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Chrome's contentious new extension platform will launch in 2023

Chrome's new extension platform, Manifest V3, has been in development at Google for some time. There is now a set date for its release. The company may begin disabling Manifest V2 support in the Canary, Dev, and Beta channels beginning with Chrome 112 in January 2023. Chrome 115, released in June, will mark the start of experimental deprecation in the stable channel.

At the same time that Chrome stable is upgraded to V3, all Manifest V2 extensions in the Chrome Web Store will be made invisible. As of January 1, 2024, all remaining V2 extensions will be deprecated.

The change, however, has not been without criticism. Many of the changes included in Manifest V3, which Google claims are for the sake of privacy and security, have been met with criticism, with particular focus on the potential impact on ad blockers. That would make them nearly useless because it would stop them from functioning as they do now.

uBlock Origin and AdGuard are just two of many modern ad blockers that use Chrome's "webRequest" API to prevent certain types of HTTP requests from being made. However, Google would rather not have to deal with the potential delays in load and render times that this approach can cause. Instead, Manifest V3 mandates the use of a declarativeNetRequest, effectively requiring developers to employ a blacklist of predetermined URLs. The difficulty is that there is only room for 30,000 "rules" in that list. In addition, it's not uncommon for ad-blocking lists to have more than 300,000 entries.

As a consolation, Manifest V2 extensions for business users will be supported until January 2024.