Like many other web browsers, Google Chrome can work with third-party extensions that change the way the browser behaves under certain circumstances. Want to change every instance of the word “cloud” in a web page with the word “butt?” There’s an extension for that.
There are plenty of other extensions available from the Chrome Web Store. But it’s also possible to install extensions from third-party sources in some versions of Chrome. But Google’s going to make it tougher to do that.
Last year the company started blocking extensions that weren’t downloaded from the Chrome Web Store for most Windows users. Now Google is extending that ban on extensions from outside the Web Store to Mac users and to Windows users running the dev channel.
The company says this policy cuts down on users accidentally installing extensions that may contain malware or they simply didn’t want mean to install in the first place. On Windows, Google says this has led to a 75 percent drop in customer support requests for help uninstalling unwanted extensions.
Still, this is the sort of move that’s going to bug some people who prefer to get their software from outside the walled garden of an official app store. Fortunately, there are alternatives to Chrome that don’t have the same restriction.