Google continues extensions Manifest v3 push even though some APIs are not ready yet

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 20, 2022
Google Chrome
|
26

Remember when Mozilla switched to WebExtensions? Back then, developers had to port their extensions to the new extensions system for them to remain compatibility with Firefox. Mozilla did not release major APIs immediately, and some extension developers were blocked from porting their extensions in time, or releasing them with reduced functionality.

google chrome proxy extensions

Now Google extension developers are in a similar position. Come January 2023, Chrome will only support extensions that are designed using Manifest v3. While there will be an Enterprise policy to delay this by six months, most Chrome users will encounter only Manifest v3 extensions from January 2023 on.

Older extensions, those using Manifest v2, won't be offered in the Chrome Web Store anymore and they can't be updated. Chrome won't accept these either, and there is a chance that many users will have some of their extensions disabled by the browser automatically.

ADVERTISEMENT

If that is not bad enough, extension developers face issues that are very similar to what Firefox extension developers faced a few years ago. Some of the promised APIs are not available yet, and with the January 2023 deadline approaching fast, some could not even begin the porting.

There are numerous examples available. This bug on Chromium highlights that an essential API for proxy extensions is not yet available. Opened in 2020, it received a high number of stars to get the attention of Google. Only today, on September 20, did a Chromium project member respond stating that Google was hoping to resolve the issue before January 2023.

While that may be the case, extension developers need time to develop and test the new Manifest v3 version of extensions before they upload it to the Chrome Web Store.

Similarly, extensions that provide user script functionality, face similar issues, as Google is scrambling to get supported added to Chrome so that developers may start developing and testing their Manifest v3 extensions.

Content blocking is limited as well in Manifest v3, but that is by design. There will be content blocking extensions, but they are limited by several factors.

Closing Words

If Google is not delaying the move to make Chrome Manifest v3 compatible only, it is very likely that some extensions won't be ready in January 2023 due to a lack of available APIs and information provided by Google.

The number of  users who will will be affected by this is unclear, but some of the proxy extensions have millions of users. It will be interesting to see whether Google is going to extend the January 2023 deadline as it approaches, or is going to stick with it.

Now You: do you use extensions? Any affected by the move to Manifest v3? (via Hacker News)

Summary
Google continues extensions Manifest v3 push even though some APIs are not ready yet
Article Name
Google continues extensions Manifest v3 push even though some APIs are not ready yet
Description
Some Chrome extensions may not be ported to Manifest v3 yet because of missing APIs. All that with the January 2023 deadline looming.
Author
Publisher
Ghacks Technology News
Logo
Advertisement

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «

Comments

  1. Iron Heart said on September 20, 2022 at 7:33 am
    Reply

    Martin, I don’t know exactly what the goal of these articles is really… gHacks has covered Manifest V3 extensively already and we know of the benefits and downsides by now. I have read this article trying to find new information, but I didn’t find any except “developers have no time for the transition”, which is not entirely accurate because Manifest V2 and Manifest V3 APIs have existed in parallel for quite some time now. And the API for proxies was not promised and will probably never come, as there has hardly been any discussion from Google’s side in the related bug report. Not that I think this is a bad thing either, because VPN extensions are notoriously non-robust and can’t compete with a system-level VPN, let alone a router-level VPN. And most VPN companies offer both anyway, system-level and extension-level.

    As far as adblockers (which are a main talking point still) are concerned, gorhill has actually admitted that he hasn’t worked on his Manifest V3 version of uBO for more than one month and is gradually finding out that things are not as dire as he thought they were: https://github.com/uBlockOrigin/uBlock-issues/issues/338#issuecomment-1242401687
    Will it be as powerful as MV2 version of uBO? Likely not, but it’s also not half as bad as people thought it was going to be, and that should be weighed against the substantial security improvement of going permissionless. Anyway, I am looking at these developments somewhat relaxed because I know that there are always the native adblockers of browsers as a potential alternative, blocking via extension is not the only way. Same story for VPN / proxy.

    1. Allwynd said on September 20, 2022 at 11:34 am
      Reply

      I’m really curious to see when V2 is removed from Chrome, how it will affect uBlock Origin and how will Chromium-based browsers like Opera, Vivaldi, Brave or Kiwi are going to respond to this.

