1701605188 Under the guise of taking care of Chrome users Google
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Under the guise of taking care of Chrome users, Google will step up its fight against ad blockers

Google is making adjustments to its guidelines for using extensions for the Chrome web browser. These changes could make it significantly more difficult for ad blockers to function, particularly on YouTube. Google’s strategy is to move from the Manifest V2 extension platform to Manifest V3, which blocks the usual update paths for ad blockers and thereby strengthens Google’s control over advertising policies on YouTube.

    Image source: MIH83 / Pixabay

Image source: MIH83 / Pixabay

As part of the fight against ad blockers, Google has already taken various measures, including blocking video playback with the suggestion of disabling the ad blocker. Additionally, a delay in loading videos has been introduced when a blocker is detected. These measures have led to an increase in the removal of such extensions. Now Google wants to target Chrome extension developers more specifically.

The current Manifest V2 platform allows developers to quickly update their web browser extensions. However, with the mandatory transition to Manifest V3 in June 2024, new restrictions are expected to include a full review process for each update before its approval. Ad blockers that rely on refresh rates to adapt to changes in YouTube’s advertising system will struggle. The new review process will slow updates and give YouTube the opportunity to adapt to new methods of blocking ads.

    Image source: TechSpot

Image source: TechSpot

In addition, there are other features in Manifest V3 that make it difficult for ad blockers to work. At the same time, Google itself states that the new platform is intended to increase the protection of user data. According to Krzysztof Modras, director of product and engineering at Ghostery, Google is increasing its efforts in the fight against ad blockers. Due to frequent changes in YouTube’s advertising system, developers need to update blacklists daily. The FAQ for the popular ad blocker uBlock Origin notes that changes to YouTube’s detection scripts require regular filter updates, which can delay ad blocking. The introduction of a new validation policy in Manifest V3 means that filters may take significantly longer to update. Google is able to slow down the extension review process, which allows YouTube to stay ahead in this race.

Users who are used to using ad blockers on YouTube may encounter difficulties with the introduction of Manifest V3. You may look for alternatives in other browsers such as Mozilla’s Firefox, which does not require Manifest V3. Google appears willing to accept that some users choose to view ads or pay $13.99 per month for a YouTube Premium subscription.

Alternatively, you can consider ad blockers that work at the operating system level. For example, AdGuard, which removes YouTube ads, was only affected by the recent changes for a short time. The premium version, which costs less than $30 per year, offers ad blocking on YouTube, which is cheaper compared to the $14 monthly subscription. A lifetime license is also offered for $80.

In doing so, Google is strengthening its position in the fight against ad blockers, tightening control over extension updates and potentially restricting user choice in favor of its commercial interests. This strategy could change the landscape of ad blocker use, forcing users to find new ways to get rid of ads.

About the author

Robbie Elmers

Robbie Elmers is a staff writer for Tech News Space, covering software, applications and services.

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