At the beginning of the year, Google finally implemented the controversial Manifest v3 for extensions which was created to solve a problem with privacy and data abuse among many other things. After popular tab suspension tool The Great Suspender went rogue after changing hands (this was just one example), Chrome finally decided to do something about the wild west that was the Chrome Web Store.
Having been around since 2018, Manifest v3 makes extensions more secure, performant, and privacy-respecting by default. Extensions can no longer remotely host code, developers must adhere to a strict new policy in order to get a ‘seal of approval‘ on their Web Store listing that shows they won’t steal data or use it in ways they hadn’t promised to and more.
We knew that the company had plans to move quickly towards mass adoption with v3, but that it would give devs time to comply with the new changes. This morning, Chrome Developers announced its official timeline for its remaining support of Manifest v2. By June of 2023, extensions uploaded with v2 will no longer run in Chrome even with enterprise policy.
Before that date, however, developers will lose the ability to update their extensions in the store if they’re running Manifest v2. In January – just four months from now when the new year begins, no one will be able to upload MV2 extensions for public release, effectively killing off any traffic they could generate. They can still be uploaded for private visibility, but that’s about it. This could be useful for testing purposes, but it’s pretty clear that Google is pressuring developers to get their act together pretty rapidly as we move forward.
As someone who sees a great future potential for the Web Store or at least thinks extensions could one day become a part of the Google Store (it’s a long story, but check out my thoughts!) I’m excited to see something finally being done about this mess. Extensions have long since been one of the only and most dangerous vulnerabilities in Chrome, and Google has treated it as an oversight for far too long. This will weed out any developers who are in the game for deceptive purposes or are too lazy to do what’s right by users.