At the beginning of December, Microsoft announced their wish to re-engineer Edge on top of Chromium, effectively abandoning EdgeHTML.
A discussion ensued on DEV from the following post:
Many other discussions were held on Twitter and various corners of the web.
Words were said, tears were shed. I've seen people cheering, people stamping their feet, people mourning the shrinking of the landscape, people sighing with relief knowing the day they won't have to "support Edge" is nigh. Countless arguments have been made and pros and cons of innovation and competition (see the link at the end of this post for a great analysis).
All in all, my opinion is unchanged: I'm not sure it is a great news. We'll see. I can't do much about it aside from keep using Firefox :-D
A slight sense of unease started forming in my gut though. I've read people blasting the news citing alleged control and oversight that Google seems to have on the Chromium project (many opensource projects that are spun from a company do retain some sort of guidance from their own original creators).
This sense of unease was rekindled yesterday when I read this news linked at the bottom of a newsletter I receive everyday: Future Chrome update may kill some ad-blocking extensions.
The title mentions Chrome but the news is indeed about Chromium. Apparently, in an understandable effort to strengthen security, Google is trying to change the way extensions are made, with the side effect of blocking all ad-block extensions.
According to the original news on The Register UK Google through Chromium is planning to block the rewriting of requests (the basis for adblocking) among other things.
You can understand my distrust towards this "very Googley" idea. Google already has a conflict of interest in the matter (they are an ad company first and foremost) so discouraging ad-blockers would add to that conflict. As the article mentions:
Don't forget, Google and other internet advertising networks apparently pay Adblock Plus to whitelist their online adverts. Meanwhile, Google has bunged its own basic ad blocking into its browser.
Several other developers commenting on the proposed change expressed dismay, with some speculating that Google is using privacy as a pretext for putting the interests of its ad business over those of browser users.
which is precisely where my mind went to when I read the news.
I appreciate the need to get a grip on malicious extensions, but isn't it better to institute a review policy like mobile apps are subjected to instead of outright blocking these APIs? Just an idea.
Fortunately there's a silver lining, the process is very much in progress and all this ruckus could be for nothing, but I think it deserves our attention nonetheless.
I will leave you with an interesting (and long) article whose title speaks for itself: The State of Web Browsers: Late 2018 edition (TLDR; it's a clusterfudge).
I would love to hear your nuanced thoughts on the news (or the matter at large). I likely have missed something. I recognise I'm biased on the matter but, all things considered, I think it's a bit justified.
Thanks for reading!