Google today announced “two significant changes” to the Chrome Web Store for extension developers. There’s a new default dashboard and up-front registration fee likely aimed at combating spam.

The biggest change sees Google charge the $5 registration fee to become a Chrome Web Store developer immediately. Previously, this payment was only required when making an item available to the public.

Registered developers that have never published publicly will now have to pay the fee before they can access the CWS developer dashboard. This applies to those that only release extensions to private domains and trusted testers.

If you have published to private domain or to trusted testers, but not to the public, you will now need to pay the registration fee. Note: This will look like a new developer registration flow, but all that’s required is to pay the fee and complete the flow.

There is no change for developers that already have Chrome Web Store listings, while new ones have to start off by paying the fee. This measure and requiring a payment method on file is likely intended to increase the barrier to publishing abusive extensions anywhere on the web.

Meanwhile, after taking feedback and making improvements, the Chrome Web Store’s new developer dashboard is now the default when you directly navigate or bookmark it, and when visiting from Settings > Developer Dashboard.

However, feature parity has not been reached with the old version still needed to:

  • Transfer items
  • Edit or publish a paid item, or add in-app purchases, using Chrome Web Store Payments
  • View an item’s public key
  • Re-order screenshots
  • Preview a new version of your item or promotional tiles
  • View revenue stats

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