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Google blocks sideloading of Chrome extensions

To protect users from malicious attacks, Google has implemented a change to the Chrome browser so that extensions can now only be installed if they are downloaded from the Chrome Web Store. For end users, this means that you cannot download an extension from another source and try to install or force the browser to run it. By going through the Chrome Web Store, Google is hopping that this will prevent malicious developers from releasing extensions that are harmful to unsuspecting Chrome users.

The move will ensure that users will have a more safe browsing experiencing as malware can "work by silently installing extensions on your machine that do things like inject ads or track your browsing activity. If you notice strange ads, broken web pages or sluggish browsing after installing some new software or plugins, you could be affected," Google said.

Additionally, according to Google, "extensions that were previously installed may be automatically disabled and cannot be re-enabled or re-installed until they're hosted in the Chrome Web Store."

Source: Google

Chuong Nguyen
Senior Editor

Chuong's passion for gadgets began with the humble PDA. Since then, he has covered a range of consumer and enterprise devices, raning from smartphones to tablets, laptops to desktops and everything in between for publications like Pocketnow, Digital Trends, Wareable, Paste Magazine, and TechRadar in the past before joining the awesome team at Windows Central. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, when not working, he likes exploring the diverse and eclectic food scene, taking short jaunts to wine country, soaking in the sun along California's coast, consuming news, and finding new hiking trails. For news tips or to connect, please message him on the Signal messaging app at +1 (424) 666-7438. 

