Google announced back in November that it would start requiring all Chrome extensions to be hosted in the Chrome Web Store for its Windows stable and beta channels (starting in January). Google announced today that it is now enforcing this.
Extensions will only be able to be installed if they’re hosted on the Chrome Web Store. Previously installed extensions may be automatically disabled, and will have to be re-installed if they become hosted on the Chrome Web Store.
“We’re constantly working to keep Chrome users safe as they browse, with built-in features like Safe Browsing, which blocks many types of malicious websites and downloads,” says Erik Kay, Engineering Director in a post on the Chrome blog. “In the case that malicious software has managed to hijack your settings, we’ve added a “reset browser settings” button, so you can get things back to normal. But since the bad guys continue to come up with new ways to cause our users headaches, we are always taking additional measures.”
“Malware can change how browsers work by silently installing extensions on your machine that do things like inject ads or track your browsing activity,” Kay adds. “If you notice strange ads, broken web pages or sluggish browsing after installing some new software or plugins, you could be affected.”
Hence the changes.
Google says it will continue to support local extension installs during development for developers as well as installs via Enterprise policy. More on that here.
Chrome users on the Windows developer channel and other operating systems are not affected by the changes.