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Chrome update will limit ad blocking to enterprise users

(Image credit: Image Credit: Earl Jeffson / Flickr)

Google is changing the way extensions work in its Chrome browser, which could spell doom for ad blockers.

Services such as uBlock will be affected by the ban, as they use the webRequest programming interface (API), which stops advertising content before it is even downloaded to the device - different to other tools like AdBlock.

In a proposed set of changes Google calls Manifest V3, the company said it will stop extensions on private devices from controlling the API. It will remain available for corporate users. In other words – you’ll need to pay to use it.

Chrome is deprecating the blocking capabilities of the webRequest API in Manifest V3, not the entire webRequest API (though blocking will still be available to enterprise deployments),” Google said.

These changes were first proposed in January, to the outcry of the entire userbase. However, it seems as Google won’t change its stance. uBlock Origin developer Raymond Hill discussed the new changes with The Register and said they came as no surprise: ad blocking doesn’t sit well with Google’s search engine business.

"This breaks uBlock Origin and uMatrix, [which] are incompatible with the basic matching algorithm [Google] picked, ostensibly designed to enforce EasyList-like filter lists," he explained in an email to The Register.

"A blocking webRequest API allows open-ended content blocker designs, not restricted to a specific design and limits dictated by the same company which states that content blockers are a threat to its business."

Image Credit: Earl Jeffson / Flickr