Chrome-derived browsers threaten to fork from Google, refuse to eliminate ad-blocker features

Google's decision to restrict access to the Chrome API needed for full ad-blocking to paid enterprise customers was especially worrisome because Chrome's free/open derivative, Chromium, is the basis for many other browsers, including Microsoft's Edge, as well as Opera and the privacy-focused Brave.

Now, the other shoe has dropped: in statements to Zdnet's Catalin Cimpanu, representatives from Opera, Brave and Vivaldi said that they would not implement the change in their browsers, allowing their users to continue to block ads.

Microsoft refused to comment on the matter.

Forking Chromium is quite a drastic step, one that puts Google's control over the browser in jeopardy. The question is whether Google will yank any of the many levers it has at its disposal to override its open-source licensing to bring these other companies into line, or whether it is worried enough about antitrust that it sits this one out.

In an email to ZDNet on Friday, Brendan Eich, CEO of Brave Software, said the Brave browser plans to support the old extension technology that Google is currently deprecating.

"To respond on the declarativeWebRequest change (restricting webRequest in full behind an enterprise policy screen), we will continue to support webRequest for all extensions in Brave," Eich told ZDNet.

In addition, Brave itself supports a built-in ad blocker, that users can utilize as an alternative to any extension.

Furthermore, Eich told ZDNet that Brave would continue to support uBlock Origin and uMatrix, the two extensions developed by Raymond Hill, the Chrome extension developer who's been highlighting Google's plans to sabotage Chrome ad blockers for the past months.

Opera, Brave, Vivaldi to ignore Chrome's anti-ad-blocker changes, despite shared codebase [Catalin Cimpanu/Zdnet]