Google shares roadmap for the transition to Manifest V3 in Chrome
Earlier this year, Google introduced one of the biggest changes to the Chrome browser in recent years with Manifest V3. You might have heard of Manifest V3 before, as Google first announced all the way back in 2019. This is the new platform for Chrome browser extensions, and it changes up a lot about how developers create extensions. The goal, according to Google, is to make extensions more secure, privacy-friendly, and faster. Today, the company shared a few more details about the transition to Manifest V3 in Chrome.
Currently, Manifest V3 and V2 extensions can still live side-by-side in Google’s Chrome browser, but naturally, the intention is to discontinue Manifest V2. That will start on January 17th, 2022, when Google is going to stop accepting new extensions based on Manifest V2 in the Chrome Web Store. Existing Manifest V2 extensions can continue to receive updates, but no new extensions can be published using the old manifest. Should you choose to install extensions from outside the Chrome Web Store, those will also work.
One year later, in January 2023, the Manifest V2 extensions will stop running altogether in Chrome, even if you install them from outside the Chrome Web Store. Developers also won’t be able to push updates to Manifest V2 extensions in the Chrome Web Store, forcing everyone to transition to Manifest V3. Google hasn’t said what versions of Chrome are going to include these changes, but the company will share more details as the dates get closer.
There’s been some controversy with Manifest V3 since its initial introduction, however. Most notably, the new Declarative Net Request API wasn’t well received as a proposed replacement for the Web Request API. This is because many ad blockers rely on the Web Request API to block unwanted content, something they could no longer do effectively with the new API.
However, Google has made changes to the API in response to community feedback, and things are looking better now. The company recently added support for multiple static rulesets so more content blockers and other extensions can continue to work together, session-scoped rules, and more.
Google is also going to make even more improvements in the lead-up to the demise of Manifest V2. These improvements include dynamically configurable content scripts and an in-memory storage option. The company also says it will continue working with other browser vendors in the Web Extensions Community Group to improve the platform so it works for everyone.