The file “manifest” is a core component that provides crucial information about the configuration and behavior of each browser extension. This file is written in JSON format and is essential for declaring the features and permissions of theextension. Google has just confirmed that since the month of June 2024Chrome, Chromium and derivative web browsers will embrace the use of Manifest V3 that is, the latest version of the most recent specification used to describe how extensions work.
What is Manifest V3
With the introduction of Manifest V3, Google has made some changes to the way extensions can interact with the browser. The latest specifications, for example, promote the use of service worker to perform operations in the background.
The technicians of the Mountain View company have introduced a new event management model: replaces the based approach callback used in previous versions. The goal is to improve the security and performance of extensions.
Additionally, Manifest V3 forces developers to declare i permissions required by their extensions more explicitly. Installable on-demand add-ons are therefore subject to stricter restrictions compared to what happened in the past. In fact, until the Manifest V2 “era”, malicious Chrome extensions could steal personal passwords (and can still do so today) and others confidential data. In another article we saw how simple it is to steal all the user’s data by always using dangerous extensions.
Manifest V3 also knocks out ad blockers
As of June 2024, all extensions available on the Chrome Web Store must be updated to Manifest V3. In any case, browser extensions based on Manifest V2 will automatically be deactivated and no longer usable.
Mozilla has announced the decision to adopt Manifest V3 in Firefox to make life easier for browser extension developers. However, the foundation will allow a broader scope of action, avoiding implementing the more severe restrictions decided by Google.
Criticisms in fact, there had been a lot of outpourings regarding Google’s Manifest V3 solution from both EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) than from developers like Ghostery. In all cases the complaints focus on the alleged limitations on users’ freedom of action.