Google Has Killed Paid Chrome Extensions & Permanently

Chrome Web Store Extensions AH 2019
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Google 'temporarily' disallowed new paid Chrome extensions back in March and now it's killed the feature permanently. That's according to a recent announcement from the company via its developer pages for Chrome, as reported by Android Police. Or, at the very least, Chrome is killing off its own monetization platform for the service.

Developers will, as a result, need to migrate out to another service. That's specifically if they've used any of the following Chrome Web Store API or helper methods via buy.js;

  • Chrome Web Store API:
    • InAppProducts
    • UserLicenses
    • Payments
  • Helper methods:
    • google.payments.inapp.getSkuDetails
    • google.payments.inapp.buy
    • google.payments.inapp.getPurchases
    • google.payments.inapp.consumePurchase

Developers additionally won't be able to add new paid in-app items.

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The search giant's decision follows a wave of malicious paid Chrome extensions, which Google initially pulled from the Chrome Web Store and killed. The first instance of a temporary ban on paid extensions occurred back in January.

So what about those extensions you paid for?

Now, on the user-facing front, this won't necessarily change a lot. That's all going to depend on developers. Existing paid Chrome extensions won't be killed. That is unless the developers behind the extensions don't act on Google's announcement. But the search giant will be moving forward with even more changes too.

As of now, developers just can't upload new extensions that are paid. But as of December 1, it won't be allowing free trials for existing extensions either.

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Moving forward from there, Google will disable payments and in-app purchases for existing extensions in the Chrome Web Store. That'll happen on February 1 of next year. Or at least it will disable those for developers using Chrome Web Store payments methods. Developers will need to migrate to other services to complete those purchases, whether for subscriptions or one-time purchases in-extension.

For end-users, issues could arise if developers don't take heed and migrate their services.

This isn't going to be easy for developers

According to Google, migrating out should be fairly straightforward. And it has given plenty of advanced warning for developers to accomplish the task. But when the change goes into effect on February 1, developers will need to take action on two separate fronts. And that could complicate things.

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First, they'll need to outsource their payment services for everything from purchases to subscriptions. But they won't be able to simply export everything. Instead, they'll need to query license information from previously paid purchases. That includes subscriptions. Once queried, developers will also need to perform a manual export of all of that data away from the Chrome-sourced tools.

They'll want to do so quickly, as the API for querying the details will be killed off too at some undetermined point in the future, according to Google.