Google Chrome Planning API Changes That May Disable Ad Blockers

Google Chrome

Claims the changes are about page speed, security, and user privacy; critics don’t buy it

Google is inducing changes to Chromium, the software behind the Chrome browser and soon Microsoft Edge too, to create stronger security, privacy, and performance. Quoting Google, ”They will include “more narrowly-scoped and declarative APIs, to decrease the need for overly-broad access and enable more performing implementation by the browser, while preserving important functionality.” The changes are largely technical and apply to Chrome extensions generally; but, one practical impact would be that it will disable most ad blockers. In layman terms, Google believes these changes will help to speed up page load times and make the browser more secure.

But the industry is not buying it easily. Critics are expressing alarm on the impact of these changes on privacy and data security. These extensions will reduce the filtering capacity, and the risk will be that the filtering capabilities behind Adblock Plus will apparently survive. Right now, Adblock Plus allows third parties to enable their ads to bypass blocking, and pay Google for this capability.

Even if Google modifies its changes after the hue and cry, it is still likely that many of the ad blockers won’t work after the extensive modifications. While marketers will undoubtedly welcome the move to limit ad blocking, it will send out signals that Google is prioritizing revenue over the user experience.