After Google's removal: how to install the ClearURLs add-on manually in Chrome
Google removed the extension ClearURLs from the company's Chrome Web Store this week. The main purpose of the extension is to remove tracking elements from web addresses to protect the privacy of its users.
The developer of the extension published the letter that Google sent on the extensions GitHub page. According to the information published, Google had several objections, including that the description did not include the functions "donate, badges, logging, export/import", that it did not require the permission clipboardWrite, and that the description of the extension included keywords that were not required or irrelevant.
The developer suggested that Google may have removed the extension because it is disrupting Google's business model. Google did remove the long-standing highly popular extension without prior notice or option to get the issue resolved.
The author of the extension appealed the decision. If past removals of popular extensions are anything to go by, it is likely that it will be reinstated eventually as the outcry is already in full swing on sites such as Reddit or Hacker News. The add-on is still available on all other stores, e.g. the Mozilla AMO store for Firefox, and on GitHub.
While it is currently impossible to install the extension from the Chrome Web Store, users of Chrome may install it directly instead.
The following instructions provide a step-by-step walkthrough of installing the extension in Google Chrome:
- Download the latest version for Chrome from the project's releases page. At the time of writing, this was clearurls-1.21.0-chrome.crx.
- Extract the downloaded *.crx file to a folder on the local system; this folder is a permanent location for the add-on, so make sure it does not get deleted accidentally. Tools like PeaZip or 7-Zip can be used to extract the archive.
- Open the Google Chrome web browser.
- Load chrome://extensions/
- Enable Developer mode on the page.
- Select "Load unpacked" once Developer mode is enabled and pick the folder of the unpacked ClearURLs extension.
The extension remains installed across browsing sessions. You can use ClearURLs again in Chrome just like before.
Note: the only downside to this method is that it won't auto-update. To update, download the latest package from GitHub, put it in the same folder, and activate the reload button on the chrome://extensions page to update it.
Now You: What is your take on the removal?
The letter mentioned logging… Does this extension send user data back to the developers and they log it?
“What do we collect?
This extension protects and respects your privacy. We do notâ€”and will neverâ€”collect any of your usage data.”
By the way, ClearURLs belongs to Mozilla’s “Recommended” program!
“By the way, ClearURLs belongs to Mozillaâ€™s â€œRecommendedâ€ program!”
ClearURLs is trustworthy but not because of thee Mozilla Recommended program, Mozilla’s words having zero value. They recommend shady adware extensions like Cliqz’s Ghostery for profit. They gave the maximum grade in privacy and security to the Zoom teleconference software that doesn’t even encrypt end-to-end the communications and uses the data for itself, in all likelihood in exchange for help in attempting to make a web version that would work in Firefox and not just Chrome. And they did all sorts of shady anti-user actions themselves so many times that a Mozilla recommendation should be seen as repelling.
AMO routinely gives the stamp of ‘approval’ to extensions on windows which bundle executables acting against the best interest of the user. I would deem this malware, but other’s value of privacy or integrity might be lower.
Yes it does. Check your traffic and see it yourself.
if you worry about logging why are you using Chrome? or any other google web service?
Aggressive URL cleaning also often breaks functionality though, it’s not just always about tracking.
itâ€™s not just always about tracking.
But most of the time it is!!!
No it doesnâ€™t. This addon uses rules like an adblocker to clean only those parts used for tracking. Please read the wiki how it actually works before spreading dangerous FUD here.
Edit: The reply system seems broken and it posted my comment wrongly as new post rather than a reply.
“Edit: The reply system seems broken and it posted my comment wrongly as new post rather than a reply.”
@RTFM: Ghacks apparently switched to a new CDN. If you use a scriptblocker, review your settings for Ghacks and whitelist the new CDN.
@RTFM It absolutely does. I know how it works. Adblocker rules are made by humans only, you think they can’t make a mistake cleaning up URLs on *third party sites* that the rule creators know nothing about?
You are spreading FUD with your half baked knowledge of it. I spoke from my own experience and only after thoroughly testing such url cleaners. On Amazon India for example, CleanURL breaks sorting the search results. Disable it and it instantly begins to work.
I’ve used this extension religiously for well over a year now and have had zero problems of breakage. Scanning the issues you will find the odd reports of breakage, which you may report to the coder for quick remedy. The benefit by far outweighs the costs! Would never browse without it.
You have now yourself refuted your initial wide claim.
I had the extension installed before Google action. Does that mean it still functions?
Yes, it should continue to function, unless Google decided to pull it remotely.
it does not please Google so it is gone!!
Your method doesn’t work
It doesn’t find the extension in the folder although the .crx is present
You need to extract the CRX file to a folder, and select that folder for load unpacked.
I see your one of those people that doesn’t follow clear steps, just skips to the end because you think you know what to do, and then complains it doesn’t work.
Huh. Few days ago i have returned back to firefox browser. But i use different extension to strip tracking urls.
What is the difference between CleanURLs and NeatURL?
Issues solved, ClearURLs is back:
One shouldn’t have to do all that and to renounce to updates to install an important privacy extension that Google wants banned for bad reasons. They are testing us. As far as I know it may not even be possible at all to install a banned extension in regular Firefox, that once again aped Chrome. When enforcing their remote control on what the user may install without giving him the last word, they said “it’s for your privacy and security”. We warned that this was scummy, especially from companies like them. And now one more example of them abusing the power this system gave them, to attack user freedom and privacy.
> Now You: What is your take on the removal?
As helpful information,
Wonder about the data Google collects in Chrome and links to you? Now we know | gHacks Tech News
stop using chrome