alternative? Nothing.). So if I want to see changes happening in how the Internet, specifically the Ads on the internet, are shown – I’ll join the party that tries to communicate effectively and in “business terms” I.e. money, the only incentive that advertisers actually have.

      Funny enough, these changes were a reason I initially switched to uBlock as well due to the whole controversy surrounding it. But it looks like the company has genuine interest in their users, because it’s no longer them that decide what’s acceptable and what isn’t. They seem to listen quite well actually. That 30% from revenue goes to hiring independent people onto a committee now AND hiring people to hand pick through ads to check others aren’t violating the guidelines.

      Another correction: Due to the nature of what I said previously, not “all ads” come through. Adjusted and user friendly ads come through, IF the user wants this. Meaning you can stop these ads from coming through all together, you can opt-out of the setting and choose to not support any kind of ads.

      Another correction: I’ve seen Raymond’s Hill initial comment be repeated by almost all articles I’ve read on this, saying ABP won’t be hurt by these changes. He has since corrected that in another post, but naturally it’s not being picked up as happily as it doesn’t fit into the narrative that many seem to have in their heads. To clarify: ABP looks to be just as affected by these changes as other content blockers. This isn’t a case of favoritism. It’s a case of Google going the wrong fucking way.

      While I fully agree with kicking up a shitstorm for these changes, I don’t feel that the company behind Adblock Plus should be a part of it. Based on my understanding, they’re actually trying to do good. I don’t know what the future holds but for the moment it doesn’t look to me like they’re a minion at all.

  16. Argent said on January 22, 2019 at 10:34 pm
    Reply

    imo, the real solution isn’t to hopscotch from one browser to the next while this sort of policy migrates around, but to buy a raspberry pi and deploy pi hole on your network.

    1. John Fenderson said on January 23, 2019 at 6:49 pm
      Reply

      @Argent:

      However, the author of NoScript has also chimed in that this will stop it from working properly as well. That’s a larger issue, because things like PiHole can’t do what NoScript does.

  17. Darren said on January 22, 2019 at 11:17 pm
    Reply

    Great post Iron Heart.

    Google is a million miles away from the “don’t be evil” days. They’re more or less anti-trust era Microsoft but way more Orwellian.

  18. 11r20 said on January 22, 2019 at 11:26 pm
    Reply

    Google has figured out that too many of us have jumped ship…I knew this was coming and mentioned on another thread that within 3 months they would come up with a way to pump their preferred propaganda to the rubes.

    Associates have informed me Apple is already doing this by not allowing uBO on their latest browser…I’m told If you download the Firefox browser on an updated Apple OS, uBO works but it’s restricted. Any lists added to the URL custom box will not work.

    Avoid the googler, tim cook-apple and faKeBo0k maoist/chicom business as usual model at all costs

    1. Anonee said on January 23, 2019 at 8:43 am
      Reply

      Whoever told you that is lying or an idiot; or both.
      UBo is not restricted on macOS, however, nowadays if you want to make an extension for Safar, then you have to have a developers account just like with apps on the App Store. Maybe devs don’t want to pay $99 a year just to make an extension, so they don’t bother now.
      The Reddit Enhancement Suite (RES) devs had to stop making a Safari version of the extension for this exact reason.

      1. Anonymous said on January 23, 2019 at 10:17 am
        Reply

        “Apple says it will continue to accept new submissions to the existing Safari Extensions Gallery through the end of 2018. It warns, however, that it will eventually transition away entirely from the Gallery platform.”

        “The issue is that safari will no longer support extensions of this type and that it is impossible to reproduce ublock’s functionality using Apple’s new requirements and limitations.”

        https://github.com/el1t/uBlock-Safari/issues/142
        https://github.com/el1t/uBlock-Safari/issues/130

  19. Emanon said on January 22, 2019 at 11:49 pm
    Reply

    Glad I got that lifetime license for Adguard all those years ago.

  20. Tom Hawack said on January 23, 2019 at 12:07 am
    Reply

    1- This Chrome extension manifest is available as a draft currently. Wait and see;

    2.1- If abandoned I’d consider the manifest as a test;
    2.2- If adopted, I would be surprised : I know Google is aggressive but I doubt to the point of puching under the waist.

