Google is limiting Chrome extension installation to the Chrome Web Store

Google is limiting Chrome extension installation to the Chrome Web Store”

To try to squelch the problems, Google is removing the ability for websites to offer "inline installation", which lets them offer a link to an extension so you can install it without a round trip to the Chrome Web Store.

This change will result in users being required to visit the Chrome Web Store first before installing any extensions within the Chrome browser.

However, extensions can often modify the experience in ways that an average user may not be able to comprehend or predict. Google mentions on its Chromium blog that they have been receiving large volumes of complaints from users about unwanted extensions causing undesirable changes in the user experience, with the biggest culprit being extensions available through inline installation on websites.

The new rule has already started being implemented by Google, which is blocking inline installation for all extensions first published on June 12.

The reason for this change is because of malicious Chrome developers who've abused this feature to trick users into installing confusing, deceptive, or downright malicious Chrome extensions.

We have suggested for years that users need to verify Chrome extensions before installation, and that users should take a number of precautions as well. The company goes on to explain that the "Chrome Web Store plays a critical role in ensuring that users can make informed decisions about whether to install an extension". Without these, user complaints significantly rose and extensions were more likely to be uninstalled. But, the mechanism has been abused by attackers to trick users into downloading malicious extensions.

Google Chrome Inline Installation

On September 12, inline installation will be disabled for existing extensions with the inline install API removed on Chrome 71 in early December.

"We're proud of the choices the Chrome Web Store provides users in enhancing their browsing experience", said Wagner.

As Wagner notes, inline installations have been an issue for a long time. Come December and the launch of Chrome 71, the API that now allows for this way of installing extensions will go away.

It may be more hard for malicious actors to get users to install their extensions directly from the Web Store.

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. You can also opt to use Google Chrome's install badge for greater visibility.

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