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Google tightens ad blocker restrictions on YouTube with Manifest V3

Google is stepping up its fight against ad blockers on YouTube by introducing a new policy on the extension platform called Manifest V3, bringing more problems to Chrome users.

In order to discourage the use of ad blockers, Google has implemented aggressive tactics, from pausing videos with annoying messages to introducing deliberate delays in loading videos when a blocker is detected. These measures have already proven to be effective, generating an increase in ad blocker uninstalls.

However, Google’s real cleverness lies in the new extension policy, Manifest V3. Today, the Manifest V2 platform allows developers to quickly update their extensions. However, with Manifest V3 becoming mandatory starting in June 2024, developers will face restrictions that could drastically reduce the update speed of extensions.

Updates slowed by Manifest V3

The transition to Manifest V3 will involve a more thorough review process for extension updates before they are approved and pushed to users, which will be inconvenient for developers as they require quick updates to adapt to changes in the application system YouTube ad delivery.

The new review policy will provide YouTube with the opportunity to adjust its algorithms, decreasing the effectiveness of ad blocking attempts.

In an interview with Engadget, Krzysztof Modras, engineering director of the popular Ghostery extension, noted that Google is “tweaking its methods more frequently than ever.”

Alternatives for YouTube users

Given this situation, users who rely on ad blockers for their daily YouTube sessions could find themselves in a difficult position once Manifest V3 goes live.

Although Mozilla has assured Firefox users that it will not adopt Manifest V3, Google is confident that many users will tolerate the ads or choose to pay the $13.99 monthly fee for YouTube Premium.

Another option will be to use OS-level ad blockers, such as AdGuard, which have proven to be less affected by the recent changes to YouTube and offer a premium version for less than $30 a year, compared to YouTube Premium’s monthly fee on $14.

Final words

With the confrontation between Google and ad blocker developers reaching a new level with the arrival of Manifest V3, users are in the dilemma of carefully evaluating their options and preparing for possible changes in the way they consume content on YouTube. Probably, the vast majority of users who already avoid ads through extensions or other software will continue to look for alternatives to be able to watch their favorite videos without having to pay any Premium subscription. What do you think?

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