    3- Happy to not be a Chrome user, happy to be a Firefox user;
    4- My top criteria will always be privacy which means that if Firefox itself ever followed such a manifest I’d switch immediately — immediately — to any browser supporting unlimited blocking features, uBlockO and Matrix essentially.

    5- Tomorrows, 2, 3 5 years from now, a browser market monoplized by Google, “take it, ads and tracking included, or move off” … I’d move off. But I consider such a scenario as unlikely : there will always be resistance and I have faith in developers’ capacity to counter-strike even if such a Web would mean that Net freedom has become an area for lesser and lesser users, creating as such an elite, not an elite of education or money makers but an elite of refusal.

  21. Yuliya said on January 23, 2019 at 12:28 am
    Reply

    I hope they will reconsider this. I seriously don’t want to have to get back to firegarbage.

  22. John said on January 23, 2019 at 12:57 am
    Reply

    I noted years ago that Chrome only allowed extensions and ad-blockers on Windows, and not on Android. Why? Chrome needed to allow them on Windows to take on Firefox, which of course pre-dated Chrome and had them, whereas on Android, very few users even realize they have a choice when it comes to their browser, and Chrome is bundled in (Although, in case anyone is unaware, there is a Firefox for Android in the Google Play Store- and it does offer several ad-blockers- it’s just that it only represents like half of a percent of mobile traffic from Android, so Chrome doesn’t view it as something it needs to complete with yet.). Clearly and predictably, the behavior of a company that gets the majority of it’s income through hosting ads on the Internet doesn’t want those ads blocked, and will only allow them to be blocked if they feel they have to do so to complete.

    This is just one of many reasons why the Blink/Chromium/Chrome monopoly is a bad thing and why people should seriously switching to Firefox. Google may back off this change now, but as Firefox’s user base continues to slip, Google can revisit the issue later when people have no alternative but to use Chrome or a related browser and take their medicine. Firefox may not be perfect, but it is the only browser on the market over 1% marketshare that’s cross platform and can present an “Option B” on some issues. Sure, there are all these other browsers based on Blink and Chromium, but *generally speaking*, they are about UI, and follow Chrome’s lead under the hood even when they don’t like where it is going because it would be expensive not to- many even just directly dump you to the Google maintained Chrome extension site, so even if there were differences on issues like this, the extensions will all follow the Chrome rules.

    Many web pages already are designed solely for Blink/Webkit and the number of those will only grow if Firefox can’t take back marketshare.

    I really think this proposed change (Outlined in the article) happened because Edge is switching to being based on Chromium. It’s now Google’s world, we’re just living in it. Unless…

    1. user17843 said on January 23, 2019 at 12:31 pm
      Reply

      It may sound counter-intuitive but now would be the time for Mozilla to spin-off a side-project which forks Chromium into something usable.

      They could stop the useless experiments, marketing and virtue-signaling and put 10% of their workforce into this project.

      The idea would be to have something that feels entirely like current Firefox, but with Chromium in the back-end.

      Just look at Vivaldi. They have 41 employees and managed to create a front-end. So it can be done with a very small team.

  23. clake said on January 23, 2019 at 1:05 am
    Reply

    I think it all depends on whether the chromium source code could be patched to revert google’s obnoxious changes. But, I imagine google will make the changes as inextricable as possible – true to form for them.
    It is a precarious situation with chromium as there really is no true fork other than chrome itself. And chrome’s changes are fed upstream.

    1. AnorKnee Merce said on January 23, 2019 at 9:13 am
      Reply

      @ clake

      The Chromium Open Source Project/COSP is sponsored and controlled by Google Inc, just like the Android Open Source Project/AOSP. What Google says, goes. COSP is used as a development base for her proprietary or close source Chrome browser.

    2. user17843 said on January 23, 2019 at 12:55 pm
      Reply

      It would probably be pretty easy for chromium based browsers like Opera to keep v2 compatibility, while going with v3 as well, but I bet Google will not allow it come to that, they will offer just enough features to keep the majority happy.

  24. thebrowser said on January 23, 2019 at 1:51 am
    Reply

    Well, well, well, what a “surprise”.

