Google retires Chrome extension inline installations

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Newly published code that makes use of the chrome.webstore.install () function will present a Chrome Web Store tab to carry out the installation instead of triggering that action directly.

"As we've attempted to address this problem over the past few years, we've learned that the information displayed alongside extensions in the Chrome Web Store plays a critical role in ensuring that users can make informed decisions about whether to install an extension", James Wagner, the product manager for the extensions platform, writes in today's update. Now Google is stepping in and will tighten security by soon preventing extensions from being installed from outside its own Chrome Web Store.

Google notes in its announcement that inline installed extensions have a higher user complaint ratio and are uninstalled significantly more often than extensions installed from the Web Store.

Starting today, all new Chrome extensions will not be able to provide inline installs to users. Also, Google found that users are less likely to uninstall an add-on or complain about it if it came from the official extension portal, compared to extensions installed through inline installation.

However, just four years later Google was forced to disable inline installations for extensions that were linked to deceptive sites and ads.

In order to prove that extensions in the Chrome store are legit and the best course of action, Google has written a research paper on its extension cleansing efforts.

First, as of Tuesday, new extensions can't be installed inline.

September 12, 2018: inline installation will be disabled for existing extensions, and users will be automatically redirected to the Chrome Web Store to complete the installation.

The company and its users experienced wave after wave of issues with malicious or deceptive Chrome extensions.

Early December will see the inline install application programming interface completely removed from Chrome version 71.

That change will be necessary because Google will remove inline installation programming support with the forthcoming Chrome 71.

Older extensions will continue with established behavior - showing an installation confirmation dialog that's distinct from the Chrome Web Store display. Soon, Chrome will no longer allow such extensions but it's not going to happen all at once to give legit extension developers time to move their software to the Web Store.