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Google puts an end to Chrome extension installs from third-party sites


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 will block Chrome extension installs outside its Web Store


People are apparently less likely to uninstall extensions from the Web Store itself. Google must have seen positive results when it blocked Windows users from installing Chrome extensions outside the Web Store, because that'll soon be the case for everyone. The tech giant will block inline Chrome extension installation on all platforms starting this summer. Google said the descriptions and feature lists in the Chrome Web Store are instrumental in helping people make informed decisions on whether or not they truly need a particular extension. It found that users are less likely to uninstall an add-on if it came from the official extension portal. Google has started enforcing the new rule by blocking inline installation for all extensions first published today, June 12th, 2018. The company will then disable the ability for existing extensions starting on September 12th. Even if users click on a link elsewhere on the internet, they'll still be redirected to the Chrome Web Store -- no more instant install from developers' or random websites. Finally, Google will completely kill the inline install API from Chrome 71 in early December 2018 to completely remove it from developers' options. "We're proud of the choices the Chrome Web Store provides users in enhancing their browsingexperience," Extensions Platform Product Manager James Wagner said in his announcement. "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. We're confident this change will improve transparency for all users about their extension choices in Chrome."