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Google is tightening up Chrome extensions so you can’t install them from websites

Google is tightening up Chrome extensions so you can’t install them from websites


Inline installation is going away

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Stock imagery of the Chrome logo.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Google is announcing some changes to the way it handles extensions in its Chrome browser. Starting today, newly published extensions will only be available in the Chrome Web Store. For years, web developers have been able to trigger installations of Chrome extensions from their own websites, or inline installation as Google calls it, but Google is phasing this method out.

“We continue to receive large volumes of complaints from users about unwanted extensions causing their Chrome experience to change unexpectedly,” explains ​James Wagner, Google’s extensions platform product manager. “The majority of these complaints are attributed to confusing or deceptive uses of inline installation on websites.”

Inline installation will be removed in September

While Google has attempted to address these misleading extensions, the Chrome Web Store displays a lot more information about extensions. Google says extensions installed from the Chrome Web Store directly are “significantly less likely” to be uninstalled compared to inline ones. Google is planning to remove inline installation from Chrome for existing extensions starting on September 12th, and Chrome users will be redirected to the Web Store. With Chrome 71 in early December, Google is also planning to remove the inline install API method entirely.

“We’re confident this change will improve transparency for all users about their extension choices in Chrome,” says Wagner. The changes mean that you’ll only be able to install Chrome extensions from the Web Store, and developers will need to update their install buttons to link to the Chrome Web Store page instead. These new changes should also prevent Chrome users from installing extensions they don’t need or simply stop them from being misled into installing an extension.