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Restrictions imposed on Chrome browser extensions

Google has announced that it will restrict what extensions people can add to their Chrome browsers, after it has become increasingly worried about the malicious nature of some of the coding.

With millions of Windows users  using the browser and millions of extras downloaded, it means that many older extensions will now not work. Instead, Google is pointing users to its own online store where legible add-ons can be downloaded.

Extensions have proven very popular with users, allowing them to add games, programs and videos quickly and effectively.

Social has also been helped by many extras, with companies also taking an interest for how they can help get content out there and seen.

A number of search engine optimisation (SEO) extensions are used to tweak rankings and monitor progress in the increasingly competitive online sphere, often used by professional writing and strategy service firms.

However, Google is concerned that unchecked, many of these programs could be the initial point for malware, with the search company’s engineering director Erik Kay recently commenting on its blog:

“Malware can change how browsers work by silently installing extensions on your machine that do things like inject ads or track your browsing activity.”

This shift by Google was actually first announced back in November last year and was intended to come into force in January. However, it has given until now to start the enforcement in a bid to help developers get their programs approved for sale in the Google Web Store.

The blog posting went on to say that the firm would continue to support the development of local extensions and has introduced an enterprise policy to help with this.

Google will hope that this will go some way to maintaining the number of extras that can be used with Chrome, although some developers may baulk at the $5 (£2.95) registration fee to insert their add-ons on the web store.

Steven Morris

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