    First we get the news that Google Chrome will be blocking ads by default and now they intentionally limit the functionality of ad-blocker extensions that we all know work pretty damn well. I’m just going to go ahead and assume that all other Chromium-based browsers will happily follow this trend.

    I wonder if regular users will suddenly notice the amount of ads they’ll get and start asking questions.

    The next big question I believe some people have already address it is: will Firefox follow or step up for once and take this opportunity to do the right thing?

  25. NotAnonymous said on January 23, 2019 at 2:40 am
    Reply

    This is why you shouldn’t use a browser made by a company that’s main revenue source is ad revenue.

    Chrome is my backup browser. I only use it for websites that don’t render/work properly on Firefox.

    Firefox is better than Chrome in every possible way, IMO.

    I’m laughing at all the Chrome users, who have been acting like they are better than Firefox users.

    As Kirk said, “I’m laughing at the superior intellect.”

    1. MozillaEmployee said on January 24, 2019 at 7:26 am
      Reply

      I’m laughing at you — https://old.reddit.com/r/firefox/comments/aithmh/raymond_hill_creator_of_ublock_origin_ubo_and/eerce78/

      Mozilla’s preparing the ground for your burial hahahahaha

  26. P2d said on January 23, 2019 at 3:35 am
    Reply

    then Let Firefox (if they dont cave in) be your Moses,
    & let the exodus begin !

  27. AnorKnee Merce said on January 23, 2019 at 5:29 am
    Reply

    Chrome for Android does not allow extensions = unusable because of unblockable ads everywhere. So, Chrome for desktop will also soon become unusable.
    .
    This will likely signal the beginning of the downfall of Chrome.

  28. Fabio said on January 23, 2019 at 6:23 am
    Reply

    I use AdGuard so no problem here, of course is a paid ad blocker on system level, but at least is a possibility of laugh in Google’s face.

    1. Sebas said on January 23, 2019 at 11:59 am
      Reply

      I have tried it out and it seems be a good solution.

      1. Parthenon said on January 23, 2019 at 7:24 pm
        Reply

        It’s insufficient, not much better than ABP in the future Chrome. Worse because less flexible and precise, better because not limited in size.

        And of course it can’t compare with current content blockers in browsers. But it’s still good for all other programs.

      2. Seb said on January 24, 2019 at 5:17 am
        Reply

        This is about Adguard for desktop, not the extension. Why is it not much better then the ABP extension?

      3. Parthenon said on January 24, 2019 at 8:16 pm
        Reply

        Yes, I know you’re talking about system wide adblocking. It’s worse than even future-Chrome ABP because it is less flexible, it works per IP address. If you look at in-browser filter lists, you’ll see that they are much more powerful than this because they have a way more complete view into web requests and web pages’ code.

        It is however better than future-Chrome ABP because it doesn’t have a stupid limit of 30K rules.

        System wide adblocking is strictly inferior to *current* in-browser adblocking. It is useful in that it can filter requests of *other* programs that do not support adblocking ad-ons but still require internet access.

  29. supergirl said on January 23, 2019 at 7:55 am
    Reply

    Again, this is where Linux comes to your rescue…..
    Its a secure enough OS that you/I could run FFx52ESR on it with no Anti-Virus
    & still be 99.999% safe.
    Without even being careful or cautious about “malicious” websites…Dangerous for who exactly?

    When I first started using Linux I was getting browser malware.
    I set browser cache to zero, problem solved,page closed malware gone.
    I dont think I even do that anymore.
    So if you REALLY like that POS called chrome you could just run an older version probably for years.

    Microsoft, Google & Facebook will continue to abuse everyone anally until people stop whining & fight back.

    Understand this, Google is at YOUR mercy, no ad revenue & they would fold up in Year or 2.

    Good riddance,I say.
    Always remember the people who rise to the top in Capitalism are Narcissists & Sociopaths.

    Do not encourage or empower them…… LoL

    1. justme said on January 23, 2019 at 10:55 am
      Reply

      Did you even read what this is about? It has nothing to do with the OS neither has it anything to do with malware.

      1. supergirl said on January 24, 2019 at 6:27 am
        Reply

        @justme
        Im sorry if I spoke over your head there,lil feller.

