Google to Limit Chrome Feature Used by Ad Blockers

From PC Mag: Google is sticking with a plan that critics fear will cripple ad-blocking extensions on Chrome.

The company is set on limiting a key Chrome feature called the webRequest API, which is used by ad-blocking extensions to filter out content. Google is only making an exception for Chrome "enterprise deployments," which will retain full access to the API, the tech giant disclosed in developer forum last week.

Not surprisingly, the move has irked those who make ad blockers. Raymond Hill, the developer of uBlock Origin, claimed in a forum post that Google's real intent is to serve more ads. Others say they plan on ditching Chrome.

"This is a really disappointing decision by Google. I will be switching to Firefox," tweeted Eva Galperin, director of cybersecurity at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which makes the Privacy Badger web tracking blocker.

In its defense, Google says it's trying to strike a balance between the broad permissions the webRequest API can grant a third-party extension against real security concerns. Indeed, the API is powerful; it can let an extension modify data on the browser, which can open the door for hacking and privacy risks. Last year, cybercriminals took over one such Chrome extension to steal passwords from affected users.

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