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Google will block Chrome extension installs outside its Web Store

13 June 2018

Similarly, Google initially promised a web-like Android Play Store, where good apps would rise to the surface on their own merits, but eventually adopted an approval process similar to Apple's approach with its App Store. On desktops, Chrome enjoys undisputed popularity, being the browser of choice on every 2 out 3 desktop machines.

Google extensions platform product manager James Wagner wrote that "we continue to receive 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".

From today, newly published extensions that call the inline installation feature [chrome.webstore.install ()] will see users automatically redirected to the Chrome Web Store in a new tab, to complete the operation.

In 2015, Google tried to prevent abuse of inline installation, specifically for extensions that employed obvious deceptive tactics. Without these, user complaints significantly rose and extensions were more likely to be uninstalled.

As a result, Google has made a decision to retire inline installations on all platforms.

As we've attempted to address this problem over the past few years, we've 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.

Google has started enforcing the new rule by blocking inline installation for all extensions first published today, June 12th, 2018. The latest step involves deprecating installs on third-party sites and directing users to the Chrome Web Store.

Come September 12, 2018, all inline installs of existing extensions will be shut down and users will be redirected to the store, too. Finally, Google will completely kill the inline install API from Chrome 71 in early December 2018 to completely remove it from developers' options.

Developers are warned that they will need to update any inline links they have created for their extensions so they instead point to entries in the Chrome Web Store. You can also opt to use Google Chrome's install badge for greater visibility.

Because of this repeated pattern of abuse, Google has now chose to remove the inline installation process from the Chrome browser and the Chrome Web Store altogether.

Google will block Chrome extension installs outside its Web Store