        I have grown to like the community here…with a few exceptions..LoL

        Most people who matter here understand what I said & why I said it.
        There’s more than a few who just need a nudge to move to Linux.

        I like to provide information that they might value in making a decision.
        And your contribution is …umm…what exactly?

      2. Polnareff said on January 24, 2019 at 8:19 pm
        Reply

        Why would Linux be magically immune to attacks and security vulnerabilities ? Because it has 1-2% market share ? That’s not a very reliable security defence.

      3. Onslomo Mite Shlapaho said on March 17, 2019 at 9:36 am
        Reply

        WTF is he…. ohhhh “sheee” talking about. makes total sense now. notice the name. if ur a dude u better sit down and shut up or a gang of female trolls with purple hair will come gangbang ur pc and give it Linux, or Unix, or some other shitty OS STD…. Girls, please stop fighting things or even talking about fighting things, unless ur an Israeli female. Then i respect the fuck out of you bc i’ve fought with you. That’s right i brought politics and a pointless comment where it doesn’t belong. My job is done

      4. Clairvaux said on March 17, 2019 at 11:50 am
        Reply

        I must admit this was marginally funny. The name being a nice finishing touch.

  30. John G. said on January 23, 2019 at 8:07 am
    Reply

    I don’t like this measure by the side of Google. Anyway, I always thought that the Ublock extension will be “blocked” before than the Ublock Origin one. Now I am little confused, Ublock Origin is the good or it is the bad? My memory always make me same kind of unuseful jokes. :(

  31. Anonymous said on January 23, 2019 at 10:53 am
    Reply

    This same excuse of security against evil extensions was used to justify Firefox switching to the WebRequest API of WebExtensions so that uBlock Origin can no longer block Google Analytics internal requests made by Firefox itself or evil requests made by other extensions. Irony.

    This same excuse of speed was used to justify that with WebExtensions, Firefox security and privacy extensions like uBlock Origin can no longer safely block/modify HTTP headers of requests if there are several extensions trying to change the same header, while most of users are completely unaware that they are unprotected in spite of their extensions being installed.

    History repeats itself, people just have short memory.

  32. ShintoPlasm said on January 23, 2019 at 12:01 pm
    Reply

    Opera has a built-in adblocking functionality which is pretty good and has no 30k-rule limitation. I wonder how this decision will affect them…?

  33. Julius said on January 23, 2019 at 12:21 pm
    Reply

    I’m not sure what the fuss is all about.

    Won’t developers just find ways around this as they have likely done for pretty much every major change introduced?

    Or am I missing the larger scheme of things?

    1. K@ said on January 23, 2019 at 12:56 pm
      Reply

      Some developers have stopped developing for W10, because Windoze updates often breaks things and they can’t be arsed to keep having to fix things. Maybe Booble hopes that this kind of thing will stop devs bothering to keep ublock &c. going?

    2. John Fenderson said on January 23, 2019 at 6:51 pm
      Reply

      @Julius:

      The issue is that this is a serious reduction in what is possible to do in an extension. There are changes that developers can’t work around, and this may be one of those.

  34. Jon Doe said on January 23, 2019 at 1:06 pm
    Reply

    Would this limit be browser-wide, as in 30.000 ad-blocking rules maximum in total for the whole browser, or would it be a per extension limit?

    Because if it is meant to be per extension limit, would it be possible for users to simply install for instance 3-4 different adblock extensions and in each of them use a different adblock list up to 30000.

    It would probably be less efficient and more resource intensive than using multiple lists per 1 extension but at least it would enable the users to cover more bases instead of being limited to just 1 list of 30000 rules total.

  35. Motts said on January 23, 2019 at 1:44 pm
    Reply

    You mean the end of Chrome. Everyone else will continue using another browser. These Chromium developers always ignore user concerns. DirectWrite gone, childish playground UI forced, now WebRequest API going away.

    1. Anonymous said on January 23, 2019 at 2:06 pm
      Reply

      Chrome and Chromium users either don’t understand IT (for the bulk of them) or have no self-respect (for the “corporations have the moral right to penetrate us and I’ll earn 10 ms load time in the process” crowd). I doubt having to use Adblock Plus instead of uBlock Origin will make those sheeps massively use another browser. Just look at the pile of shit Firefox fans already accept without switching for a decent fork.

