Google delays the death of Manifest V2 extensions to 2024

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 29, 2022
Google Chrome
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Google announced an extension of the deadline to remove support for Manifest V2 extensions in the company's Chrome browser and the open source Chromium core.

The change does not impact the core decision of removing support for Manifest V2 extensions in favor of Manifest V3. Dubbed, the adblocker killer initially, due to limitations imposed on content blocking and other types of browser extensions, Google made concessions that allows content blockers to run on Chrome after the final switch is made.

Extensions are still limited in comparison to Manifest V2, especially if multiple that use filtering functionality are run simultaneously, or if lots of filters are activated in a single extension.

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Chromium browser developers have two main options to deal with those limitations. First, they may have or introduce content blockers of their own, which may continue to work even after the switch is made. Second, they may continue support for Manifest V2, or the required APIs at least.

Brave, Vivaldi or Opera run their own content blockers already. Vivaldi, for example, confirmed that its ad blocker will continue to work.

Mozilla, maker of Firefox, plans to support Manifest V2 and V3 in the browser to ensure that Manifest V2 extensions continue to be supported in the browser.

Google's initial plan was to stop supporting Manifest V2 extensions in Chrome by June 2023. For most users, support would run out in January 2023, but an Enterprise policy would enable users to extend the deadline by six months.

Manifest V2 retirement: Changes to plans

Now, Google announced an extension to 2024 in a new blog post on the Chrome Developer site and details on the phasing out of Manifest V2 support in the browser.

  • In January 2023, when Chrome 112 is released, Google plans to run experiments to turn off support for Manifest V2 in development browsers (Chrome Beta, Dev and Canary).
  • In June 2023, when Chrome 115 is released, Google plans to run experiments to turn off support for Manifest V2 extensions for all Chrome channels, including Stable.

Enterprise policies may be set to extend the retirement deadline to January 2024. Chrome developers who maintain Manifest V2 extensions in the Store will have featured badges removed from the extensions by January 2023. From June 2023 on, Manifest V2 extensions are no longer allowed to be published with public visibility. All existing Chrome extensions that rely on Manifest V2 will be changed to unlisted.

The delay gives developers more time, especially since several APIs do not appear ready at the time of writing. Google created a "known issues" page for developers that lists major known migration issues.

For users, it means that they do not have to worry about extensions running out of support until January 2024, provided that they either apply the Enterprise policy to extend the deadline, or have it applied by the maker of a Chromium-based browser.

Now You: are you affected by the migration to Manifest V3?

Summary
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Google delays the death of Manifest V2 extensions to 2024
Description
Google announced that it will delay the removal of Manifest V2 extensions support in the company's Chrome web browser-
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. Iron Heart said on September 29, 2022 at 7:04 am
    Reply

    Waiting for the people who said that Firefox usage would explode in 2023… What now?

    Never believed in that narrative anyway.

    More on topic: Extending the life of Manifest V2 adblockers is good as it fosters competition in the adblock space and gives the built-in adblockers more time to build themselves up.

    1. Tetanus said on September 29, 2022 at 12:06 pm
      Reply

      Oh look, captain hidsight is at work. Did those people MAYBE say those things with the information available to them at the time?

      1. Iron Heart said on September 29, 2022 at 12:17 pm
        Reply

        @Tetanus

        Hm, when you heavily advertise yourself as the (Google-funded, but still) “alternative” all over social media and when you get articles front and center on all major tech newspapers kissing your behind, chances were that Google would react to that and quell the wave of support for now. Well done.

      2. Frankel said on September 30, 2022 at 10:17 am
        Reply

        Well it was Google who panic-delayed the exit of v2 until 2024 just 1 single day ago. My crystal orb is currently in repair but your “told ya so” raises no more than an eyebrow. Brave will ditch it the same time as google ditches it in Enterprise, because they just fork. Mozilla keeps maintaining it.

        Immanuel Kant

      3. Iron Heart said on September 30, 2022 at 1:17 pm
        Reply

        @Frankel

        > Brave will ditch it the same time as google ditches it in Enterprise, because they just fork

        They “fork” would mean they maintain it in this case, smart guy.

