If you want to install Chrome extensions, Google’s Chrome Web Store will soon be the only place to get them.
Extensions — the software that lets you do things like block ads, manage your tabs better, explore the art on your new tab page, or cover your screen with doge dogs — can be useful and fun. Unfortunately, they can also be a conduit for malware spying on you or cryptocurrency miners letting others take advantage of your computer’s power.
In an attempt to fix the issues, Google is removing a feature called “inline install”, which allows websites to offer an install button so you don’t have to detour to the Chrome Web Store to add an extension. to Chrome. Google, however, concluded that the Chrome Web Store provides the necessary transparency. So it launched a three-phase plan on Tuesday to make the Chrome Web Store the only way to get extensions.
It’s another example of Google sacrificing openness as it tries to accommodate the abuse that openness makes possible.
Google’s original plan for extensions was to let people download them from anywhere, but it backtracked and offered online installation from the Chrome Web Store instead. Now even that is no longer on the list. Similarly, Google initially promised a web-like Android Play Store, where good apps would emerge on their own merits, but eventually adopted an approval process similar to Apple’s approach with its App Store.
James Wagner, product manager of Google’s extensions platform, explained the decision in a blog post.
“We continue to receive large amounts of complaints from users about unwanted extensions that alter their Chrome experience in unexpected ways – and the majority of these complaints are attributed to confusing or misleading uses of the online facility on websites “, said Wagner. “The information displayed next to extensions in the Chrome Web Store plays a vital role in ensuring that users can make informed decisions about installing an extension. When installed through the Chrome Web Store, extensions are much less likely to be uninstalled or cause user complaints, compared to extensions installed via online install.”
Google’s extension crackdown will take place in three phases:
First, since Tuesday, new extensions can no longer be installed online.
Second, online installation will be disabled for existing extensions starting September 12. Websites that offer online installations will instead send users to the Chrome Web Store page for installation.
Finally, extension developers will need to update their websites by early December to get rid of the online installer code and just direct users to the Chrome Web Store page. This change will be necessary as Google will drop support for inline installer programming with the upcoming Chrome 71.
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