Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Google puts an end to Chrome extension installs from third-party sites

Google puts an end to Chrome extension installs from third-party sites

GOOGLE HAS CONFIRMED plans to prevent the installation of extensions in Chrome from anywhere except the 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.

From today, newly published extensions that call the inline installation feature [chrome.webstore.install ()] will see users automatically redirected to the Chrome Web Store in a new tab, to complete the operation.

Chrome browser users have three ways to install extensions: They can use Google's Chrome Web Store; they can use a link on a third-party website to fetch an extension from the Chrome Web Store via inline installation; or with developer mode enabled, they can download the code from an open source repository and install it. One thing is certain: while the retiring of inline Chrome extension installations will have a positive impact, it won't suddenly free the Chrome Web Store from user tracking or outright malicious extensions.

"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. 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.

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According to Google, this means that by the end of the year, users will only be able to install new Chrome extension only from their respective Chrome Web Store listings.

Because of this repeated pattern of abuse, Google has now made a decision to remove the inline installation process from the Chrome browser and the Chrome Web Store altogether.

This will force users to visit the Chrome Web Store directly to install Chrome extensions.

And in early December, 2018, the inline installation API will be removed from Chrome 71. "At the same time, it's crucial that users have robust information about extensions prior to installation, so that they fully understand how their browsing experience will be impacted".

However, it is likely that this new change will ruffle the feathers of existing extension owners who rely on the inline install method for legitimate installs of their extensions. The company will then disable the ability for existing extensions starting on September 12th. Enter your email to be subscribed to our newsletter.

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