Browser extensions are about to be shaken up

A look at how manifest V3 will change browser extensions.

What's going on?

This all began in late 2018 when Google's Chrome team outlined a roadmap for a new browser extension specification (Manifest V3). The new specification would remove some functionality from existing extensions, but it would also provide additional security for extension users. The path to Manifest V3 has been slow but steady since 2018.

Google has recently released an update to the Manifest V3 timeline. It appears 2023 is the year when everything will change. Google will begin to officially phase out any extension that hasn't been updated to the new specification. According to the latest update any extension that hasn't been updated to Manifest V3 will no longer be available from June of 2023.

It is worth noting, most extensions on the Chrome web store are currently using the previous specification (Manifest V2). This includes many contact finders, adblockers and other popular extensions.

What's the problem?

There is a high possibility this is the first time you have heard of a browser extension specification and you are probably wondering how this impacts you at all. Google has painted a rosey picture of the upcoming changes. The image they painted is one of a safer web, but they failed to mention any downsides to the coming changes.

There is a hard deadline for extension authors to update their extensions, and most of them cannot. The new extension specification has removed functionality that many extensions rely on. In other words, many of the extensions you have come to love will soon disappear. This includes adblockers, productivity tools, script managers, contact finders and more.

What will happen to Nymeria's browser extension?

Absolutely nothing. We updated our browser extension to the new specification in 2021. Our Firefox extension is currently using the previous specification because the Mozilla add-on store does not currently support Manifest V3.

When the new extension was announced we rebuilt our extension from the ground up. We designed our extension to be unobtrusive and keep permissions to the bare minimum. We have explained all of our permissions in a previous blog post.

Our extension was also carefully designed to minimize user exposure to unwanted data exfiltration and surveillance. In 2019 we wrote about LinkedIn's data exfiltration and browser fingerprinting techniques. LinkedIn has used those techniques to identify extension users and restrict their accounts. The Nymeria extension was designed to not be fingerprinted by such techniques.

We are unsure how many extensions will be impacted by Manifest V3, but you can rest assured the Nymeria extension is here to stay. We hope this post has shed some light on Google's update and as always if you have any questions about any of this please reach out anytime!

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