After being a second-class citizen for years, the Chromebook app experience is finally get attention. And by “Chromebook app” I mean a web extension. When looking for extensions, like these five I recently recommended, look for new badges in the Google Chrome Web Store to help you decide if you trust the extension’s developer.
Google rolled out the new badges this week, “to make it easy for users to find great extensions while recognizing the publishers who create them.” You will still have to dig and look for extensions. So it doesn’t help overall discoverability. However, with the new featured and established publisher badges, you see who Google trusts in this market.
Two new badges in the Google Chrome Web Store
Both badges are selected and assigned manually by the Chrome web team. For now, this is not an algorithmic process. I expect this to change in the future as Google tries to automate everything it can.
There are two requirements to earn a featured badge in the Google Chrome Web Store.
The extension must respect Google’s Predefined Best Practices and respect the privacy of users. The latter is essential for me and probably for many of you as well. Second, the store listing page should be detailed and clear. I’ve seen quite a few Chrome Web Store pages fall into this area over the past decade.
Earning the established publisher badge has different criteria.
The first is verification of the publisher’s identity and the second is a “consistent positive track record with Google services and compliance with the Developer Program Policy”. It is exactly which is necessary to rid the store of a sort of Wild West / anything goes experience.
While Progressive Web Apps (PWAs), Android apps, and Linux desktop software have helped fill the “app gap” for Chromebook users, web extensions are still handy.
Often they just add little nuggets of functionality to Google Chrome, but that doesn’t make it any less useful than a full app. When you just need a little more than the browser provides natively, web extensions do the trick. It’s nice to see Google paying a little more attention to the store where you can find them.