There’s a growing split over how much room browsers should leave for ad blocking and chrome and firefox have ended up on opposite sides of the fight. The rupture centers on an attribute called web request commonly used in ad blockers and crucial for any system that looks to block off a domain wholesale.
Google has long had security concerns about web request and has worked to cut it out of the most current extension standard called manifest V3, or MV3 for short. But in a recent blog post Mozilla made clear that firefox will uphold support for web request keeping the door open for the most complicated forms of ad blocking.
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Google’s strategy has been severely criticized by privacy advocates the electronic frontier foundation has been a vocal challenger but the search agency hasn’t been swayed. Though firefox has a far smaller share of the desktop market place than chrome it could be a chance for Mozilla’s product to really define itself.
For Google though sticking with MV3 will have a huge impact on the overall role of ad blocking on the modern web. The changes in manifest file which defines the permissions capabilities and system resources that any extension can use. It’s possible that firefox stance on ad blocking will encourage more users to switch to the browser which is recently estimated to make up less than 8 percent of the desktop browser market compared to chrome’s 67 percent.
Once manifest V2 support ends in June 2023 changes in functionality will become more detectable to users of any chromium based browser. Until then Mozilla will be patiently making the case for privacy even if sometimes you’ll have to look for it deep in a specialist blog.