        > Mozilla keeps maintaining it.

        Bookmarking this for yet another “I told you so.” comment later on, you seem to insist on them.

        > Immanuel Kant

        …would in all likelihood not have written something that stupid.

      4. Frankel said on September 30, 2022 at 8:24 pm
        Reply

        And like clockwork a free can of courtship. Thanks friend, never disappoint!

    2. Mystique said on September 29, 2022 at 12:50 pm
      Reply

      I don’t think the it would explode but if the delay is place then it may help Google retain a few people that are aware but lets face it the vast majority of people that use chrome have absolutely no idea about anything going on regarding the browser let alone what updates occur. As long as they can browse the websites their websites in sheer ignorance then they will just continue on blissfully unaware of their own inept behaviour and stupidity. There are a couple of variables here that people should be made aware of and that is the kind of negative press affords people the opportunity to try other browsers of which they may be pleasantly surprised and never to return to google chrome. These alternatives may not necessarily be Firefox but an alternative nonetheless of which may also cause a small ripple in google’s plans.

      What is likely is that Google are quite aware of the negative press and drop in users. Google wouldn’t even have to read a single article about it as their analytics are all over the place not only inbuilt into their browser. They are acutely aware of a lot more than you all think.

      Google is also well aware that their competition is making up ground. For all we know someone is busy developing a new addon/extension repository which would further prop up their own browser and likely many other chromium based browsers.

      1. Tetanus said on September 29, 2022 at 1:54 pm
        Reply

        There are also a very substancial amount of Google Chrome users that have had a friend/family member install and set it up, adblockers etc included. Totally unaware that their browser is absolutely nothing like a vanilla install. Just surf along, smile and wave.. These people brag to other completely oblivious people about how good Google Chrome is and that they never see any ads. These are also the people who “don’t care” about ads or privacy violations, simply because they have never been exposed to them in the first place. These are the people that will be butthurt the most when ads explode in their face come 2024..

    3. Allwynd said on September 29, 2022 at 3:31 pm
      Reply

      I think far less people use ad-blockers than it’s believed. About 1% from the people that I know know about them and use them. Some of them know so little that I’m afraid to even begin explaining them in fear of sounding like some Jehovah’s Witness knocking on their door.

      Even if Manifest V2 died at the dawn of 2023 and it was irreversible, and everyone who was on Chromium and could no longer block their ads moved to Firefox, I doubt Firefox’ share would increase by more than 1% worldwide.

      People keep forgetting how few people use ad-blocking. They need an article like this to get bombarded with mainstream discussion about “what ad-blocking even is” to realize how few they really are in an ocean of people who know nothing about it, or care.

      1. Tetanus said on September 29, 2022 at 6:22 pm
        Reply

        @Allwynd

        “People keep forgetting how few people use ad-blocking”
        You are dead wrong. On computers quite a lot of people do, and that’s the main reason why Google is pushing manifest V3. They are missing out on gigantic amounts of money. On android phones the story is still a bit different, everyone has one and just click on Chrome to go online..earning Google money each time they do. That is also changing slowly, because once a phone user is told/aware of browsers with adblocking it’s goodbye Chrome. Zero reason to use Chrome on a phone where ads are way more intrusive than computers due to the screen size. All it takes is a public outcry or a story in the media on adblocking browsers and Chrome is in trouble, like we are seeing now. There’s a whole “time to ditch Google Chrome” movement going on on the internet already and that’s not stopping anytime soon, no matter what new curveball Google is trying. They basically have a monopoly and are trying to abuse it. For our “safety”…. Ads should be voluntary. That way the user decides which content creator to support by watching an ad or two before accessing the content.

      2. Allwynd said on September 30, 2022 at 11:34 am
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        @Tetanus,

        If all the people you know are nerds, maybe everyone you know us using ad-blockers. I know a lot of people who don’t care about technology all that much and only use it as a tool rather than some kind of a religion where they get annoyed if ads are not blocker or whatever.

