uBlock Origin 1.40 Update introduces a workaround to block YouTube ads that were loaded at Chrome startup
Recently, some users chimed in about a similar problem with uBlock Origin in Chrome. The open-source ad blocker let some YouTube ads through in Google's browser. But this didn't happen all the time, only in specific scenarios, like when leaving a YouTube tab as the last active tab, and closing the browser. Upon reopening Chrome, the ads came through.
A member of uBlock Origin's team, who was investigating the issue, proposed a change, to make tabs reload after the ad blocking plugin is ready to filter the web requests. That could be a potential solution for stopping the ads before they could be delivered. But, Raymond Gorhill, the creator of the add-on, said that making tabs reload unconditionally would be a bad idea, especially if the user has hundreds of tabs. Imagine if all the tabs reloaded simultaneously, that could result in chaos.
uBlock Origin 1.40 Update prevents YouTube ads from loading when Chrome starts
Gorhill suggested that the extension should only reload when a network request has been made by the tab. The developers worked with this in mind, and introduced a commit at the add-on's repo. They have enabled a feature that was previously being tested, it's referred to as suspendTabsUntilReady. The new version of the add-on, uBlock Origin 1.40 brings the fix for the YouTube ads at Chrome startup.
With the change, uBlock Origin will reload active tabs when Chrome is launched, while ignoring the tabs that were inactive/suspended. The update for the extension also includes a couple of other improvements for the My Filters Editor's auto-complete functionality, scriplets, defusers, and the issue reporter. Pop-up filtering now supports a new scriptlet, window-close-if. The update is not yet live on the Chrome webstore, Opera Addons store and Microsoft Store, but is already available on Firefox's AMO.
This YouTube ad issue isn't new per se. A few months ago, Opera browser's default ad blocker had the same problem. After reading user reports, I observed the same pattern when I tested the browser. It was generally agreed by the tech community that YouTube was changing the way ads were delivered, as a counter-active measure to prevent ad blockers from throttling ads. The issue was patched in a later version of Opera.
Google will stop supporting Manifest V2 extensions in 2023, to force developers to shift to Manifest V3 sans the webRequest blocking API. But the search giant is already messing with ad blocking. When support for V2 ends, it will effectively break the functionality of adblockers, including uBlock Origin for Chrome. Many users are worried about it, and are hoping the extension will somehow work in the browser after the dreaded change is forced upon developers. Can you blame them for being concerned? Here's an interesting article by the EFF, that talks more about the technical details of Manifest V3.
Fortunately, there are alternatives that you may want to consider switching to. Vivaldi and Brave have confirmed they will not implement V3 in their browser, and Mozilla will implement its own version of Manifest V2 with the ability to perform cross-origin requests, it will continue supporting V2 for a year after it has been deprecated. As for Microsoft Edge, I recommend reading about recent issues circling the browser, before deciding if you should switch to it.
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