Google Chrome is the dominant desktop browser and a powerful mobile browser as well. Google, being primarily an advertising company, gets a ton of data from browser usage. What matters more is that the company is also in a strong position when it comes to introducing new web technologies. Some of the proposed changes may benefit Google’s advertising activities more than they improve users’ experience of the Internet.
The introduction of Manifest V3 is just one example. With Google’s stranglehold on Chromium development, all Chromium-based browsers face a tough decision: either follow Google’s lead and drop support for Manifest V2, or invest resources to maintain support. load of Manifest V2. Manifest V3 changes core APIs that extensions have been using for a long time. This particularly affects the privacy enhancement and content blocking extensions, and some have suggested the change is a deliberate move by Google to bolster its advertising business.
Only certain browser manufacturers have the resources to fix it. Microsoft with its Edge browser is an example of this, but it looks like Microsoft Edge will only support Manifest V3 in the future. There are many Chromium-based browsers that offer more than Chrome. Vivaldi offers lots of built-in customizations and an email client, Brave has a good content blocker and a different business model than many other browser makers, and Opera maintains a gaming-focused browser.
As for non-Chromium browsers, there’s Firefox, which relies on its own code base, and Safari, which is maintained by Apple. Firefox will continue to support Manifest V2 as well as Manifest V3; this means that Manifest V2 extensions will continue to be supported for the foreseeable future.
Most Ghacks regulars don’t use Chrome as their primary browser. Some may use it for web development or the rare site that only works in Chrome, but the majority use a different browser. It is no coincidence that the majority of visitors to Ghacks are the go-to people when it comes to technology-related matters.
In the past, many may have suggested installing Chrome instead of Internet Explorer or the first version of Edge. Some may have installed other browsers such as Firefox right away. Now is a good time to get less savvy computer users to use a different browser.
Whether it’s Firefox or another Chromium-based browser depends on personal needs. Chromium-based browsers may offer better web compatibility in some cases, while Firefox is less dependent on Chromium as a whole and will likely maintain better add-on support in the future.
Why it’s time to move away from Chrome
- Chrome is one of Google’s most powerful data collection tools.
- Chrome’s dominance gives Google a lot of leverage when it comes to setting new web standards. As an advertising agency, Google’s interests are not always aligned with the interests of its users.
- Moving to Manifest V3 makes it more difficult to run content blockers and privacy extensions in Chrome. Although some users may not notice a difference, users who use multiple extensions or add custom filter lists may encounter artificial limitations set by Google.
Here are some browser suggestions
- firefox — not chromium based. continues to support Manifest V2 and will support Manifest V3, includes better controls and privacy options than Chrome.
- Vivaldi — chromium-based. Comes with content blocker, lots of customization options, built-in email client and more. Announcement that it will not follow Google’s strict reliance on Manifest V3.
- Brave — chromium-based. Has a good content blocker and privacy protections. Brave will attempt to continue supporting Manifest V2, but may drop it if the cost is too high.
All three browsers and companies are not perfect and can be criticized for certain things. Mozilla, maker of Firefox, makes strong political statements from time to time, and a few sites may not work well in Firefox due to Chrome’s dominance. Brave is largely funded by cryptocurrencies, and Vivaldi may be too feature-rich for some.
Overall though, these browsers are better options for the vast majority of internet users.
Now you: what web browsers do you use and suggest others use?