Google takes even more action against deceptive Chrome extension installations
Google wants to do more against deceptive Chrome extension installations; the company announced a number of changes that it hopes will reduce the number of deceptive installations starting July 1, 2019.
Google announced a first wave of changes to combat deceptive extension installations in 2018 when it announced the retirement of inline installations. Inline installations of extensions kept the entire extension installation process on third-party sites. The change enforced the installation through the official Chrome Web Store instead and the reasoning behind that was that users would have access to information that the inline installation dialog would not provide.
It did not take long before shady extension developers found a way around the new limitation. One method used would simply change the size of the Chrome Web Store window so that limited information and the "add to Chrome" button was visible to the user.
The changes announced today address the described issue and other methods used by shady extension developers to get their extensions installed on user devices.
Google mentions the following "deceptive installation tactics" specifically:
- Misleading interactive elements, e.g. call to action buttons or forms that "imply an outcome other than the installation of an extension".
- Modifying the site of the Chrome Web Store item listing window to withhold or hide information".
- Unclear or inconspicuous disclosures, e.g. not revealing to the user that an extension will be downloaded or installed or explaining what the extension does clearly.
Google notes that the previous changes dropped complaints about unwanted extension installations by 18%. The company hopes that the newly announced changes will reduce the number of users affected by deceptive installations further.
The changes will go live on July 1st, 2019. Google plans to remove extensions from the Chrome Web Store if they violate these new policies. The action that Google will take may differ depending on the "egregiousness of the deceptive behavior". It may include immediate removal from the Chrome Web Store and disabling on user systems or a warning email instead.
A developer FAQ has been published that provides further information for extension developers.
Google's previous actions against deceptive extension installations dropped user complaints but they did not eliminate the issue entirely. The new methods will surely improve the situation further but it seems unlikely that they will eliminate the issue entirely.
Now You: How do you install extensions in your browser of choice? Do you read user reviews or web reviews?Advertisement