      From what I’ve seen, the built-in ad-block capabilities of those are far inferior compared to uBlock Origin if UBO is stop working or gets neutered to the point it’s useless, it’s going to be a real pain. I sure as hell don’t want to move to something as inferior, underdeveloped and mismanaged like Firefox. Chromium and Blink are much better technologies, but in the hands of a despot like Google, they are bound to be limited to the point where they are undesirable to any power user.

      1. Anonymous said on September 21, 2022 at 12:14 am
        Reply

        well the the eta is 2023/1/1

      2. Iron Heart said on September 21, 2022 at 8:18 am
        Reply

        @Allwynd

        Well, Manifest V2 will still be present until June 2023, just behind an enterprise flag. Brave can just flip this flag to “enabled”, so the “ETA” of @Anonymous is not the actual date of removal. From July 2023 onwards, Google could actually rip out the code at upstream. What happens then will depend on how feasible it is to maintain the webRequest API. Pretty sure it is doable when Mozilla says they can maintain it for now, until they have found a better solution that is, so why should it not be possible for e.g. Brave or Vivaldi?
        That being said, you would also have to host uBlock Origin elsewhere other than the Chrome Web Store, as Google will likely remove Manifest V2 extensions from the store at some point. So other Chromium-based browsers will need their own store or allow installation from GitHub. Brave devs said that they could serve uBO updates via their own component updater for users who have it installed, maybe that’s also a possibility.

        Pretty sure all Chromium-based browsers aside from Chrome and Edge are looking for solutions here, the viable options are maintaining the webRequest API independently of Google or getting their internal adblockers to feature parity with uBO and then just adopt Manifest V3 as is, those are the two options on the table. I think Brave’s adblocker is closest to uBO feature parity while the others still have more catchup to do.

      3. assurbani said on September 21, 2022 at 2:30 pm
        Reply

        Firefox is the best, pity you don’t get there

      4. Iron Heart said on September 21, 2022 at 5:06 pm
        Reply

        @assurbani

        Best at what exactly? I see no good reason to use Firefox in 2022.

    2. thebrowser said on September 20, 2022 at 12:02 pm
      Reply

      @Iron Heart,

      Not too long ago you were complaining about Firefox being “over reported” on this site. Now you complain about the same thing except with Google. Anyway, speaking of things that have been covered extensively, what was Firefox market share again?

      1. Unknown person said on September 21, 2022 at 12:02 pm
        Reply

        @thebrowser: because Iron Heart can’t live a single day without scapegoating something.

      2. Iron Heart said on September 21, 2022 at 12:18 pm
        Reply

        @Unknown person

        And you can’t live a single day without trolling something I say, it seems.

      3. Unknown person said on September 25, 2022 at 1:15 pm
        Reply

        @Iron Heart: I’m not here on every single article on Chrome/Firefox to shit on it. You are.

        You might want to look yourself in the mirror first.

      4. Iron Heart said on September 27, 2022 at 1:31 pm
        Reply

        @Unknown person

        > I’m not here on every single article on Chrome/Firefox to shit on it. You are.

        And by “shit on it”, do you mean what I say is untrue? Because if it isn’t untrue, then it just happens to be inconvenient for you, and you will have to live with it.

        At least I am contributing stuff here, what do you do? I don’t even know who you are.

  2. Jody Thornton said on September 20, 2022 at 1:49 pm
    Reply

    @thebrowser:

    So in other words, you’re citing that Iron Heart is consistent. He calls BS whether it comes from the Gecko OR Chromium camps. He actually DOESN’T take sides. Last time when I made some Firefox criticisms, I was referred to as pro-Chromium. Funny how things can change in a ….. wait for it …. “Blink” of an eye (oh come on – that was good!)

    There has been a lot of analysis of Manifest v3 lately. I also notice that EVERY single time that a Chromium security issue comes up, it’s trotted out here like a circus exhibit. Sigh! I’m not a Chrome or Edge fan either. I’m somewhat enthusiastic about Vivaldi. But I do notice that the Ghacks articles veer into opinion, and are written in a way that sounds anti-Google/Microsoft and pro-Mozilla. They shouldn’t be. It’s OK if commenters take a stance, but the articles should be neutral. It’s amazing that there’s so much bandying around of the “freedom of speech” stuff here, yet when these articles smell of a pro-Mozilla stance, there’s no opposition.

    That’s inconsistency – not what Iron Heart writes. He has demonstrated that there are good and bad in both camps.