      1. Anonymous said on January 23, 2019 at 2:55 pm
        Reply

        Are there any decent forks of Firefox?

      2. Anonymous said on January 23, 2019 at 7:11 pm
        Reply

        Try Waterfox, it removes most of the crap in Firefox with almost no collateral damage.

      3. Apparition said on January 24, 2019 at 1:31 am
        Reply

        No, there are no decent Firefox forks. They’re all run by one or two core developers and therefore susceptible to the bus factor. Not only that, they are still extremely reliant on Mozilla for updates.

      4. Anonymous said on January 24, 2019 at 10:30 am
        Reply

        I agree that Waterfox will have a problem if his main developer is hit by a bus, but Firefox is already a train wreck whatever happens.

  36. George Orwell said on January 23, 2019 at 3:36 pm
    Reply

    What is the best place to turn to, to express our strong disapproval regarding this to stop it?

    These are the problems you get into when you have a quasi monopoly in the browser market.

    The days when the Google’s motto was “Don’t be evil.” are long gone.

    Stop the kraken! (Applies to MS, Apple, FB et al as well)

  37. LD said on January 23, 2019 at 4:23 pm
    Reply

    A few realities for Google to ponder (stats from 2016-2017). In 2018 the trend continued …

    64% of people believe Ads are annoying and they use Ad blocker.
    419 million people have installed an Ad blocker on their smartphones to avoid the Ads.
    650 million devices now use Ad block.
    Ad block usage grew by 30% in 2016.
    74% of Ad block users in the U.S. will leave a website with Ad block walls.
    22% of Ad blocker users block Ads on their mobile devices.
    60% of current Ad blocker users would turn off Ad blocking for content.
    51% have been using Ad blocking for 3+ years.
    Globally, the number of people using Ad blocking software grew by 41% year over year.
    79% respondents believed their browsing experience improved through Ad block.
    Content categories like Entertainment, Gaming, and Sports show the higher-than-average incidence of Ad blocked page views.

    TV viewers fought it – their ad blocker is the mute button on the remote and many record their fav. shows and skip through the ads. A viewer can get up to 12 ads in a program break unless it is exclusively sponsored. Many TV programs run for 5 to 7 mins max. followed by a 3-4 min scheduled break throughout their time slot. The only exception are ‘live’ programs, like sporting events, where a planned break to commercials ‘at the wrong time’ is a major foobar. Advertisers were in a rage over the mute and fast forward button – they tried to make it go away. They lost that fight.

    There are 87% more Ads than two years ago.

    Google is not loved and will do what they want with their browser. The consequences for them will be interesting if they proceed with V3 as planned. Meanwhile user dissatisfaction with advertising will continue to fester. As for the browser, extensions are under Google’s control but that does not mean that it will remain the only methodology for controlling ads on electronic devices in the future. Someone will figure out how to do it as effectively as R. Hill, but it will be outside the browser and away from Google’s control. Might does not always win the fight.

    1. John Fenderson said on January 23, 2019 at 6:53 pm
      Reply

      @LD: “TV viewers fought it”

      This TV viewer lost that fight. Advertising on TV is precisely what drove me away from watching TV entirely.

  38. Greg said on January 23, 2019 at 6:09 pm
    Reply

    Wow. If Chrome implements this, it will drive me back to Firefox because, frankly, I would give up 99% of what I use internet for if I don’t have uBlock and uMatrix. But I have grown to hate Firefox. Chrome (in its current form) does everything so much better than Firefox.

    And Google is not allowing regular people to post to the bug. Fantastic.

  39. LD said on January 23, 2019 at 7:20 pm
    Reply

    More to ponder…

    Chromebooks? I was wondering if Google will apply some restrictions on the other browsers supported on this platform if V3 gets implemented as is currently proposed. Besides Chrome (default obviously), they also support Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge. It would be a really embarrassing statistic for Google if one of the other four becomes the most desired browser on this platform. Behind Edge would totally humiliate Google.

