Ad blocker uBlock Origin "can no longer exist" if a proposed change to Chrome goes through. It is according to Raymond Hill, the developer of uBlock Origin and uMatrix, in a comment on Chrome's bug tracker.
As registered by The Register, Google engineers propose this change in the Chromium Project Bug Tracker. Chromium is the open source browser that underlies Google Chrome, Opera and soon Microsoft Edge.
Don't worry, though: This will not break ad blocker completely. Instead, Google engineers remove permissions from browser extensions. Currently, ad blockers and other add-ons use the "WebRequest" API to listen to events during web pages and block them.
If the proposed change goes through, add-ons will not be able to block events with this API. Extensions can only look at these events, and it should speed up page loading times. Chrome does not have to wait for extensions to weigh in when loading a page.
Ad blocker must use "declarativeNetRequest" API to tell Chrome what they want to block. Chrome itself blocks without waiting for additions to react, and it should be faster. In contrast, declarativeNetRequest uses an Adblock Plus style filter.
Raymond Hill notes that if this change goes through, the ad blocker uBlock Origin and content filter uMatrix cannot do anything special:
If this (fairly limited) declarativeNetRequest API ceases to be the only way content blocker can perform its duty, it mainly that two content blockers I have kept for several years, uBlock Origin ("uBO") and uMatrix can no longer exist.
In addition to causing uBO and uMatrix to no longer exist, it is really about the proposed declarativeNetRequest API making it impossible to arrive at new and new filter engine designs, since the declarativeNetRequest API is no more than the implementation of a specific filter engine and one quite limited one (the limit of 30,000 is not enough to drive the famous EasyList alone).
Even Hill notes that ad blockers do not go away if this goes through. This change can accelerate Chrome by limiting what all web extensions can do, ad blocking extensions, and other extensions. Chrome will resemble Apple's Safari browser, which now supports "content blockers" that work in a fast, common way.
It's a compromise. Browser extensions like uBlock Origin can no longer implement their own filter engine, but the filtering engine will be a fast built-in Chrome itself. The entire industry has moved towards more limited browsers. Despite what some people fear, Google does not use this as an opportunity to kill ad blockers.