It took us almost half a year to come up with a new AdGuard for Windows release. Many of you might ask, what took us so long? Unfortunately, a lot of changes were made under the hood, so frankly it won't be that easy for us to explain, or that interesting for an average user to read about. However, there's one new feature that takes all the attention and saves the day. And it's AdGuard Browser Assistant.
Wait a minute, wasn't there already an AdGuard Assistant? True, it was an extension (or a userscript, whichever term you prefer) incorporated into AdGuard for Windows app. A quick reminder for the new users: it hovered right on the web page, in the corner, and served to manage filtering without having to leave your browser. The new Browser Assistant has the same functions, so what's the difference and why all this fuss in the first place?
AdGuard Browser Assistant
First of all, the name Browser Assistant suggests that it's a browser extension (which it is). Former AdGuard Assistant was a dependent userscript able to communicate with the main app using a certain protocol. On the contrary, the new Browser Assistant is independent: it’s installed in a browser, and you don’t need to wait for the userscript to be injected into the filtered web page. Putting it simply, it is more autonomous and it doesn’t depend on the main AdGuard app. AdGuard for Windows is required for the proper functioning, of course, but technically the new Assistant can be installed without the app.
Another reason to develop an alternative to the old Assistant was the so-called integration mode. Basically, when AdGuard for Windows was installed along with AdGuard browser extension, the extension icon was taking the role of the Assistant. There was a problem: they could hamper each other’s work. On some websites this integration glitched and the filtering was performed by the less powerful browser extension. No such risk with the new Browser Assistant: it's a completely independent extension with its own defined role and there's zero chance it will take away from ad blocking in any way.
Finally, there's one more, very straightforward and very obvious reason. Some people just didn't like the old Assistant's icon standing in the way of content on the web pages! No matter how small it was or how well we tried to hide it in the corners, there are millions of websites and it was bound to cover something important on some of them. Well, when you're just another icon next to the address bar its pretty hard to mess with the page's content, so there's that.
Now let's talk about some of the new perks we've added to the main app for the new Assistant.
Get Assistant easily for your default browser
A super important feature for new users. When you install AdGuard for Windows, first thing you'll be met with is the onboarding process: a quick way to learn about AdGuard's many settings and to customize filtering to your preferences. Browser Assistant also has a place in it now: AdGuard will determine your default browser and prompt you with a download link for the new Assistant. And in the rare case when your browser is not compatible with it, you will be offered to install our legacy Assistant instead.
Tweak Assistant's settings
Of course, the new Assistant requires its own tab in the app's settings. It's quite minimalistic: you'll find there an option to install Browser Assistant for your default browser if you missed the opportunity during the onboarding. It also has a checkbox to enable the legacy Assistant (useful in cases if your browser of choice is quite rare and is not supported).
By the way, if you use multiple browsers and need to install AdGuard Browser Assistant for them too, you can easily do it on our website. We support all popular browsers.
Lots of words have been said about Browser Assistant, but what about other changes? As we mentioned, there's no shortage of them, but they are mostly technical and quite honestly boring unless you are a programmer yourself. If you absolutely need to see the complete changelog, you know where to find it.
Do you like the new Browser Assistant? Has the update gone smoothly for you? Let us know in the comments, and we'll see you soon with more AdGuard releases!