Google Tightens Grip On Chrome Extensions Over Quality Concerns

Google is tightening its grip on Chrome extensions over quality concerns so as to make the overall experience of using its Internet browser more consistent and transparent, the Mountain View, California-based tech giant said Tuesday. With the vast majority of complaints about Chrome extensions being aimed at tools that aren't on the Chrome Web Store whose publishing standards are meant to establish a quality baseline, Google is retiring Chrome's ability to support inline installations this summer, i.e. it will soon start handling 100-percent of all extension installs moving forward.

The company believes Chrome Web Store's descriptions are generally an effective way of communicating the purpose of any given add-on, thus allowing users to discover sufficient information about the extensions they're considering and understand what they're getting into, consequently reducing the rate of uninstalls. The decision to retire inline extension installations will affect all Chrome platforms, Google confirmed, having clarified the change will be introduced in a gradual, three-staged manner. The first phase that starts today makes sideloading newly published extensions a thing of the past; any app whose installer calls the chrome.webstore.install() function will now be redirected to the Chrome Web Store where the installation can be completed.

Any previously published extensions will still be able to complete inline installations until September 12, after which they'll also start being redirected to the browser's online software storefront. Google will conclude the process of retiring the functionality in early December with Chrome 71 which will lack the inline install API method. By that time, all developers should update their installation instructions and make sure they're redirecting users to the Chrome Web Store less they want their add-ons rendered unobtainable. Google's Chrome has last been updated to version 67 on the stable channel, debuting support for more profound VR experiences and a number of other additions. Chrome 71 is likely to start being tested no later than mid-November, as indicated by the company's release roadmap outlined above.

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Dominik Bosnjak

Senior Writer
Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]