Google announced in November that it was going to start cracking down on Chrome extensions, particularly on the Windows platform. The warning became reality this past week as Google is now enforcing the policy it laid out last year. If you run Chrome for Windows — either the Beta or Stable channel — all of your browser extensions will be had through the Chrome Web Store. Chrome Canary and the developer channel of Chrome on Windows are exempt from this; these channels can still install Chrome extensions from any source.
Why the new policy? There have been too many reports of malware-infested extensions for Google to ignore. Some extensions were doing things behind the scenes and unknown to users, such as, according to Google, “silently installing extensions on your machine that do things like inject ads or track your browsing activity.” And that’s a no-no. So it’s actually good that Google is adding this centralized layer of control in some respects; just keep that in mind if you used to add extensions from third-party sources on a Windows computer.
We discuss this new policy on the Chrome Show podcast, along with some other Chrome news: You’ll be able to get either of Asus’ new Chromebooks — the 11.6-inch or the 13.3-inch model — for the same $249 price, for example. And there’s good news if the Files app on your Chrome OS device is running a bit slow for your taste. Tune in below or download the episode to hear this week’s podcast.