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Google announces changes to Chrome Web Store policies to help fight spammy extensions

Google announces changes to Chrome Web Store policies to help fight spammy extensions


The fight against spam never ends

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The Google Chrome logo in the center of a web-like graphic.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Google’s Chrome Web Store is the biggest catalog of browser extensions around, but as with any successful chunk of the internet, more things on offer to install means more scammers and spammers trying to sneak their trash into the mix or looking to abuse the system for their own gain.

To that end, Google is introducing several new rules for the Chrome Web Store to help cut down on spammy extensions. Developers of the over 200,000 extensions on the Chrome Web Store will have until August 27th to make any necessary changes to their extensions or risk getting booted from the store.

Here’s what’s no longer allowed:

  • Developers can’t multiple extensions that do the same thing
  • Extensions can’t have misleading descriptions, developer names, titles, icons, screenshots, or promotional images
  • Developers can’t try to get better placement for their extension by manipulating reviews, install counts, or ratings by incentivizing false downloads or reviews
  • Extensions that only launch other apps or websites aren’t allowed
  • Extensions that abuse notifications by showing “spam, ads, promotions, phishing attempts, or unwanted messages that harm the user’s browsing experience” are banned
  • Extensions that send messages for users without giving them a chance to confirm both the message and the recipient are banned

The full updated policy can be found on the Chrome Developer Program Policy site here. Google also has a FAQ site for the new spam policy to help further clarify what is and isn’t allowed going forward.