Google Chrome

Over the years, Google has had to battle nefarious Chrome extensions that slow down the browser or change the user experience. The latest step involves deprecating installs on third-party sites and directing users to the Chrome Web Store.

To combat the issue in the past year, Google has introduced new polices, like banning cryptocurrency mining, and applying machine learning to counter deceptive extension installations.

However, we continue to receive large volumes of complaints from users about unwanted extensions causing their Chrome experience to change unexpectedly — and the majority of these complaints are attributed to confusing or deceptive uses of inline installation on websites.

The issue is specifically attributable to a Chrome feature that lets websites directly surface system prompts to download an extention. A third-party site may have an “Install” button that when clicked opens a panel that asks if users want to “Add” the extension and only notes a user rating, number of users, and required permissions.

In contrast, Google has found that installations from the Chrome Web Store that feature ample information like descriptions, screenshots, reviews, and support results in “significantly less” user complaints and uninstalls.

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.

As such, this summer, extensions can only be installed from Chrome’s app store with changes starting today. Newly published extensions will no longer support inline installation, with users automatically directed to the Chrome Web Store listing in a new tab.

On September 12, inline installation will be disabled for existing extensions with the inline install API removed on Chrome 71 in early December. Google advises developers to update install buttons on sites to link to the Web Store.

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About the Author

Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: