Google pulls direct Chrome extension installations - Security

Chrome extensions will soon only be installed at the Chrome Web Store

Finally, Google will completely kill the inline install API from Chrome 71 in early December 2018 to completely remove it from developers' options. The latest step involves deprecating installs on third-party sites and directing users to the Chrome Web Store. "We're confident this change will improve transparency for all users about their extension choices in Chrome".

Today: inline installation will be unavailable to all newly published extensions. One thing is certain: while the retiring of inline Chrome extension installations will have a positive impact, it won't suddenly free the Chrome Web Store from user tracking or outright malicious extensions.

Chrome extension developers are required to add their extensions to the Chrome Web Store but they could distribute it using inline installations up until now.

The reason, as you'd expect, is security, with Google saying that exploits are reduced significantly if third-party sites are taken out of the equation.

This tactic has been quite successful because users never visited the Chrome Web Store listing, and would never see an extension's bad rating or negative user reviews, which often contained warnings or important clues about the extension's real behavior.

First, as of Tuesday, new extensions can't be installed inline.

Chrome extensions will soon only be installed at the Chrome Web Store

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.

Extension developers who use inline installations now need to change the install buttons on their web properties before Chrome 71's release in December so that they link to the Chrome Web Store instead.

September 12, 2018: inline installation will be disabled for existing extensions, and users will be automatically redirected to the Chrome Web Store to complete the installation. Users will now only be able to install extensions from within the Google Chrome Web Store, where they can view all information about an extension's functionality prior to installation, and thus make an informed decision.

The company and its users experienced wave after wave of issues with malicious or deceptive Chrome extensions. You can also opt to use Google Chrome's install badge for greater visibility.

However, it is likely that this new change will ruffle the feathers of existing extension owners who rely on the inline install method for legitimate installs of their extensions.

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