Google delays Chrome Manifest V3 rollout once again

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 13, 2022
Google Chrome extensions
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Google's initial plan to start Manifest V3 experiments in several versions of its Chrome web browser have been postponed again by the company.

adguard chrome manifest v3

An update from December 9, 2022 on the Manifest V2 support timeline confirms that Google is pausing Manifest V2 phase-out changes.

Google has been working on the transition from Manifest V2 to V3 for years. The Manifest defines capabilities of browser extensions. It is essential, as it determines what extensions for Chrome can and can't do. Changes made to the Manifest may impact thousands of extensions.

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Google claimed that Manifest V2 could be abused by malicious and shady extension developers and that they could impact the performance of the browser. The reworked set of APIs of Manifest V3 would do away with these limitations, according to the search giant. Google changed certain capabilities, including an important network API that was used by content blockers, privacy tools and other extensions.

The company's plans were criticized heavily, by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and by extension creators such as Raymond Hill, known for his extension uBlock Origin. Google modified Manifest V3 several times since the initial draft to meet more use cases, but did not fully address all concerns.

Some browser makers have announced plans to keep the old functionality in their browsers, while others plan to follow Google's lead on the change. Mozilla, maker of Firefox, plans to keep the relevant Manifest V2 capabilities enabled so that extensions can continue using them. Brave, Vivaldi and several other makers of browsers with integrated ad-blockers confirmed that their content blockers remain functional, even after the changes go live in stable versions of Chromium.

All browsers will support Manifest V3, however.

Chromium is the source of most browsers that are available today. Besides Google Chrome, Chromium powers Microsoft's web browser Edge, and dozens of other browsers, including Brave, Vivaldi and Opera, which we cover regularly here on Ghacks Technology News.

Back in September 2022, it became clear that some Manifest V3 APIs were not even ready at the time. A huge problem for extension developers who needed time to port their extensions to the new version of the Manifest.

Google's plan at the time was to enforce the use of Manifest V3 extensions by blocking Manifest V2 completely. The company has since then postponed the cut, so that Manifest V2 extensions continue to be supported in Chrome until at least January 2024.

The main issue right now that caused the postponing is caused by another API. The switch from using persistent background pages to Service Workers is giving extension developers whose extensions use the functionality headaches.

One bug causes Service Workers to unexpectedly shut down and die, another that Service Workers are being shut down forcibly after 5 minutes.

To address these issues, Google announced that it will postpone the changes that it had planed.

"For this reason, we’re postponing any January experiments to turn off Manifest V2 in pre-release channels of Chrome and changes to the featured badge in the Chrome Webstore, and we'll be evaluating all downstream milestones as well."

In other words: pre-release Chrome channels continue to support Manifest V2 extensions after January 2023. Google has yet to post an updated timeline regarding these changes.

Statistics by Chrome Stats suggest that less than 18% of Chrome extensions have been posted to Manifest V3 at the time of writing (via The Register)

Now You: any of your extensions affected by Manifest V3 negatively?

Summary
Google delays Chrome Manifest V3 rollout once again
Article Name
Google delays Chrome Manifest V3 rollout once again
Description
Google's initial plan to start Manifest V3 experiments in several versions of its Chrome web browser have been postponed again by the company.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. Benjamin said on December 13, 2022 at 8:01 am
    Reply

    Understood that there is only 1 side able to decide what shall be done. There is no transparency, no public opinion, no public decision making, no votes, no nothing. It is a typical liberalised free market dictatorship free of any public rights

    1. Guest said on December 13, 2022 at 1:15 pm
      Reply

      In my public opinion I will be using Firefox.

      1. nuffsaid said on December 13, 2022 at 2:32 pm
        Reply

        @Guest
        don’t tell the firefoxphobic people, they are already rustled as is

      2. Iron Heart said on December 14, 2022 at 8:31 am
        Reply

        “Guest” has been using Firefox for ages, I can tell from the nickname. It’s yet another undeclared Firefox advertisement.

        News flash: Nobody gives much of a shit. 4% market share is gonna 4% market share no matter what Google does.

      3. Andy Prough said on December 14, 2022 at 5:47 pm
        Reply

        >”News flash: Nobody gives much of a shit.”

        Except for Brave fans who desperately want their favorite browser to get as big as 4% by stealing Firefox’s users, and so show up on every article and badmouth Firefox. Those people care. Not that we know any of them.

      4. Iron Heart said on December 14, 2022 at 7:05 pm
        Reply

        @Andy Prough

        > Except for Brave fans who desperately want their favorite browser to get as big as 4% by stealing Firefox’s users, and so show up on every article and badmouth Firefox. Those people care.

        I don’t think we are under a Firefox-related article here, are we? Stop the advertising in disguise, it just comes across as pathetic and leads nowhere.

    2. John B said on December 13, 2022 at 8:28 pm
      Reply

      Liberal means free; that isn’t “liberal”, it’s fascist.

