In an ongoing effort to tighten their control on services, Google has announced that their Chrome browser will no longer support extensions loaded from outside the Web Store. Google says they’ve had complaints lately regarding the security issues brought on by such extensions, with things like browser settings being altered without permission. The new policy will go into effect starting in January.
Currently, this only affect Chrome users on Windows, but could see a wider swathe should Google get further complaints. Saying that the extension were using the existing security mechanism to alter browser settings, among other things, Google Engineering Director Erik Kay also said the changes would affect both Stable and Beta channels of Chrome.
While troublesome, Chrome always has the backup feature of sandboxing to prevent widespread malice. Kay also suggests that any Developer with an extension currently not in the Chrome Web Store submit it for approval, which typically takes no longer than a few days. Once submitted, the extensions can run without incident on browsers, even if loaded before the January cutoff.
This serves as further notice that, when loading apps or extensions from outside sources, it’s wise to be confident in the source. We’d like to think this is strictly a Windows issue, but we also wonder if this is a measure to shore up compliance ahead of the anticipated — dare we say expected — arrival of extensions for the Chrome mobile app.