A recent post on the Chromium blog revealed two changes coming to the Google Chrome Extensions Gallery. Both changes are introduced to increase the efforts made so far to protect Chrome users from the distribution of malicious extensions on the store.
In the current system all users can upload Chrome extensions to the gallery, and malicious developers could simply use that to their advantage to either spam the website, or distribute malicious extensions easily as there is no safeguard in place other than the need to have a Google account to do so.
The new developer fee of $5 is a one time fee that new developers have to pay before they are allowed to publish extensions, themes and apps in the gallery (apps seems to hint at the long talked about Chrome app store).
The $5 fee "is intended to create better safeguards against fraudulent extensions in the gallery and limit the activity of malicious developer accounts", says Gregor Hochmuth, Chromium Product Manager.
The theory is that malicious developers may not want to make the $5 payment to distribute their apps, considering that the payment may be linked to a person making the payment.
It is unclear at this point in time how the payments are processed but the likelihood is that Google Checkout will be used for that.
On the other hand, a $5 payment may prevent extension developers from developing extensions for the Chrome browser. While this may be not the case in the US or Europe, users from countries with a much lower average income may think twice before they spend that money especially if their extension is offered for free.
Google has added domain verification as another security improvement. Chrome "developers will be able to associate their extensions (and soon their apps) with domains they own or manage using Google’s Webmaster Tools".
This basically links extensions to a website and sometimes brand, to help Chrome users identify official extensions from unofficial ones. It may also increase the trust of users in certain extension if they realize that it is official and not by a third-party.
What's your take on this? Let us know in the comments.
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