  2. Carl said on December 13, 2022 at 8:39 am
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    More likely Google/Alphabet are getting worried about various government investigations into their monopolistic behaviour in too many aspects of the average person’s use of the Internet…

  3. nealis said on December 13, 2022 at 9:13 am
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    With the amount of complaining I see from tech enthusiast sites about manifest V3, I wonder if people will follow through on their threats to switch to Firefox. Probably not b/c changing browsers is a hassle

  4. Gavin B said on December 13, 2022 at 9:56 am
    Reply

    More detail on this over at ElReg
    https://www.theregister.com/2022/12/12/google_v3_chrome_extension/
    QUOTE:
    MV3 does away with persistent background scripts, which were deemed to be too resource intensive. In their place, Google offered Service Workers, scripts that run briefly then shut down. But presently, Service Workers in Chrome extensions sometimes shut down and cannot be revived.

    A similar issue – Service Workers being forcibly shut down after five minutes – has been an open bug report since November, 2020. Developers commenting on this issue have repeatedly criticized Google for failing to make MV3 functional enough to port their extensions.
    UNQUOTE

    1. Anonymous said on December 13, 2022 at 11:20 am
      Reply

      I see, so that’s why my extension sometimes stopped working in background. Reverting to background pages is hassle, I hope they can fix it faster.

  5. user17843 said on December 13, 2022 at 10:19 am
    Reply

    It’s just google testing the waters. They know that their product loses attractivity when 80% of extensions stop working.

    Everyone who made their extension v3-ready is part of the problem here. Those are likely commercial entities, who depend on their extension to work in the future, including AdGuard.

    The ironic thing is that being opportunistic can harm AdGuard here as well in the longterm. Manifest v4 may destroy adblocking alltogether.

    But it’s important to also realize that v3 is not primarily about blocking ad-blockers. Adblockers will continue to work, and will continue to cost google money. You can bet most of the google devs use uBO themselves. They don’t want it to go away. They simply want to reduce the number of people who sit in the ivory tower.

    The primary goal of v3 is to reduce the overall control of the users and put it into the hands of google. It’s part of the strategy to undo the changes the internet did to the consumption of information.

    The idea is to turn the internet into what TV originally was – absolute control by the content provider, zero control by the user who just passively consumes everything.

    It also shouldn’t be ignored that part of v3 is simply incompetence on the side of those who are tasked with implementing it. It’s a massive task, and most of the genius developers who built the internet in the 90s are already gone. Working on google these days simply means doing what someone else told you and doing it in the slowest way possible.

  6. upp said on December 13, 2022 at 1:57 pm
    Reply

    Cheap move, and MV3 isn’t even their trump card, they still have WebPackages, First Party Sets to destroy adblock and privacy.

    1. ShintoPlasm said on December 13, 2022 at 3:53 pm
      Reply

      Do you mean Web Bundles?

      1. upp said on December 13, 2022 at 5:01 pm
        Reply

        Yeah, it’s.

  7. Andy Prough said on December 13, 2022 at 3:57 pm
    Reply

    >”All browsers will support Manifest V3, however.”

    To be fair, Pale Moon will not support it, as it was forked from Firefox years ago prior to MV2 and WebExtensions.

    And many other browsers that never followed Chrome or Firefox development won’t support it, such as Netsurf, Badwolf, Luakit, etc.

  8. Pierre said on December 13, 2022 at 6:09 pm
    Reply

    Yes, Ublock Origin, of course
    Thks for the article

  9. coakl said on December 13, 2022 at 11:49 pm
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    Don’t forget the current focus on cutting costs and staff among tech companies. That is the New Normal, and Google isn’t exempt. They haven’t announced their ‘thousands of layoffs’ yet; Pichai’s probably saving that news for 2023.

    That means: Manifest V3 *will* come out sooner or later. And there will be fewer Google workers to address the bugs and crashes from V3.

    Certainly, there will be far less sympathy from the remaining Google staff for the content blockers. If you just watched your co-workers become unemployed, you’re not going to worry much about the ad-blocking folks getting a free ride on sites and Youtube.

    1. CapObv said on December 14, 2022 at 8:39 am
      Reply

      >Certainly, there will be far less sympathy from the remaining Google staff for the content blockers. If you just watched your co-workers become unemployed, you’re not going to worry much about the ad-blocking folks getting a free ride on sites and Youtube.

      It’s a false correlation (although Google would be happy if employees thought that way). Google is one of the richest companies in the world, and their revenues in 2021 are at an all-time high. Users’ use of ad blockers doesn’t bankrupt them, it only reduces the size of their already fabulous profits. So the layoffs aren’t at all because Google doesn’t have enough money from ad to pay the workers it is now laying off.

  10. Anonymous said on December 13, 2022 at 11:54 pm
    Reply

    They should abandon this foolishness and continue with version 2. Google isn’t interested in addressing any issues; therefore, it still fails.

  11. fu fu said on December 14, 2022 at 8:24 am
    Reply

    “I will be back”. Period.

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