        So yeah, a very small subset of people are using ad-blockers, probably 1% or less of the people that use technology. That’s also why Google isn’t making much efforts to prevent people from blocking ads. If that was the case, ad-blocking would have been impossible in 2022 if there were even 10% of Google users blocking ads.

      3. Happy medium said on September 30, 2022 at 4:46 pm
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        @Allwynd

        I agree with you – most people don’t care and for all the comments here, this issue hasn’t even remotely resonated anywhere near the many Facebook scandals of recent years which had all these technology-obsessed experts predicting the death of that, and what happened? People forgot about it after a while and kept on using it or at worst went to some other social media platform. It’s how life in general plays out, whether you like it or not.

        For all the chatter on these types of sites, this issue hasn’t got anywhere near the mainstream – your comment about if 10 per cent of Google users blocked ads it would have made it impossible to ad block hits the nail right on the head, and I’m surprised no one else considers this.

        For what it’s worth, I use Brave because I like the way it works, it is fast and secure (I’d rather I had peace of mind that I was able to send my details securely to my bank online than worry about the technology that makes it so), and it blocks ads without the need for me to install extensions – ads are all I’m concerned about blocking just because I don’t want to see them and I’m not obsessed over what some organisation knows or doesn’t know about me, because I’m not going to ever see the results of that.

        It might be just me, but I’m happy to see the rest of the site the way its creators intended, images and all – if everything looked the same I wouldn’t bother much with the web.

        Then again I’m just an ordinary user, who uses a computer to get my work done and also get some occasional entertainment (probably the ‘inept’ and ‘stupid’ type someone further up referred to), not the obviously high-value elite targets in this comments section whose every move scares Google and the other mega-rich companies so much that they are personally being kept track of, and their opinions deeply considered at Alphabet’s next board meeting. I hope you all resolve your Manifest version-whatever issues happily without the Mossad or big-technology equivalent coming after you.

  2. Stalin Hat said on September 29, 2022 at 7:40 am
    Reply

    Again, Vivaldi’s adblocker WILL BE affected by Manifestv2 removal, but not in the way an extension is made. Their title is misleading, I don’t understand how “?The Vivaldi Ad Blocker available on desktop and Android and in cars is built on the same internal chromium API that is used by both the Manifest V2 version of webRequest and declarativeNetRequest.”

    doesn’t tell you it will be affected.

    Also, just read the comments from Julien Picalausa (the same Vivaldi author of the post)

    “No, this means that the way things look at the moment, we expect that the Vivaldi inbuilt adblocker will keep all the features it currently has and potentially more, as we have plans to keep expanding on it. We are not subject to the same limitations as extensions in general.”

    They are not even sure! and that’s exactly my point.

    But then, it seems they never cared to make a good adblocker and work with it knowing it was still going to be affected for the way they implemented it.

    “The only reason development on our adblocker have stalled is because I have been a bit too busy with sync as of late.” I mean… they don’t have another person working on it? wow

    “Probably not all of it. If it was just the API itself, it wouldn’t be an issue, but there is underlying code and architecture that need to remain in place to allow keeping the API around. I suspect somethings will be rearchitectured in chromium once Manifest V2 is gone and then those parts of the API will be unmaintainable. webRequest just happens to be in a position where it doesn’t look like the underlying architecture is likely to change.”

    Again, he is not sure what will really happen to Vivaldi’s adblocker.

    Brave already posted in their twitter and like 800 times more how these changes will not affect Brave’s adblocker at all because they built it right into the browser engine, they don’t need WebRequest API or DeclarativeNetRequest.

    That’s how Opera or Vivaldi should have done it, but no, they took the easy path, and now they kind of complain they have to fix things and they now say “we can use uBlock code”.

    That’s mediocre work by Vivaldi and Vivaldi’s 10 fanboys are cheering how amazing Vivaldi’s team is… when it is obvious they didn’t do what they should have done when they knew manifestv3 was coming.
    Unlike Brave that re-made the whole adblocker in RUST and made it truly native, so they can even have CNAME filtering.

    Just a bunch of misinformation on top of more misinformation, and seeing once again talked about it “Vivaldi recently said blabla” it is just annoying, when it is clear they really have no idea what they have to even fix when Manifestv3 takes over, because everything is “hopes” at this point.

    Anyway, It is good news to extend some manifestv2, I still hope adblockers like Brave keep improving and bring the missing features, so people won’t need uBlock or Adguard or extensions support on mobile (since we know it is all about adblocker), it is pretty close unlike Opera and Vivaldi, but still a way to go.

    Best news is how this will affect Firefox’s fanboys dream about “numbers will change because of Manifestv3”

    1. 5 Seasons said on September 29, 2022 at 12:02 pm
      Reply

      Vivaldi is just like some obscure linux distro with way too many tinkering options and way too few developers. Sure, they have some hardcore fanboys who love that stuff, but it’s half-assed and everything is just slapped on “because that’s so cool, look you can change the color of the subtle shadow on the margin separator in the dropdown menu for the sidebars emoji picker dialog!!!” That crap gets old real fast. Vivaldi is not a browser for serious people who need a sturdy, reliable and SANE browser to get their work done.

      1. Trey said on September 29, 2022 at 9:19 pm
        Reply

        @5 Seasons

        Old man screaming at clouds has something to say.

    2. Iron Heart said on September 29, 2022 at 12:11 pm
      Reply

      @Stalin Hat

      The funny thing is, Google was pretty upfront about the fact that the webRequest API is on its way out as part of Manifest V3. So if Vivaldi really used it (partially), then this is indeed really stupid and they have a major rewrite at hand now.

      Even funnier, I am pretty sure they could just fork Brave Shields or Bromite’s adblocker, they are literally open source. No need to reinvent the wheel either.

    3. Cqoicebordel said on October 1, 2022 at 10:46 pm
      Reply

      Their answers is quite clear : AdBlocker in Vivaldi won’t be affected.
      They have build the adblocker in C++, directly in the engine, as they are modifying it.
      Yes it uses the webRequest API, but the publicly available API, like in extensions, but the C++ API, as it is used internally by the engine.
      So what Julien is saying is that Vivaldi won’t be affected, unless Google decide to change their engine that deeply. In that case, no one knows what’ll happen. And it will be exactly the same situation in all other browsers alternatives based on Chromium. And of course they are not sure, nobody knows what Google might do to the engine.

      And yes, he is the only one working on the adblocker. They are ~30 devs total in that team.

      So, to sum up, yeah, the AdBlocker isn’t dependent on the public APIs, but like all others implementations, they are dependent on the engine. And no, the adblocker won’t be affected by Manifest V3

  3. Rick said on September 29, 2022 at 7:41 am
    Reply

    For anyone who missed it, gorhill, of uBO fame, had a very interesting and encouraging post just a week ago on his v3 efforts. It seems less hopeless now, and he’s going to have a long runway in which to work. See:
    https://github.com/uBlockOrigin/uBlock-issues/issues/338#issuecomment-1253893421

    1. m3city said on September 29, 2022 at 9:20 am
      Reply

      @Rick
      Thanks for link.

    2. Simon said on September 29, 2022 at 1:29 pm
      Reply

      Why is Gorhill still banging on about “Does not require ‘Read and change all your data on all websites’ at install time” in the MV3 version of uBlock Origin?

      Nobody is asking for that – it seems like he is deliberately crippling the extension to make some kind of point. Does he really think users want to keep clicking a Sun icon on a per site basis?

      I have no idea what he thinks this stunt will prove, however from a user’s perspective I would be more inclined to ditch uBlock Origin altogether and move to Brave with it’s native built-in content blocker. I’ve never been a fan of using third-party extensions anyway – does anyone even know who Gorhill is in real life, or even what country he lives in?

      1. Ivan Drago said on September 29, 2022 at 2:03 pm
        Reply

        “what country he lives in?”
        You just made a fool of yourself. Yeah, he must be CHINESE! Or RUSSIAN! Or at least, he must HATE ‘MURICA!!!!
        The man is american and has provided the planet with a fantastic, FREE extension for years, and here you are spreading garbage from the high saddle of your mighty patriot stallion.
        Gorhill doesn’t have to provide a new Manifest V3 compliant extension, but he wants to TRY. What have you done to improve peoples lives lately..?

