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Chrome users gloriously freed from obviously treacherous and unsafe uBlock Origin

Filed under
Google
Moz/FF
OSS
Web

Thank you, O Great Chrome Web Store, for saving us from the clearly hazardous, manifestly unscrupulous, overtly duplicitous uBlock Origin. Because, doubtlessly, this open-source ad-block extension by its very existence and nature could never "have a single purpose that is clear to users." I mean, it's an ad-blocker. Those are bad.
Really, this is an incredible own goal on Google's part. Although I won't resist the opportunity to rag on them, I also grudgingly admit that this is probably incompetence rather than malice and likely yet another instance of something falling through the cracks in Google's all-powerful, rarely examined automatic algorithms (though there is circumstantial evidence to the contrary). Having a human examine these choices costs money in engineering time, and frankly when the automated systems are misjudging something that will probably cost Google's ad business money as well, there's just no incentive to do anything about it. But it's a bad look, especially with how two-faced the policy on Manifest V3 has turned out to be and its effect on ad-blocker options for Chrome.

It is important to note that this block is for Chrome rather than Chromium-based browsers (like Edge, Opera, Brave, etc.). That said, Chrome is clearly the one-ton gorilla, and Google doesn't like you sideloading extensions. While Mozilla reviews extensions too, and there have been controversial rejections on their part, speaking as an add-on author of over a decade there is at least a human on the other end even if once in a while the human is a butthead. (A volunteer butthead, to be sure, but still a butthead.) Plus, you can sideload with a little work, even unsigned add-ons. So far I think they've reached a reasonable compromise between safety and user choice even if sometimes the efforts don't scale. On the other hand, Google clearly hasn't by any metric.

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