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Monday, Jul 22, 2019

Google Chrome will soon feature a blocker for ad-blockers

Google Chrome may soon block third-party ad blocking extensions

tech Updated: Jan 23, 2019 18:50 IST
Kul Bhushan
Kul Bhushan
Hindustan Times
Google hopes the next update will improve user safety
Google hopes the next update will improve user safety (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Google may make a big update to its Chrome browser on how it handles content-blocking extensions but it may have a big impact on third-party ad blocking extensions as well.

The idea behind the radical change is believed to be growing incidents of Chrome extensions breaching users’ privacy, injecting ads and even mining cryptocurrencies in some cases. The update, however, could also mean banning of several third-party ad blocking extensions, reported Android Police.

The changes will be made to the next manifest version that is usually used to determine what APIs extensions can or cannot use. The update will come after a period of roughly three years.

Raymond Hill, who is the developer of popular extensions such as uBlock Origin and uMatrix, said the new update could make things more complex.

“Beside causing uBO and uMatrix to no longer be able to exist, it’s really concerning that the proposed declarativeNetRequest API will make it impossible to come up with new and novel filtering engine designs, as the declarativeNetRequest API is no more than the implementation of one specific filtering engine, and a rather limited one (the 30,000 limit is not sufficient to enforce the famous EasyList alone),” he wrote on Chromium forum.

“Key portions of uBlock Origin and all of uMatrix use a different matching algorithm than that of the declarativeNetRequest API. Block/allow rules are enforced according to their *specificity*, whereas block/allow rules can override each others with no limit. This cannot be translated into a declarativeNetRequest API (assuming a 30,000 entries limit would not be a crippling limitation in itself),” he added.

Google vs browser ads

Google Chrome’s previous versions have focused on improving experience by removing bad ads. For instance, version 71 blocks with “persistent abusive experiences.” In fact, Google has also been improving its built-in ad blocker which can detect and block ads with ‘abusive behaviour.’

Google defines “abusive ads” as the content that resembles “chat apps, warnings, system dialogs, or other notifications that lead to an ad or landing page when clicked.”

It also considers page features such as scroll bars, play buttons, “next” arrows, close buttons, or navigation links that lead to an ad or landing page when clicked as abusive experiences.


First Published: Jan 23, 2019 18:28 IST

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