Google officially introduced a new standard for Chrome extensions at the end of 2020, known as Manifest V3, which isn’t popular with everyone. Now the company is delaying plans to block extensions that haven’t been updated yet.
Manifest V3 is the new software platform for Chrome extensions, which is intended to be faster and more secure than the older Manifest V2 base, but the migration has been controversial. Some APIs were removed and replaced with less-helpful alternatives, primarily affecting content blocker extensions like uBlock Origin and AdGuard. Google planned to start turning off Manifest V2 extensions in January 2023, then roll out the change to everyone (excluding large organizations) around mid-2023.
Google has now published a statement in the Google Group for Chromium Extensions, explaining that the transition is now on hold. The announcement said, “we’re postponing any January experiments to turn off Manifest V2 in pre-release channels of Chrome and changes to the featured badge in the Chrome Webstore, and we’ll be evaluating all downstream milestones as well.” The company plans to have a new timeline ready sometime before March 2023.
The delay means extension developers have more time to plan a transition to Manifest V3. There are also many extensions on the Chrome Web Store that will never be updated to V3 — either because porting them is too difficult, or the original creators aren’t working on them anymore — which will now stay around a bit longer.
Microsoft is also reviewing its timeline for Manifest V3 support in the Edge browser, which was previously scheduled to mirror Google’s rollout. Mozilla Firefox is still in the process of adding support for V3 extensions, and the browser allows V3 extensions to use features Google phased out, like the APIs for content blockers. Firefox also doesn’t have any plans to phase out V2 extensions.