Google denies rowing back on Chrome adblocker support

Google insists that the changes are informed by a simple desire to protect the privacy of its users

Google has denied suggestions of any ulterior motives behind its decision to bring in a series of changes affecting extensions to its Chrome browser, which some had warned amounted to an underhand means of killing adblockers.

Addressing such concerns directly Google insists that the changes are informed by a simple desire to protect the privacy of its users.

Dubbed Manifest v3 these changes would limit the ability of extensions to examine websites; including adblock extensions. Under the current system adblockers can scan a website in advance to determine what content to display by searching each element for ad-related internet addresses but proposed changes would curtail this ability.

In a blog post outlining its intent Devlin Cronin of the Chrome extensions team wrote: “We are not preventing the development of adblockers or stopping users from blocking ads. Instead, we want to help developers, including content blockers, write extensions in a way that protects users' privacy.”

Google stresses that the changes remain under review as part of wider efforts to enhance consumer privacy.

Advertisers who rely on re-targeting will have to reconsider how they circumnavigate the restrictions going forward. Terrence Roane, commercial director, Appetite Creative Solutions, previously wrote in The Drum that “cookies don't work as efficiently on mobile as they do on desktop, and that mobile is increasing its role as the dominant environment, the more significant issue here may instead be the limitations on non-cookie tracking techniques like browser fingerprinting”.

He added: “The demise of cookies means it's time to be smarter with our creative.”

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