Google has announced a major change to the way extensions can be installed on the Chrome browser. Until now, Chrome users could download and install the extensions from third party websites and sources other than the Chrome Web store. According to Google’s latest update, Chrome users will now be barred from downloading and installing extensions from external sources.
The inline installation API will be removed from the browser with the release of Chrome 71. This change is expected to take place by December this year. Needless to say, this move will affect Chrome users across Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chrome OS. Lately, Google has been going down heavily on illegitimate apps. Some extensions stealthily used cloud mining services to run background processes on the users’ systems. Google has already banned cryptocurrency mining extensions and even Apple did the same just a couple of days back.
That being said, the removal on inline installation should essentially shift the focus to Chrome Web store. App publishers will now beeline and try to publish their Chrome extensions on the Web store. With this in place, it is quite likely that Google will also get a cut of the revenue earned by the web publishers. This should also help Google safeguard its users from attacks carried out via malicious extensions.
However, the company might take some flak from the users for removing the inline installation feature. Some of the extensions are from small-time developers, yet they are very useful and score well on the utilitarian grounds. There is no guarantee that all the extensions will be allowed on the Google Web Store. This creates a situation wherein users are locked to the options the store has to offer.
Google assures the users that the removal of inline installation is in their own interests. The company has detailed in its blog on how this will reduce the rate of uninstallation and help developers achieve better engagement. The Inline installations will be disabled for the existing extensions by September this year and the API method will be removed starting from Chrome 71. The inline installation for the new extensions will be disabled starting now.