Google is limiting Chrome extension installation to the Chrome Web Store

Chrome lapel pin

Google Chrome has the privilege of shipping on millions of Android devices around the world, giving it a massive head start in claiming market share. On desktops, Chrome enjoys undisputed popularity, being the browser of choice on every 2 out 3 desktop machines.

Google says that the changes are being introduced because of "large volumes of complaints from users about unwanted extensions causing their Chrome experience to change unexpectedly". "At the same time, it's crucial that users have robust information about extensions prior to installation, so that they fully understand how their browsing experience will be impacted".

The decision, which will be implemented in stages, follows a series of complaints in recent years about malicious extensions distributed through the Chrome Web Store and via malware.

However, just four years later Google was forced to disable inline installations for extensions that were linked to deceptive sites and ads. Without these, user complaints significantly rose and extensions were more likely to be uninstalled.

First, as of Tuesday, new extensions can't be installed inline.

Inline installation lets websites add Chrome extensions that were hosted behind the scenes at the Chrome Web Store but Google's shutting the technology down after abuse
Chrome extensions will soon only be installed at the Chrome Web Store

Chrome browser users have three ways to install extensions: They can use Google's Chrome Web Store; they can use a link on a third-party website to fetch an extension from the Chrome Web Store via inline installation; or with developer mode enabled, they can download the code from an open source repository and install it.

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

On September 12, inline installation will be disabled for existing extensions with the inline install API removed on Chrome 71 in early December.

Last, extension developers will have to update their websites by early December to get rid of inline installation code and simply point people to the Chrome Web Store page. Until now, developers who publish their apps in the Web Store could also initiate app and extension installs from their own websites.

That change will be necessary because Google will remove inline installation programming support with the forthcoming Chrome 71. Hopefully, the end-user finds the change to be in their best interest. Enter your email to be subscribed to our newsletter.

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