Mozilla Firefox is set to add support for Manifest v3-based browser extensions to its online store.
Originally proposed (opens in a new tab) by Google in 2018. Manifest v3 (MV3) is a version of the software architecture that the tech giant hailed as one of the “most significant changes to the extension platform since its launch a decade ago.”
Google promised that the new technology would provide users with “improvements in security, privacy and performance” and enable them “to take advantage of more modern open web technologies such as service workers and promises”.
When will the change come into effect?
From Monday, November 21, developers will be able to submit Mv3 extensions to be signed. (opens in a new tab) But Mozilla is probably late to the party; Microsoft has started testing Manifest V3 (opens in a new tab) in their Edge browsers as early as October 2020.
However, not everyone is the biggest Manifest V3 fan.
Some of the most staunch online privacy advocates, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, have he spoke against (opens in a new tab) update, saying that “the changes to Manifest V3 won’t stop malicious extensions, but they will hurt innovation, reduce extension capabilities, and hurt real-world performance.”
Mozilla is unlikely to have much of a choice when deciding to use MV3 in Firefox, as Google controls Chromium, the open source browser technology that powers Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge, which both have a large share of the browser market.
Even Apple has approved MV3 for its Safari browser for macOS and iOS in the future, so it may just be a matter of keeping up with the times.
Support for Manifest V2, the predecessor to Manifest V3, will end in June 2023 for all Chromium-based browsers.
This wouldn’t be the first time Mozilla has tied up with Google. The company previously accused Google, Microsoft and Apple of “self-preferring” and tricking consumers into using their own browsers in a September 2022 report, citing numerous examples of consumer harm.