Google is limiting Chrome extension installation to the Chrome Web Store

  • Google is limiting Chrome extension installation to the Chrome Web Store

Google is limiting Chrome extension installation to the Chrome Web Store

Google on Tuesday said it plans to discontinue inline installation of Chrome browser extensions, by which code on third-party websites can trigger the installation of extensions from the Chrome Web Store. But while Google can't do much about that convention on Android, it is putting its foot down on Chrome.

Developers are warned that they will need to update any inline links they have created for their extensions so they instead point to entries in the Chrome Web Store.

Starting on Tuesday, June 12, 2018, inline installation will no longer be an option for newly published extensions.

Google announced yesterday that it will retire inline installations of Google Chrome extensions starting with Chrome 71 in December 2018. "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".

However, extensions can often modify the experience in ways that an average user may not be able to comprehend or predict. Google mentions on its Chromium blog that they have been receiving large volumes of complaints from users about unwanted extensions causing undesirable changes in the user experience, with the biggest culprit being extensions available through inline installation on websites. 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.

"As we've attempted to address this problem over the past few years, we've learned that 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". Developers who use the standard method for calling for an install from their site will see that their users will get redirected to the Chrome Web Store to complete the installation. Users will be redirected to the Chrome Web Store.

To combat the issue in the past year, Google has introduced new polices, like banning cryptocurrency mining, and applying machine learning to counter deceptive extension installations.

Older extensions will continue with established behavior - showing an installation confirmation dialog that's distinct from the Chrome Web Store display. You can also opt to use Google Chrome's install badge for greater visibility.