      2. Simon said on September 29, 2022 at 2:26 pm
        Reply

        1) Why do you assume everything is about America?

        2) What is your source that he lives in America?

      3. nicolaasjan said on September 30, 2022 at 6:41 am
        Reply

        > does anyone even know who Gorhill is in real life, or even what country he lives in?

        He’s from Canada / Quebec.
        [https://github.com/gorhill]

      4. wolajif541@cebaike.com said on October 1, 2022 at 5:43 pm
        Reply

        @Simon You’re barking the wrong tree. It’s completely relevant because Google’s prose when they proposed the change to MV3 is all about “privacy & security”. One of which by restricting the extension permissions only at runtime. If an extension can still use persistent permissions that supposed to be restricted then that’s a huge problem and completely defeat the promised purposes of MV3.

  4. Yash said on September 29, 2022 at 8:55 am
    Reply

    That’s twice now Google had to backtrack from their enforced changes. First one was a goofy project which would group users to eliminate third party cookie reliance. Remember folks security warnings and other nonsense created by companies like Google are a lie. Only thing they want is to reduce functionality for users to increase their profit. Changes in the name of security or for childrens are always a lie.

  5. ChromeFan said on September 29, 2022 at 10:37 am
    Reply

    No I won’t be affected, as I don’t use any ad blockers. Ad blockers shouldn’t exist. They are predatory, and harmful to the open web. Only Google seems to care. Shame!

    When manifest v3 is released, we will finally see extensions that have no use in todays society (ad blockers) to be severely crippled, and essentially rendered useless.

    No one is going to be switching browsers because of manifest v3. Especially to washed up browsers where the only people that use it are fanboys.

    The home of private conscious individuals lies in Chrome and its Chromium based browsers. Long may this ‘monopoly’ continue.

    1. Claymore said on September 29, 2022 at 10:56 am
      Reply

      @ChromeFan: That’s strong sarcasm here :).

  6. Fact Checker 2299 said on September 29, 2022 at 11:12 am
    Reply

    The idea/argument that removing MV2 as a security improvement does not really apply to tech savvy people that do not use privacy invading, non-FOSS, or insecure extensions.

    Now will MV3 be a security improvement people for some people? Yes.

    Thankfully Mozilla respects user choice with allowing Manifest V2 extensions to be supported in the browser, unlike Google the ad-tech company exercising their CONTROL over the chromium-codebase by giving dates on when they say they will not be supporting MV2 in the chromium-codebase anymore. That is what happens when one company has great control over a project, Chromium-project is a google thing.

    Noscript extension is better than the simple dumbed down built-in ad-blockers in Brave or Vivaldi that can not Block/Unblock Javascript like Noscript can.

    Many people that say they use Browsers like Brave or Vivaldi… seem to have a very snobby attitude because those browser have built-in ad-blockers? So what? They are still inferior compared to certain extensions. And just LOL at those people that say Firefox has no built in ad blocker? What difference does it make when all one has to do to install powerful privacy extensions is just go to mozilla addons website where there are loads of recommenfded privacy extensions that are safe to install and use.

    Noscript can block Javascript in a more advanced way. Basic built in ad-blockers are just domain blockers really, not advanced Javascript blockers like Noscript.

    Also UBO is better, more versatile than the basic built in ad blocker in Brave, because UBO is more well designed and has more options in its User Interface, also UBO works better with Firefox.

    Brave shields have no per-script MENU controls to block scripts like UBO does, as for Noscript? Brave shields is way too basic/inferior and does not even compare.

    – Firefox is better than Brave.

    – Firefox is better than Vivaldi.

    – Gecko is better than Chromium.

    @Chromium-based browser users that like MV3 and talk crap about Mozilla and Firefox? Keep up the bitching, keep making excuses for Google in how they limit extensions, and keep using the chromium-based browsers like Brave and foolishly believing that it can be more private than Hardened Firefox or Librewolf. Lol. Brave browser can not even spoof screen resolution lol.

