Google dominates search engines and it also dominates the browser market with Chrome occupying 90% of the machines in the world. And Google’s only business model is advertising. And it’s an open secret that he happily uses his browser’s personal data to power his ad targeting and a protocol that is necessary to develop the extensions will allow him to knock out all ad blockers.
Understanding Chrome Manifest V3
According to Google, an extension manifest gives the browser information about the extension, such as the most important files and the features the extension can use. Extension platform functionality changes when there is a new version of the manifest.
All Chrome extensions use the Manifest. Currently, we are at version 2 which offers great freedom to developers. And this freedom is necessary, because advertising uses more and more pernicious means to target you. Google can impose its Manifest V3, because it is the main developer of Chromium, the open source browser behind Chrome. As of January 17, 2022 Chrome no longer accepts V2 extensions and from January 1, 2023 only extensions with Manifest V2 will be allowed and older versions of extensions will stop working.
Why is this crap?
Google is a champion newspeaker and it tells us that Manifest V3 will improve privacy and security. This is to block extensions that are malicious or access too much browser data. Well, we could tell him that the main extension, vacuum cleaner of personal data, is called Chrome, but I would scoff…
What alternatives for Chrome?
Even though Chrome is essentially a browser monopolist, it’s no longer the only sheriff in town.. In recent years, there are 3 browsers that have become more than interesting alternatives.
- firefox – Obviously, the first choice is Firefox which is Open Source and even if Mozilla announced that it would support Manifest V3, it would keep compatibility with V2.
- Vivaldi – We don’t talk about Vivaldi enough, but it’s an excellent Chromium-based browser. And the developers announced that he would keep Manifest V2 as much as possible. Vivaldi is packed with features like an email reader, RSS feed reader, calendar, and more. In fact, it seems a bit too feature-packed for people who just want to surf the web.
- Brave – Brave has been embraced by many as a replacement for Chrome. It’s as fast as Chrome and its ad blocking is good enough for the majority. Brave has chosen cryptocurrency-based monetization, which can be interesting.
Regarding ad blockers, uBlock Origin offers a variant called uBO Minus with the Minuses meaning it is much less powerful than its big brother. Thus, we will not be able to create our own filters or hide elements on a web page. Clear, it is completely neutralized with respect to its original objective.
Personally, I’ve been shuttling between Chrome, Firefox, and sometimes Brave for years. But I think to give a good place to Brave in the next months. Ultimately, Google’s dominance with Chrome comes from its users. If you start using real alternatives, then he will have to negotiate with us, whereas at the moment we are mainly advertising cash cows.