Google will block Chrome extension installs outside its Web Store

Chrome extensions will soon only be installed at the Chrome Web Store

GOOGLE HAS CONFIRMED plans to prevent the installation of extensions in Chrome from anywhere except the Chrome Web Store. But while Google can't do much about that convention on Android, it is putting its foot down on Chrome.

If you want to install Chrome extensions, Google's Chrome Web Store soon will be the only place to get them.

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

Google announced today that, in an effort to curb unwanted installs of malicious Chrome extensions, the ability to install extensions inline would be disabled starting on September 12, 2018.

The reason for this change is because of malicious Chrome developers who've abused this feature to trick users into installing confusing, deceptive, or downright malicious Chrome extensions.

Over the years, Google has had to battle nefarious Chrome extensions that slow down the browser or change the user experience. "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".

As a result, Google has chose to retire inline installations on all platforms.

This tactic has been quite successful because users never visited the Chrome Web Store listing, and would never see an extension's bad rating or negative user reviews, which often contained warnings or important clues about the extension's real behavior.

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

The inline installation feature in Chrome arrived in 2011 to allow users to install extensions directly from developers' websites. 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. Users will be redirected to the Chrome Web Store. But, the mechanism has been abused by attackers to trick users into downloading malicious extensions.

While inline installations of extensions accounted for a large part of user complaints and issues, one needs to remember that all of the extensions installed this way were hosted in the Web Store as well.

Older extensions will continue with established behavior - showing an installation confirmation dialog that's distinct from the Chrome Web Store display. Google has not published information about the ratio of installs.



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