Google announces cull of low-quality, misleading Chrome extensions
With Google Chrome being far and away the foremost widely used browser, Google must constantly tweak protections, rules, and policies to stay malicious, unhelpful and otherwise potentially unwanted extensions out of the Chrome Web Store. the newest change of that sort has been announced for August 27th, 2020, when Google plans else from the CWS “low-quality and misleading” Chrome extensions.
The announced changes
According to Google, there are currently around 200,000 browser extensions on the CWS, and lots of users have trouble finding exactly what they need because they need to go through a mess of copycat apps, apps with fake reviews and ratings, apps with misleading functionalities, and so on.
In order to form life easier and safer for users, Google will forbid developers and their affiliates to submit/publish:
- Multiple extensions that provide duplicate experiences or functionality (e.g., wallpaper extensions that have different metadata but provide the user with an equivalent wallpaper when installed)
- Extensions whose only purpose is to put in or launch another app, theme, webpage, or extension
- Extensions that send messages on behalf of the user without giving the user the power to verify the content and intended recipients
- Extensions that have misleading, improperly formatted, non-descriptive, irrelevant, excessive, or inappropriate metadata (e.g., description, developer name, title, icon, etc.). “Developers must provide a transparent and well-written description. Unattributed or anonymous user testimonials within the app’s description also are not allowed,” Google explained.
Finally, developers are forbidden from artificially manipulating how the Chrome Web Store orders and displays their extension, from providing incentives for users to download their extension, and from inflating product ratings and reviews.
Developers are urged to review the changes, read the spam policy FAQ to raised understand them, and to start out reviewing their apps and removing people who fall afoul of the new spam policy before the August deadline.
While Google’s intentions are laudable, it remains to be seen how strict they’re going to be about removing misleading Chrome extensions and the way effective they’re going to be in preventing such extensions from being published on the CWS within the first place.