GOOGLE HAS ANNOUNCED that Windows users can no longer install third-party extensions in its Chrome web browser.
The company had previously warned developers that the change was coming, but in a blog post yesterday, it confirmed the rollout of the new policy for Windows users, five months later than originally billed, which it hopes will improve web browser security.
The main targets of the policy are silent installing extensions that install in the background of genuine install, hijacking the existing settings in favour of an alternative, sometimes malevolent search provider, spoofed web pages or allowing irritating pop-up ads otherwise reminiscent of the web browsers of the late 1990s.
All Chrome extensions must now be installed from the Chrome Web Store, Google said, and all other extensions are now permanently disabled.
Erik Kay, Google's Engineering Director said, "Malware can change how browsers work by silently installing extensions on your machine that do things like inject ads or track your browsing activity.
"Since the bad guys continue to come up with new ways to cause our users headaches, we are always taking additional measures. This is just one more step we are taking to make sure our users can browse safely, and enjoy all the Web has to offer without worrying."
Third-party extensions will still operate within a development environment or as part of an Enterprise policy as part of the inline installs feature.
Google last updated the cross-platform Chrome environment last week to include a folder organiser for its app launcher, and an undo function for tabs closed by mistake. µ