    Lol at ChromeFan > The home of private conscious individuals lies in Chrome and its Chromium based browsers. Long may this ‘monopoly’ continue.

    Thanks for the laugh.

  7. Mizuno said on September 29, 2022 at 11:52 am
    Reply

    This is because of posts on reddit etc where “It’s time to ditch Chrome” has really blown up. Google really underestimated people, and in turn extremely overestimated their own position/importance. This is entertaining to watch, when big companies have to squirm like the greedy maggots they are. Too late Google, the ball is rolling..many people that were clueless before, now know and have already ditched your ad-revenue collecting program you call a web browser. No one on the planet wants to see ads, and I think Youtubers are already rich enough. I mean come on, a guy in his 20’s that talks about soccer cleats has a dozen sports cars already.. Am I jealous? Not really. Is it fair in proportion to his “work”? Absolutely not. And I won’t use a browser that contributes to this.

  8. Andy Prough said on September 29, 2022 at 5:10 pm
    Reply

    I’m glad to see that the Google engineers are crowding around their one Chromebook each morning and reading my Ghacks comments. I told them they should increase their security vulnerabilities to nearly 100 per month, and this month they already cranked it up to 56 security flaws.

    And I told them that there will be a mass exodus of users once they destroy their extension ecosystem, and now in a panic they are moving that manifest v2 deadline back as fast as they can.

    I’m like the Nostradamus of the Google Apocalypse.

  9. Bulbasaur said on September 29, 2022 at 6:35 pm
    Reply

    There’s also the malware aspect to consider. Adblockers have blocked more malware than all AV programs combined in recent years.

  10. Shadow_Death said on September 30, 2022 at 6:40 am
    Reply

    Sounds like someone said, “Hey we’re about to lose a bunch of people to Firefox.”

  11. Jim said on September 30, 2022 at 7:54 am
    Reply

    I switched to Firefox when news of this first came out. The only device left that I use chrome on is my Chromebook which will be replaced with a Windows laptop before the end of this year.

  12. Leo said on September 30, 2022 at 2:52 pm
    Reply

    It appears that Chrome has finally realized that the have engineered a square wheel. A bumpy ride postponed but inevitable.

  13. Anonymous said on September 30, 2022 at 4:30 pm
    Reply

    More time for Mozilla to “identify an alternative” to the manifest v2 blocking webrequest.

  14. Liman said on September 30, 2022 at 8:43 pm
    Reply

    I don’t really get it. Why is google switching to manifest 3? What benefit does it give users and developers that warrant moving from 2 to 3?

    1. Iron Heart said on October 1, 2022 at 7:46 am
      Reply

      @Liman

      Main positive argument for Manifest V3 would be that extensions lose the ability to monitor all your connections and change their ultimate destination (which is what the webRequest API of Manifest V2 allows). This is used by adblockers for good, however malicious extensions can use this capability to spy on all your connections and to redirect you to malware-laden websites. Manifest V3 changes how adblocking works; the extension now “hands” its rules to the browser and the browser then does the blocking itself according to those rules, so the extension no longer needs to see any connections.

      This is a very good idea on paper, however, Google decided to add additional restrictions like an upper rule limit for filters, meaning that adblockers can potentially no longer block all ads when they hit this upper rule limit (contrary to the unlimited rules that are possible now). This restriction seems to be motivated by Google’s ad business interests rather than user security.

      Some browsers like Brave or Bromite react to this by having their internal adblockers which are not extensions and thus unaffected by Manifest V3, other browsers have no such internal adblocker and will only have mediocre adblocking going forward (Chrome, Edge for example).

      Hope this explains it a bit for you.

  15. Rex said on October 1, 2022 at 6:54 pm
    Reply

    *grabs popcorn*
    Yeah, do go on while I watch you from Pale Moon, completely unaffected by all of this.

    1. Anonymous said on October 1, 2022 at 7:47 pm
      Reply

      > Pale Meme

      lol

  16. Jerry7 said on October 5, 2022 at 8:38 am
    Reply

    I use Pale Moon, as well, bit if they throw in the towel for whatever reason, we are screwed the same as everybody else. No nMatrix, uMatrix is not nice for me.

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