Google’s Stand Against Ad-Blocking API Could Pose New Challenges And Opportunities For Other Popular Browsers

Google recently took a stand against ad-blockers. Although its decision to render ad-blockers in Google Chrome largely ineffective is still far from implementation, the search giant has clearly indicated its intentions. In fact, Google is actively developing a new manifest for all popular extensions that are compatible with Google Chrome.

This manifest will essentially lay out the rules about the capabilities of the extensions. Although the manifest isn’t finalized yet, some of the rules significantly impact the effectiveness of ad-blockers. Incidentally, Google is looking to replace a critical API that most of the popular ad-blockers for Google Chrome rely on to strip ads from a website. The new API has severely curtailed capabilities, including the inability to use reliable lists of ad networks for ad-blocking. Moreover, the new API has a limit for the number of blocking rules. Google has set it at 30,000, whereas the majority of the blocking lists start at more than double this number.

Google Chrome is based on the Chromium code base. Hence any core changes to API will impact all browsers that depend on this code base. In other words, Chromium-based web browsers such as Vivaldi, Opera, Brave, or the new Microsoft Edge browser as well, will be impacted.

Interestingly, several popular browsers and developers of ad-blockers are already searching for alternate techniques to offer effective ad-blocking to end users. However, if the new API is implemented, these ad-blockers will only be able to strip the webpage of ads after they are loaded. The previous API code allowed stripping off the ads before they are loaded.

While the new API will have a sweeping impact, it won’t affect browsers that implement their own ad-blocking technologies. The most popular web browsers with inbuilt ad-blocking capabilities include Brave and Opera. Moreover, companies that make browsers are evaluating the possibility of retaining the old API. Incidentally, Mozilla does not depend on the Chromium code base, and the Firefox browser enjoys support from a large developer base. Hence web surfers do have a choice in case Google remains adamant.

Alap Naik Desai
A B.Tech Plastics (UDCT) and a Windows enthusiast. Optimizing the OS, exploring software, searching and deploying solutions to strange and weird issues is Alap's main interest.