Google today announced a major change to its Chrome Web Store policy that aims to shield users from websites that try to fool them into installing their Chrome extensions. Until now, developers who publish their apps in the Web Store could also initiate app and extension installs from their own websites. Too often, though, developers combined these so-called inline installs with deceptive information on their sites to get users to install them. Unsurprisingly, thats not quite the experience Google had in mind when it enabled this feature back in 2011, so now its shutting it down. Starting today, inline installation will be unavailable to all newly published extensions. Developers who use the standard method for calling for an install from their site will see that their users will get redirected to the Chrome Web Store to complete the installation. Come September 12, 2018, all inline installs of existing extensions will be shut down and users will be redirected to the store, too. Come December and the launch of Chrome 71, the API that currently allows for this way of installing extensions will go away. As weve attempted to address this problem over the past few years, weve learned that 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, James Wagner, the product manager for the extensions platform, writes in todays update. When installed through the Chrome Web Store, extensions are significantly less likely to be uninstalled or cause user complaints, compared to extensions installed through inline installation. As Wagner notes, inline installations have been an issue for a long time. Back in 2015, for example, sites that tried to deceive users into installing extensions by getting them to click on fake ads or error messages were the main issue.
Google is announcing some changes to the way it handles extensions in its Chrome browser. Starting today, newly published extensions will only be available in the Chrome Web Store. For years, web developers have been able to trigger installations of Chrome extensions from their own websites, or inline installation as Google calls it, but Google is phasing this method out. We continue to receive large volumes of complaints from users about unwanted extensions causing their Chrome experience to change unexpectedly, explains James Wagner, Googles extensions platform product manager. The majority of these complaints are attributed to confusing or deceptive uses of inline installation on websites. While Google has attempted to address these misleading extensions, the Chrome Web Store displays a lot more information about extensions. Google says extensions installed from the Chrome Web Store directly are significantly less likely to be uninstalled compared to inline ones. Google is planning to remove inline installation from Chrome for existing extensions starting on September 12th, and Chrome users will be redirected to the Web Store. With Chrome 71 in early December, Google is also planning to remove the inline install API method entirely. Were confident this change will improve transparency for all users about their extension choices in Chrome, says Wagner. The changes mean that youll only be able to install Chrome extensions from the Web Store, and developers will need to update their install buttons to link to the Chrome Web Store page instead. These new changes should also prevent Chrome users from installing extensions they dont need or simply stop them from being misled into installing an extension.