Google has just announced that it will stop installation of extensions for Google Chrome from websites. The company stated that the reason for this was to fight “unwanted extensions”. Extensions are basically small specialized programs that extend the functionality of the browser to add features that don’t ship out-of-the-box. The company took to its Chromium blog to post the details about this move adding that it has received “large volume of complaints” from Google Chrome users about unwanted extensions. For the uninitiated, Chromium is the open-source browser project by Google and Chrome is build on it.
James Wagner, the product manager for the Extensions platform in the Google Chrome team pointed out that most of the complaints were because of “confusing or deceptive” use “of inline installation” of Chrome extensions on websites. The company has continued to address this issue “over the past few years” noting that the information that is “displayed alongside extensions” is important in making sure that users make informed decisions. Something that is already available for all the Chrome extensions available as part of the Google Chrome Web Store. Wagner also stated that the extensions that were installed using the Chrome Web Store are “significantly less likely” to be uninstalled with far lesser user complaints.
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Considering these facts, the company will retire inline Chrome extension installation “on all platforms”. Users will only be able to use Google Chrome Web Store to install extensions. This new move will be rolled out in three different phases.
As part of the first phase, inline installation will not be available for all the “newly published extensions”. Any extension that was published after June 12, 2018, and tried to call the “chrome.webstore.install ()” function will be redirected to Chrome Web Store. Inline installation will be disabled for all the existing Chrome extensions, and users will be directed to the Web Store listing to complete the installation.
Last but not the least, Google will remove the inline install API method from early December 2018 with the release of Chrome 71. The company has advised developers to “update install buttons” on their websites with the Chrome Web Store page listings of the corresponding extensions.