154 Comments
  • But what's the significance to WP users? I am not interested in google news.
  • Yes I agree, until they do Google apps this is of no relevance!
  • This is what happens when non WP writers post articles.
  • That is why you have an editor-in-chief who should police this sort of incompetence.  
  • Normally I don't mind articles that are not specifically about Windows Phone as long as there is some discreet connection (i.e. Windows 8.1, Surface, etc.) because it helps me expand my MS knowledge.  But this Chrome one placed here makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
  • Maybe they are demonstrating how shitty open source really is.
  • Yeah!!! Maybe they are saying "Look WP, and iOS users. Android isn't as open as it's naively hyped up to be"""
  • Did you read the article? What does this have to do with Android?
  • I confuse easily.. Please don't!!... Lol❗❗
  • You must suffer from some form of retardation if you believe all open source is terrible. I'm sorry, but I don't have the disposable income to pay for all of my software or buy Windows for every PC I own, so free, open source options are extremely helpful and beneficial to me and many others.
  • Because google, android and chrome are closely related maybe? Them you ask him if he's retarded because you can't afford closed source software? Yeah....
  • That comment had nothing to do with Android, my comment was a response to paraesthetic's generalization of the open source model being a piece of shit, which it generally is not. I think you're getting two seperate comments of mine confused.
  • Y'know, there has never ever been even one single innovation that's come from open source.  Everything has been derivative at best and just plain ripped off at worst.  Even Linux is just a rip-off of Unix and, more important, Xenix.
  • I never said that closed source is obsolete, open source was better or even innovative. I just said they were beneficial options for many consumers. Linux, GIMP, Inkscape, MuseScore. None of these are 'innovative' in the sense that Windows, Photoshop, Illustrator or Finale, their respective closed source counterparts, are. They're nowhere near as great either. But for the most part, they're still good, they get the job done, and most importantly they're FREE. So please don't tell me open source is shitty. Because owning that entire suite of closed source software I listed will cost you upwards of $1500 versus $0.
  • My thoughts exactly.
  • +1020
  • Yeah, same here. I don't usually complain about non-WP content but this one threw me for a loop. Why is it even on this site?
  • Maybe Microsoft is planning to buy Google...
  • I think some people use Google Chrome on their desktops (I don't, I use IE11). I remember seeing a headline picture used by Sam Sabri which had a PC with WPCentral.com or some other website opened in Chrome.
  • It depends, for me some pages render and work pretty well on Chrome, unfortunately the forums of Wpcentral, don't scroll or get comment locked In Ie whereas I chrome they dont
  • My usage is 80% IE11, 20% Firefox. I do keep Opera installed (it uses Blink - same Webkit based engine that Chrome uses) in case I come across some Chrome only BS. Opera gives me that without having to install any Google software on my PCs/ MacBookPro (soon to be replaced with SP3).
  • I'm with you SocialTouch. I have the same three browsers and do the same thing except my IE usage is in the ninety percentile. I've long sense deleted all of my google accounts and removed their software (chrome).
  • Someone give this man $10 000.
  • God dammit Chuong
  • +1; WP editorial team needs a wake-up call, what's with all thse BS articles that have nothing to do with WP or Windows or even Microsoft.  
  • If I wanted google news I'd read android central.. Anyway since loads of malware ends up in the android store, I don't see how this will make the chrome store any more secure...
  • Chrome is a very popular browser & this is simply a PSA. Everyone needs to just stop freaking out!
    I, personally had a hard time getting off Chrome, & now I'm contemplating going back because I haven't found anything as good. I want to like IE, but it's rendering engine is just so primitive. Maxthon is too buggy, has that annoying dock, & lacks too many features. Firefox is too sluggish, clunky, & prone to crashing/freezing. Avant gives you a choice of IE, Firefox, & Chrome rendering engines, but it's design is stuck in 1998. Picking a browser is hard & I end up using different one's for different things.
  • We all know that Chrome is a Piece of Shit Application.  Doesn't mean we need to hear about it ina Windows Phone blog.
  • By that logic there shouldn't be anything about the Nokia X phones, or Windows PCs or tablets in this blog because they're not Windows Phones. Chrome browser is not a POS, it renders much better than IE, & has many more options. Chrome OS is a flawed concept, & Android is the worst OS I've ever seen. Google got one of their software ventures right & it is the Chrome browser. If you deducted business & education use from the IE user base, I bet Chrome would blow the number of IE users out of the water. This article is important because most people who have Chrome know that this is a security vulnerability. Not everyone pays close attention to what they're agreeing to when they install new software & this will prevent junk software from hijacking their browser.
  • Every lousy, beta, half-abandoned "project" google comes up with is straight up trash.
  • Ok, I don't mind the off topic posts here and there because it general relates to Windows Phone in some way rather directly or not but, this post while it might be helpful is in no way related to WPcentral and would be better on Android Central. The flack this site will get over a post like this knowing how anti Windows Phone Google is not helpful.
  • I'm not sure what you mean by "its rendering engine is so primitive". The rendering engine is actually the most modern as it was created from scratch with ie9, not just piling more stuff on like he old gecko and webkit engines. The is engine is also much much faster. Chrome does have a webgl advantage however, but the browser and webpages are much faster with is 10/11
  • +920
  • Because a lot of people using "Windows" platform install Chrome program and extensions?
  • The significance is that IE has been bashed for years for being this (supposedly) bad browser full of holes. Which at this point it isn't! It's just been a target of malicious people for a long time for various reasons. Now Chrome is getting a lot more of that kind of (malicious) love. Therefore this article is significant because it shows Google who's partial claim-to-fame is being all inclusive and open, now has to resort to the strict monitoring efforts of a secured marketplace for it's browser extensions. Microsoft and Apple both have secure marketplaces in place for this very reason, among others. They don't want malicious content to get used in the wild without some means to shut it down. In a sense Google's bursting their own bubble. I'm sure they don't want many people realizing this, as propaganda and perspective will be used to reshape peoples opinion of them/this situation.
  • Seems faster
  • +1020
  • Whats happening with this site? Second subject that doesn't have anything to do with WP Today
  • Yeah, gets annoying.
  • I'm okay with some of the general Microsoft news they post on here, but this is very off putting. Not even in the same ecosystem.
  • I think its demonstrating how shit open source is. Even google is adopting the Windows model.
