Unlike other browser makers which have decided to ignore Google’s Manifest V3 changes, Microsoft has now decided to implement them in the extensions system of its Chromium-based Edge browser.
First announced in October of 2018, Manifest V3 is a set of changes to the Chromium open-source browser engine and the WebExtensions API that updates the way in which browser extensions work with Chrome, Brave, Opera, Vivaldi, Edge and other Chromium-based browsers.
Back when Google first announced the changes it proposed under Manifest V3, the search giant said that its goal in doing so was to improve the security and performance of extensions while also giving users more control over what extensions can do and which sites they interact with. Extension developers quickly fired back with concerns that the Manifest V3 updates contained other changes that would render ad blockers, antivirus software, parental control software and other privacy-focused extensions ineffective.
There was also backlash from users and even browser makers who saw the move as a means for Google to tighten its grip on ad blockers which effectively hurt its main business, online advertising. At the same time, Opera, Brave and Vivaldi all announced that they would ignore the Manifest V3 updates so that their users could continue using ad blockers.
Implementing Manifest V3 changes
As a result of the criticism it faced over Manifest V3, Google has since backtracked on some of the changes it wanted to make to how Chromium handles extensions. However, the Manifest V3 changes have now begun rolling out in Chrome, though ad blocker developers are still worried their products will no longer work effectively once these changes come to stable versions of the browser.
The preview/alpha for Manifest V3 in Chrome began in October of last year and the search giant plans to bring these changes to the stable version of Chrome this year. These changes have now also made their way into Microsoft’s new Chromium-based Edge browser where they are already live in beta and stable releases.
According to the Microsoft Edge Team, these changes won’t make ad blockers ineffective in its browser. The software giant reassured extension developers that this was the case in a blog post, saying:
“We believe that these changes will not compromise the capabilities of your extension or reduce the potential that the extension ecosystem has. These changes should reduce the time taken to review each submission, and improve certification turnaround time, thus reducing the overall cost of developing and maintaining extensions. We recognize the value of content blocking extensions and appreciate the role they play in honoring user’s choice by blocking advertisements and enhancing privacy by blocking cookies and we want developers to continue to offer these capabilities.”