Browser extensions let you do everything from blocking ads to saving documents to changing the behavior of your web browser’s tabs, windows, or toolbars.

I’d have a hard time getting anything done without the LastPass password manager extension, and I’ve got a few others installed that come in handy from time to time.

Odds are you’ve got a list of your own… and if you’re a Google Chrome users, you’re probably going to want to make sure they’re available from the Chrome Web Store, because by the end of the year Google is going to block installation of Chrome extensions distributed through other channels.

The company says it’s making the move to minimize “complaints from users about unwanted extensions causing their Chrome experience to change unexpectedly.”

The idea is to keep users from accidentally installing an extension by clicking links on websites… and when you actually want to install an extensions, you’ll be taken to the Chrome Web Store where you can see a description of that extensions so you understand what it can do.

Google says users are much less likely to uninstall extensions if they were first downloaded from the Chrome Web Store.

If any of this sounds familiar, that’s because Google actually made a similar move way back in 2013… what’s changing now is that even the inline installation method is going away.

The change is coming in three phases. Starting today, newly published extensions with the chrome.webstore.install() function will redirect users to the Chrome Web Store in a new tab. Starting September 12th, you won’t be able to install existing extensions without going to the Chrome Web Store. And when Google rolls out Chrome 71 in December, 2018 the browser won’t even have an inline install API method at all.

While the move is probably going to be a good thing for most users, it could make things more difficult for power users, developers, and those who want to install extensions that may not be available in the Chrome Web Store for one reason or another.


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7 replies on “Soon you’ll only be able to install Google Chrome extensions from the Chrome Web Store”

  1. Im sure they wont suddenly withdraw certain extensions that go against certain google polices will they?

  2. They said I’d be able to run Angry Birds on my Chromebook ‘soon’, but was 2 years ago. I’m still waiting…

  3. A sad day for power users, for sure, but I can see why they did it. Checking my antivirus console, I can often see tens or hundreds of attempted browser infections with malicious Chrome extensions every day on our clients’ computers. One of the many challenges of working IT in the education sector. 😛

  4. Lame, I don’t use it anymore but in the past I kept the installer for an old version of Shareaholic because newer versions required a user account (that was lame too). Same for an eBay extension at one point. I’m sure I’m not the only one with a valid reason to use inline installation…

    1. I am sure a lot of people have reason to install extensions not approved by Google. This is just another reason to switch installers, I prefer Firefox (Chrome or Chromium just didn’t do it for me, Vivaldi is OK and works better on under-powered computers than Chrome or Firefox but there are some quirks with the bookmarking system that don’t come intuitively to me) but I can’t say I have needed to install another web app/extension that wasn’t in the Firefox web store. If this stops people from installing general programs such as Libre Office or Handbrake from the web then it will be a big problem for many people. Edge still allows installation of Firefox but if Microsoft takes the same route as Google and this stops the installation of general programs we could have a big problem.

      1. This has nothing to do with stopping people from installing general apps. Google would hurt themselves if they did that, since they don’t own a Windows or Linux app store.

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