Back in May of last year, Google started enforcing a policy that requires Chrome extensions be hosted on its Chrome Web Store, but only on Windows. The goal was to prevent malware hidden in extensions installable from outside its store, and it even started disabling extensions already installed on users’ systems that weren’t hosted on the Chrome Web Store. Now, Google says it will bring that requirement to Mac Chrome users over the coming months, as well as the Chrome developer channel for Windows that wasn’t previously enforcing the policy:
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We originally did not enforce this policy on the Windows developer channel in order to allow developers to opt out. Unfortunately, we’ve since observed malicious software forcing users into the developer channel in order to install unwanted off-store extensions. Affected users are left with malicious extensions running on a Chrome channel they did not choose. As such, starting today we will begin enforcing this policy on all Windows channels.
Google notes that after first enabling the requirement for Windows it witnessed a “75% drop in customer support help requests for uninstalling unwanted extensions.”
Google says Mac support will start rolling out sometime in July of this year. Developers will still be able to install extensions without going through the store using “local extension installs during development as well as installs via Enterprise policy.”
Developers with extensions not yet on the Chrome Web Store can submit here.