    1. thebrowser said on September 20, 2022 at 2:33 pm
      Reply

      @Jody Thornton,

      > Funny how things can change in a ….. wait for it …. “Blink” of an eye (oh come on – that was good!)

      Okay, fine, you gain 10 internet points :)

    2. Clairvaux said on September 21, 2022 at 5:36 am
      Reply

      No, articles should not be neutral. Strong opinions is what drives interest. Also, freedom of speech means precisely freedom to share one’s opinion.

      That being said, I don’t see any strong opinion here. Just interesting information and analysis. Nobody is bashing anything.

      1. Jody Thornton said on September 21, 2022 at 1:27 pm
        Reply

        @Clairvaux:

        However, Ghacks is a tech NEWS site. Journalism constitutes fair and balanced reporting. Opinon is the editorial section. And when someone is making articles that say more or less “Stop Using Chrome and Use Firefox”, you’re taking an editorial position. That’s NOT fair and balanced reporting.

        If you were right, then you have no reason to be mad when Mozilla takes a more left or woke approach to things. See what I mean?

  3. ChromeFan said on September 20, 2022 at 2:20 pm
    Reply

    Do I use extensions? No. The average person does not use extensions. Do extensions exist on mobile? No. Hopefully they phase out extensions.

    Are extension developers going to move to Firefox? Haha. Firefox has always been a hobbyist browser. No one takes it seriously, not app developers, and especially not Mozilla.

  4. Sebas said on September 20, 2022 at 2:26 pm
    Reply

    @Jody Thornton: About ghack I have no problem giving them opinions, but there seems indeed to be a certain neglect of coverage about non Firefox news. For example the latest version of Brave now does have the option of translating text, but nowhere I find info about that on ghacks. Would that have been the case with the same news about Firefox? I don’t think so.

    Since this is about mabifest V3 I would like, for example, to read articles comparing the V3 version of Adguard and uBlock Origin.

    @Iron heart thanks for the link.

    1. Anonymous said on September 20, 2022 at 2:45 pm
      Reply

      from my pov, only chrome & firefox get coverage often, while chromium based & firefox based fork normally only get coverage when there is major releases.

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on September 20, 2022 at 3:11 pm
      Reply

      Sebas, if you think that we have missed a news, let us know please and we will make sure to check it out. We keep an eye on a lot of things, but not on everything. I just checked the latest Brave release notes and could not find any mentioning of the feature.

      1. Sebas said on September 20, 2022 at 5:31 pm
        Reply

        @Martin In Brave Version 1.43.93 in the menu you choose languages and then somewhere there they offer the option to translate pages that are in a language unknown to you. I use Brave in Dutch language so I don’t know what the exact phrase is in English. ( or German).

  5. Daniel said on September 20, 2022 at 2:41 pm
    Reply

    One might want to consider MX Linux who have adblock option incorporated. ;)

    Firefox with uBlock Origin is still a good thing.

    Let’s just hope Mozilla won’t muff up on this too.

  6. DontBeEvil said on September 20, 2022 at 3:07 pm
    Reply

    Google doesn’t give a damn because they are the market leader, and the arrogant Chrome developers strive to silence any criticism of their idiocy. To end Google’s reliance on browsers, something needed to be done eight years ago, but no one took any action. Enjoy your broken internet, everyone.

  7. anonymous said on September 20, 2022 at 5:45 pm
    Reply

    Yet another reason to boycott all things Google. (Which I do already.)

  8. Sol Shine said on September 21, 2022 at 12:47 am
    Reply

    Manifest v3 will make uBLock Origin and other ad blockers less effective in blocking ads in Chromium based browsers.
    That is Google’s goal.

    But ad serving and tracking websitses can still be blocked using the hosts file or other solutions like Pi-hole.

    uBlock Origin and espacially uMatrix also lets you block the website you are visiting from calling in tracking scripts from other websites.
    This feature does not require a list of websites to block.

    So Google will still fail to stop tech-educated users from blocking ads.
    They can make it harder, but can never stop it.

    They will also push users to other Browsers like Firefox and Brave.

  9. Rex said on September 21, 2022 at 3:50 am
    Reply

    Meanwhile here I am with Pale Moon and popcorn, totally unaffected by any of this. Enjoy your ChromeZilla world.

    1. Anonymous said on September 21, 2022 at 2:43 pm
      Reply

      lmao enjoy your Pale Meme

Leave a Reply

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

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.