  40. Anonymous said on January 23, 2019 at 8:05 pm
    Reply

    Alert ! A Mozilla employee is already justifying this Google decision !

    https://www.reddit.com/r/firefox/comments/aithmh/raymond_hill_creator_of_ublock_origin_ubo_and/eerce78/

    Maybe this will land in Firefox too sooner than expected !

    1. ShintoPlasm said on January 24, 2019 at 12:23 am
      Reply

      Why am I not bloody surprised…

    2. Mikhoul said on January 24, 2019 at 3:41 am
      Reply

      That’s exactly what was my fear about Firefox since Mozilla is shit those days…

      But since I use chromium I could switch to Brave since the Adblocker is built-in so it don’t use this API.

    3. Sebas said on January 24, 2019 at 5:29 am
      Reply

      A worrisome tread and a sign Firefox will go the same route.

    4. ghacks said on January 24, 2019 at 7:13 am
      Reply

      ^ The comments above are absolutely conspirational and don’t reflect the standing of what will happen.

      1. Anonymous said on January 24, 2019 at 10:55 am
        Reply

        “^ The comments above are absolutely conspirational and don’t reflect the standing of what will happen.”

        Then maybe the “Mozilla Information Trust Initiative” should work with its partners towards a way of censoring them ?

  41. Clairvaux said on January 23, 2019 at 8:50 pm
    Reply

    Okay. I have a suggestion. Why don’t the Googles and Mozillas and others offer two versions of their browsers, one free, and the other for a (flat) fee ? That way, they could tinker to their heart’s content on the free browser, in order to monetise it the way they like. And users who prefer uMatrix, a clean page and no nosy practices could choose to pay. After all, there’s no law saying a browser has to be free, is there ?

  42. Alex said on January 23, 2019 at 11:45 pm
    Reply

    People actually surprised by things like this… right. What did you expect from Chrome and its makers, freedom of choice? An “Open Web”? Zero ads forever? Blindly installing the latest trend (Chrome) while ignoring the fine print, does have its consequences.

    It’s depressing how most people start to care about issues that matter, only when their personal habits are being touched.

  43. GoogleWorldWideWeb said on January 24, 2019 at 5:45 am
    Reply

    Google gonna monopolize the web pretty sooner than expected….. Mozilla ain’t different after they drop Gecko and followed a more Google Chrome aproach.

  44. Benjamin said on January 24, 2019 at 8:45 am
    Reply

    ..remember the days of Alta Vista, the first larger and capable search engine built and paid for by the former Digital Corporation to show off their powerful computer technology… then came Google and other misfortunes for Alta Vista

    I also remember very well how a German computer magazine Ct’ published many articles about the inner workings of the Google Corporation. This was already about 15 years ago and it included many warnings for users, programmers, law makers, individuals and society as a whole when using this corporations technologies… thanks to the dumb neoliberal assumption that liberalised markets regulate themself for the benefit of all, no one even tried to regulate the doings of this purely shareholder driven corporate structures. This is why today hundreds of millions naively use purely privately regulated and controlled technology that was once the sole domain of secret services… all this is for me a deeply political and social concept of what capital and society should be instead of today’s financial markets and Shareholders driven one.

  45. Peterc said on January 25, 2019 at 12:48 am
    Reply

    No one seems sure whether Firefox is going to follow Google’s lead, but Pale Moon and Waterfox are NOT taking this first step on the path to forced advertising. But will Raymond Gorhill resume development for UXP and XUL? Pale Moon is committed to continuing development of UXP as long as it can. I’m not sure what’s going to happen to legacy extensions in Waterfox when the old Firefox codebase it uses starts getting a bit too long in the tooth.

    BOTTOM LINE: Extension developers who have been strung along and then wittingly screwed hard by Chrome and Firefox should take another look at platforms that only screw them occasionally, by accident.

  46. Anonymous said on January 25, 2019 at 9:45 am
    Reply

    Oh, by the way, do you remember the main excuse Mozilla gave for destroying 16000+ classic extensions and the extended capabilities of the former system to please Google ? Compatibility ! Webextensions would never be broken again by new browser versions !
    The lucid minority warned you that they were probably lying on that specific point too, and this is now the proof, their plan to remove the blocking ability of the webrequest API would need lots of extensions to be rewritten or they would break, not only uBlock Origin.

