Google is limiting Chrome extension installation to the Chrome Web Store

Extensions are part and parcel of a modern browsing experience, and Google had just made a move to improve transparency in the installation experience.

The firm will now require all Chrome extensions to be installed through the Chrome Web Store as opposed to the current status quo where websites can install Chrome extensions directly without needing to navigate away from the site.

The move will take place in three phases as per the Chromium blog:

  • Starting today, inline installation will be unavailable to all newly published extensions. Extensions first published on June 12, 2018 or later that attempt to call the chrome.webstore.install() function will automatically redirect the user to the Chrome Web Store in a new tab to complete the installation.
  • Starting 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.
  • In early December 2018, the inline install API method will be removed from Chrome 71.

Google is advising extension developers who allow direct installations to instead link to their Chrome Web Store page (and create one should they not have already).

One of the advantages of this is the elimination of malicious extensions which appear on spammy sites or what Google calls "confusing or deceptive uses of inline installation on websites." By forcing all extensions to reroute to the Chrome Web Store where some form of vetting or accountability is present (though not foolproof), Google likely hopes to reduce the incidence of the above and improve the Chrome experience for all.

Source: Chromium Blog

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