Transparency in data use has become a hot-button issue and Google is reportedly stepping up its game when it comes to how Chrome Extensions handle that. More specifically, the company is planning to release an update to its policies. And that enforces full disclosure from Chrome Web Extensions developers.
The driving idea behind the change is similar to those that led to the end of paid extensions for the browser. Namely, the company is still trying to rein in malicious extensions. In short, companies and creators behind extensions will need to fully disclose what data they collect. And they'll need to hold to strict guidelines with regard to how that user data is used.
For instance, they'll need to explain that they collect sign-in data or personally identifiable data. That new clarity will help users make a more informed decision when it comes to installing web extensions. Developers will also need to honor new policies that ban selling data to third parties. Or using data for purposes beyond the scope of the extension.
Once those disclosures are on display, Google plans to add a warning on developers' extensions. That's if they fail to disclose the required details. So users will know if they aren't complying. It's also tacking on a promise from developers to fairly represent their data collection under full disclosure. So Google will have a new way to enforce removal policies when data collection isn't as advertised.
Data transparency is just one of the perks Google has recently added to Chrome
This change follows on others Google has implemented to improve Chrome in ways that will affect end-users chiefly behind the scenes. And in response to growing competition from the likes of Microsoft and others. In addition to changes earlier this year that made Chrome more secure, such as the removal of paid extensions, the search giant is hard at work making the browser faster.
For instance, the companies most recent update starts an average of 25-percent faster and loads pages 7-percent faster. Getting a better handle on Chrome Web Extensions should further that goal too. Especially since it should ultimately help cut back on the number of malicious or bloated extensions available or being installed.
When will this change go into effect?
Now, the change won't be taking immediate effect. But it will be plainly visible soon enough. Google plans to start displaying the new disclosures as of January 18, 2021. That's also the date on which it will start adding notices to those Chrome Web Store listings that aren't in compliance with the new policy.