Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Technology | By Lionel Gonzales

Chrome extensions soon only available from Google's website

Chrome extensions soon only available from Google's website

Now Google is stepping in and will tighten security by soon preventing extensions from being installed from outside its own Chrome Web Store.

In order to prove that extensions in the Chrome store are legit and the best course of action, Google has written a research paper on its extension cleansing efforts.

Extension developers who use inline installations now need to change the install buttons on their web properties before Chrome 71's release in December so that they link to the Chrome Web Store instead.

You will no longer be able to install Google Chrome extensions from outside of the main Chrome Store anymore.

Until now, this has been possible because the inline installation process allowed developers to create extensions, have the extensions hosted on the official Chrome Web Store, but allow users to install the extensions just by clicking a button on a third-party website without the user ever visiting the extension's Chrome Web Store page. "When installed through the Chrome Web Store, extensions are significantly less likely to be uninstalled or cause user complaints, compared to extensions installed through inline installation".

Chrome extensions will soon only be installed at the Chrome Web Store
Google puts an end to Chrome extension installs from third-party sites

"We continue to receive large volumes of complaints from users about unwanted extensions causing their Chrome experience to change unexpectedly - and the majority of these complaints are attributed to confusing or deceptive uses of inline installation on websites", Wagner said. Google found that these inline installations actually took away necessary information that a user could rely on to predict the usefulness of the extension, as well as instructions on its use. "The information displayed alongside extensions in the Chrome Web Store plays a critical role in ensuring that users can make informed decisions about whether to install an extension". That is, extensions that are installed from websites other than the Chrome Web Store and are, therefore, not vetted by reviews, descriptions, and the like. While the system has been used by legitimate companies and developers to provide extension installations directly from websites they operate, it has been abused by crooks as well.

Come September 12, 2018, all inline installs of existing extensions will be shut down and users will be redirected to the store, too. Users will be redirected to the Chrome Web Store.

As Wagner notes, inline installations have been an issue for a long time.

And in early December, 2018, the inline installation API will be removed from Chrome 71.

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