  47. Anonymous said on January 25, 2019 at 10:43 am
    Reply

    It seems that Wladimir Palant and his mafia finally has found a way to get revenge on gorhill.

  48. asd said on January 27, 2019 at 11:33 pm
    Reply

    I am surprised Google hasn’t already removed the ability to block ads. Google is an ad company after all.

  49. Peter Newton said on January 30, 2019 at 7:36 pm
    Reply

    As per usual a dominant corporation wants it ALL its own way, I gave up using Poodle services a long time ago [and yes, that was not a spelling mistake]. Companies like these make my blood boil, there is no peace from interference from any of these bloated, self serving, self appointed demigods. When is enough, enough ! Seemingly never, internet users need to be made aware of Poodle’s collection of telemetry, their future plans for even greater dominance than they have now, and as long as users continue to use their services, there will come a day when the internet will be so restricted it will not be worth using. The only way to make these greedy people aware of internet users displeasure, is to boycott them and all connected with their policies. Those who give up security for convenience are traitors to humanity, so those whom insist on continuing to be willing slaves, will eventually be responsible for betraying the rest of us. Those among you know who you are, you should feel thoroughly ashamed of yourselves for allowing corporations to just walk all over you, or do you want things to change for the better ?

  50. R. said on February 6, 2019 at 5:31 am
    Reply

    FORK CHROMIUM NOW.

    Vivaldi, Opera, Brave, the EFF, uBlock and other extension developers could form an alliance to fund a maintained fork of Chromium. This is the only solution, to break dependence on Google.

    Do it before it’s too late.

  51. Peterc said on March 1, 2019 at 8:31 pm
    Reply

    A few months back, I had been strongly considering semi-rugged Chromebooks designed for schoolchildren as a pretty decent gift for tech-illiterate senior citizens in nursing homes. They could be used for Skyping with family members and friends, keeping up with the news, watching YouTube or Netflix, and reading ebooks, whether in standard laptop position or folded back and used as tablets. Google would take care of pretty much all of the software maintenance and security, automatically in background. And since the hardware was designed for kids, they could ostensibly survive accidental drops to the floor (from beds, laps, and desks). Install a few extensions for them — DEFINITELY including uBlock Origin — and they would probably provide a pretty useful, life-enriching experience.

    This news caused me to COMPLETELY re-evaluate that assessment. I see it as the beginning of a slippery slope that could end up turning Chromebooks (and Google Chrome) into the computer-mediated equivalent of American commercial television, where nearly a third of all airtime is taken up by advertising. Senior citizens in failing health don’t have a lot of time left, and making them sit through continual barrages of mind-numbing advertising isn’t much of a gift. (Well … not to the senior citizens.)

    I have yet to think of a good alternative that is as durable and inexpensive and (especially) requires as little manual administration. Linux Mint is starting to reach the point where it can run and update on autopilot, but to run well, it requires more disk space, more RAM, and a beefier CPU than rugged Chromebooks for kids come with. (Macs aren’t rugged and they’re very expensive.)

    And now that I think of it, what about the original purpose of Chromebooks for kids? School districts in some jurisdictions have strict rules about exposing kids to advertising. Is Google about to kill off a big chunk of its Chromebook market? Will it come out with a special school-district edition of Chrome OS that permits full ad-blocking, and then have to police who uses it? Or is it counting on being able to cajole or buy off any school-district administrators and childrens’-rights advocates who object?

    At any rate, this is a very worrisome move by Google, the reigning king of Internet advertising, who would not have been able to make it if Google Chrome hadn’t achieved unchecked dominance in the browser market. Ain’t vertical integration grand?

  52. Alan Ian Ross said on March 19, 2019 at 6:04 pm
    Reply

    «Could this have been Google’s plan all along? Create a web browser and use it to combat the use of content blockers? Block some annoying ads, allow basic content blockers, and block any other form of content blocking to make sure that Google’s advertising business improves again?»

    Of course, I’d say.

    I suppose that, as far as I’m concerned, this will mean the end of my experiments with Chromium, and my permanent return to Firefox 😒

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