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Chrome May Get Faster Ad Blocking While Breaking uBlock Origin



Ad blocking uBlock Origin "can no longer exist" Chromium's bug tracker.

As spotted by The Registers, Google engineers are proposing this change in the Chromium project's bug tracker. Chromium is the open source browser for Google Chrome, Opera, and soon Microsoft Edge.

Do not worry, though: This will not break ad blockers whatsoever. Instead, Google engineers are taking away from browser extensions. Right now, ad blockers and other extensions use the "webRequest" API to list events during web page loads and block them.

If the proposed change goes through, extensions will not be able to block events with this API. Extensions can only be completed, and that should speed up page load times.

Ad blockers must use the "declarativeNetRequest" API to tell Chrome what they want to block. Chrome itself does not want to be blocked, and this should be faster. However, declarativeNetRequest uses Adblock Plus-style filtering system.

Raymond Hill notes that if this change goes through, ad blocker uBlock can not do anything special:

If this (quite limited) declarativeNetRequest API uBlock Origin ("uBO") and uMatrix, can no longer exist.

Beside causing uBO and The proposed declarativeNetRequest API wants to make it impossible to come up with new and novel filtering engine designs, as the declarative NetRequest API is no more than the implementation of a specific filtering engine, and a rather limited one (the 30,000 limit is not sufficient to enforce the famous EasyList alone).

Even Hill notes that ad blockers are not going away if this goes through. This change may speed up Chrome by limiting what all browser extensions can-ad blocking extensions and other extensions. Chrome wants to be similar to Apple's Safari browser, which now supports "content blockers" that operate in a speedy, standard way.

It's a tradeoff. Browser extensions like uBlock Origin can no longer implement their own filtering engine, but the filtering engine wants to be a speedy one built into Chrome itself. The whole industry has been moving towards more limited browser extensions. Despite being afraid of some people, Google is not using this as an opportunity to kill off ad blockers.


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