Google Delays Manifest V3 Again
Written by Ian Elliot   
Tuesday, 13 December 2022

Google has again revised the timetable for the transition of Chrome extensions from Manifest V2 to Manifest V3. Dubbed the "adblocker killer", Manifest V3 is Google's solution to issues of web security and privacy, but has been repeatedly delayed by both technical and political issues.

As we reported in September, when Google last posted a timeline for phasing out Manifest V2, both extension developers and end users are opposed to the introduction of Manifest V3 because of the way in which it will suppress ad blockers in Chrome. At that time Google announced a more gradual and experimental approach to adopting V2 and provided extra time to do so. Now that the first date in its proposed timeline is fast approaching Google has revised the transition, introducing a further postponement without new dates being specified. 

manifestv2revised

In his communication to Chrome Extension developers about the revised timetable, Simeon Vincent write:

 Expect to hear more about the updated phase-out plan and schedule by March of 2023. Our guiding principle will be to give developers sufficient time to update and test their extensions after the launch of these new capabilities before turning off Manifest V2.

According to Vincent the postponemt has been made in response to developer feedback about two issues caused by the migration from Manifest V2 to V3:

specifically the service worker’s inability to use DOM capabilities and the current hard limit on extension service worker lifetimes.

He states:

We’re mitigating the former with the Offscreen Documents API (added in Chrome 109) and are actively pursuing a solution to the latter.

By way of background, one of the controversial changes in Manifest V3 is turning off an extension's ability to launch a hidden background page due to background processing. Google wants all background processing to happen in service workers and it is the switch from using persistent background pages to Service Workers change that developers find problematic and Google needs time to fix. One bug is reported to cause Service Workers to unexpectedly shut down while another means that Service Workers are being shut down forcibly after five minutes.

Interestingly there is no reference to the other controversial aspect of Manifest V3, namely filtering add-ons and eliminating the WebRequest API which impact ad blockers. Google has already made some concession in this respect with a new API that allows for a limited list of URL blocking, but this is a static list that accommodates only 30,000 URLs. 

  • Ian Elliot is the author of several JavaScript books including JavaScript Async which covers service workers.

 

manifestsq

More Information

Pausing Manifest V2 phase-out changes

Manifest V2 support timeline

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