If you’re a Windows user and Chrome is your primary browser, it’s likely that you know of and actively use Chrome extensions to enhance your browser experience. Extensions can enhance the user experience by allowing for little embedded features to be added, like the +1 button for example allowing you to easily post a “plus one” about something that you like to your Google+ page. This works for just about any webpage and is one of many great Chrome extensions available. Up until today, Chrome extensions were something that you could install whether they were obtained from within the Chrome web store or not, giving users the ability to add even local extensions that were grabbed from elsewhere.
Google of course with their ever advancing push of security and seeking to protect their users from harm, has announced that today marks the end of local extension installation capabilities for users of Chrome on Windows. Going forward, Google is now only allowing the installation of Chrome extensions that have been downloaded and installed straight from the Chrome Web Store, which is an attempt to cut down the risk of malicious software installation by Chrome users. Google elaborates on the changes made by adding that extensions that some users may already have installed from outside locations could also be disabled, at least until they get hosted within the Chrome Web Store at which point Google would re-enable them.
While this may have a negative effect on some if they have grabbed numerous extensions from local sources, there is still a chance that local extensions that are already installed may not be disabled or affected at all. If they are, and are a widely used extension then it wouldn’t be too presumptuous to think that the developers behind those extensions will do what they need to in order to get their extensions back up and running for users, which would include having it approved by Google and then hosted in the Web Store, and wouldn’t you know it, this is something Google themselves are encouraging developers to do. Google says that this new security focused change only applies to users on Windows who are using either the stable or beta builds of the Chrome browser. It does not affect any other versions of Chrome, which includes Windows Canary and developer builds, and Chrome on Mac, Linux, or Chrome OS.