From today, web developers for Firefox can sign extensions created using Manifest V3 to the online store. This new software architecture revision appears to be the future of all browser extensions, but Mozilla was a little late to the party.
Google proposed the new technology in 2018 and stated that this would be the most significant shift in the extension platform since its launch almost a decade ago. Manifest V3 is a complete software architecture revision from Google. It claims to enhance users’ security, privacy, and performance. It will also enable users to use more open web technology, such as service workers and promises. There should be far fewer fake extensions for users to become victims too.
The new technology is being rolled out today, November 21st, 2022, and developers will be able to start uploading Mv3 extensions. However, Mozilla Firefox is not the first platform to allow this. Microsoft already began testing Mv3 in its Edge browser back in October 2020.
Despite all the promises, there are many individuals who aren’t as excited by the release of Manifest V3. Electronic Frontier Foundation recently spoke out against Mv3 and stated that the changes made in this new version won’t stop malicious extensions as promised but might cause harm to innovation and reduce extension capabilities and performance. One of the reasons for this is that ad-blockers and other protective extensions will no longer work on this new version and will need to be amended to work on Manifest V3.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like Mozilla has much say in the matter, as it seems all browsers are starting to accept the change, regardless of the new privacy risks that may come along with them. Google controls Chromium, which Firefox is built on, and as such, it has to follow suit with the tech giant. Even Apple had endorsed MV3 for its Safari browser.
Support for MV2, the current extension architecture, will stop support next year, and although it’s been delayed, the support will now end in June 2023 for all chromium browsers. Google is still hammering out issues with MV3, and we hope they’ll be sorted and all privacy issues addressed before support of the existing extensions is removed.