The Big Picture: Mozilla promised to adopt the Manifest V3 extension standard enforced by Google without penalizing users’ choice. The newly released Firefox 109 works with both V2 and V3 extensions, and Mozilla says compatibility with modern ad blockers is critical going forward.
Mozilla has released the latest version of its Firefox web browser, stating that its users will not experience any restrictions on the capabilities of extensions such as those offered in Chrome. The Open Source Foundation is already embracing the controversial Manifest V3 technology, without giving up features needed by the most powerful ad blocking extensions available today.
Manifest V3 is a new API Made by Google as a safer alternative to Manifest V2 for Chrome extensions, but many developers have expressed concerns about stricter restrictions that could make ad blockers much less useful than they are today. Several changes to Manifest V3 may lead to incompatibilities between Firefox-based browsers and Chromium-based browsers, Mozilla explainswhich would place a heavy burden on developers to support two very different versions of their extensions.
Mozilla believes that Firefox users “benefit most when they have access to the widest selection of useful add-ons and features available,” so they agreed to provide Manifest V3 support for add-ons to maintain “a high level of compatibility to support cross-browser development.”
However, in a few target areas, Mozilla has decided to take a different approach compared to Google.
When it comes to security and privacy, Firefox will incorporate some distinct elements. Mozilla’s release of Manifest V3 will provide cross-browser interoperability “along with uniquely enhanced privacy and security protection”, while also enhancing compatibility with mobile extensions. Mozilla started Accept Manifest V3 extensions On the official Firefox add-on store (AMO) in November, and the stable version of Firefox 109.0 Officially introduces V3 extensions to the broader Firefox user base.
Mozilla says that content blockers are “very important to privacy-conscious Firefox users and tend to be the most popular type of browser extension”. They make browsing faster and smoother, and they obviously won’t be penalized by an open source browser in any way. Firefox will indeed continue to fully support Manifest V2 extensions, providing users with “the most powerful privacy tools available such as uBlock Origin and other content-blocking and privacy-preserving extensions.”
By implementing the Manifest V3 API, Firefox 109.0 brings another feature to the aforementioned privacy-conscious users. A new “Extensions” button in the browser’s toolbar will allow users to easily manage V3 extensions while listing the permissions they need to work with data and websites.
Other significant changes in Firefox 109.0 include new protection against arbitrary code exploits while playing media (for Windows users), various security fixes, and more. Colorways themes will no longer be available to new users, and macOS users will experience a new scrolling behavior consistent with other web browsers in macOS.