  • "Windows model". Don't be pathetic. 
  • Lol, just lol. The internet wouldn't even work without open source. (I.e. Open source projects)
  • This is very disrespectful and need not to happen again.
  • Only the second? You have some tolerance. =P
  • Sounds just like every other ecosystem out there. Maybe Google learned that safety comes at a cost.
  • To the author: add a poll here for WPCentral users asking who uses Chrome. I'm very curious to see how high the number is.
  • I do. I use IE too for sites like Outlook and Netflix but for general browsing and for many video sites I use Chrome because of the excellent Adblock Plus extension. Never found anything that worked as well in IE... Maybe I need to look again.
  • Same here. I can't live without Adblock.
  • adblock plus exists for IE... so what's your point?
  • TrackingProtection lists have been working beautifully for me in Metro IE 11. No ads, and I know that it's /that/ much harder for websites to track my online activity. :)
  • +1. I never knew tracking lists are so awesome
  • Try Adblock Plus for IE. I use Palemoon, personally, and I use it mainly for all the add-ons that IE doesn't have, nor anyone makes for it.
  • Use FF. It's superior in every way.
  • ^^This. I use IE, but when I want to block all BS content I always go for Firefox.  
  • Firefox is the sh*t! Chrome can't beat it! :)
  • Opera ftw!
  • Opera 12.16 yes. The new Opera has gone full Chrome and can't be trusted.
  • I do.
    It's my fav browser.
  • I use chrome. Much more responsive than other browsers I've used.
  • I use Chrome. IE sucks. #BitterTruth
  • I think you ment to post this on Android Central...
  • What's Chrome?
  • Isn't it something that Harley riders spend most of their lives polishing?
  • That and RuPaul fans
  • A super fast, super sleek web browser ;) haha jokes! I just use torch (yes it's based off chrome but works so much faster, plus built in torrenting xD)
  • Bittorrent 4ever, zamunda has 0seeds but seeds exchangew give me 1000 of them (watch_dogs reloaded)
  • FYI: To all those commenting about why Google news is on here...lookup the Mobile Nations Newsroom article posted on March 31st. http://www.wpcentral.com/introducing-mobile-nations-newsroom
  • That explains some of the weird stuff I've been seeing on CrackBerry. I guess the goal is admirable, but the execution is... random.
  • But this isn't mobile news...
  • I don't want to read that entire article to learn why non WP news is getting posted here.
  • Yet you'll read and comment on an article that you don't think belongs here? Alright, then...
  • Because the article sticks out like a sore thumb. I was half-way out of Android when WP7 came out, and completely out the door when WP8 came out - and have completely stopped using Google Search and Chrome altogether. So I understand Justin Salvato's concern about the article because it's the same as mine in this site called Windows Phone Central. You are probably an Android and/or Chrome guy so you have a different way of looking at the article.
  • I was using IE11 and Chrome on the work computer and noticed the start up time on IE11 really is faster on Windows 8 than Chrome.
  • Same here...
    Having said that, for all of IE11's speed, it sure is clunky! No automatic page translation, no 'paste and go' style functionality, no 'ctrl+browser back button' opening previous page in a new tab functionality. No automatic currency conversion when using Bing (£10 in US dollars for instance).
    Basically, Chrome allows me to get more done in a more coherent way. I still try to avoid using it because I really dislike Google. Nevertheless, Microsoft could learn a lot from Chrome's usability
  • I've found Opera to be the best Chrome alternative out there. It's missing a few features and is somewhat lacking on extensions, sure, but it has more features than IE and is a hell of a lot faster than Chrome or IE. And it's not clunky like Firefox. And it's not Google. ;)
  • Bing does to currency translation now, but yes - some functionality still looks like a left over from the olden days of IE / Netvigator.
  • About time, glad to see this implemented on what is clearly one of the best browsers out there. Thanks for the news!
  • Inject ads or track your browse activity, lol that's exactly what google does. If it's someone else doing this, that would be bad, I guess
  • Google doesn't like competition
  • This is more of an Android Central type article, is it not?
    I would think only a very small percentage (~30%) of regular WPC visitors use or care about Chrome. :/
  • Now you're sounding like people who use that excuse not to publish on wp.... Its only got 10% market share in UK... WP central obviously cares about all it's users!
  • ^that
  • As long as Chrome doesn't disable my old trusty "Send To WP7" plugin, I'll be ok.
  • Spelling mistake, hoping not hopping.
  • I'm hoping you didn't just post about one spelling error in the whole article
  • There's always one...
  • Google failing at open source, seems about right. This is why I left android.
  • Chrome is still more user friendly than IE - even if it is slower.
    So I wouldn't say it's a failed project!
  • And not even a flying duck was given...
  • Not significant to WP whatsoever. Yes it's general news but I don't visit WPCentral for my general news. Please stick to WP news. This is my favourite Windows Phone news site and I want it to stay that way
  • IE4LYFE
  • First, some tv shows reviews that i dont care, second, this. Come on, don't post stupid things just because, post stuff really related to WP if there aren't news, don post anything, but this crap make the site worst.
  • Why is this important? Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • This article is soooo Google. Intrusive and annoying...
  • Boogle don't care don't need to know.. This is WINDOWS PHONE CENTRAL!!!!!!!!
  • Great! :D
    Now Google will be the only one tracking me! Hoorah..
  • What does this have to do with WP?
  • Google: "We're trying to protect you from extensions that inject ads & track your browsing habits which are interfering with our ability to inject ads & track your browsing habits."
  • Lmao.. Exactly what I was thinking +925
  • I agree.
  • to all you people complaining about the article, simple solution dont click on the article of you are not intereted
  • Just because they have chrome on windows, doesn't mean it's very relevant to WPCentral...
  • Surface 3 Pro is very relevant(!)
  • I clicked on this article not because I'm interested in this news but interested in all the comments that would ensue about how this isn't WP or even Microsoft-ecosystem related.
  • This isn't WP news! While Xbox news is just relevant enough for WP central, chrome news is just relevant enough for android central, not WP central
  • Google will soon force a login to google+ go download extensions.
  • Tha only sweet about Google is you tube
  • No regard for the harm done by chrome itself, eh Google?
  • And this was posted to WPCentral, why?
  • Why is Surface 3 news here?
  • At least the surface 3 is in the same ecosystem.
  • I dunno what you're all whining about, guys.  A lot of windows users use Chrome.  A lot of windows tablets have Chrome installed on them.  Chrome, and web browsing in general, is a GIGANTIC part of the mobile computing world.  Also, knowing and hearing about the direct competition gives us insights into our own ecosystem, where it stands in the industry, what it does well, and what it is lacking in.    If you don't like, don't read.  The rest of us will read, enjoy, and appreciate. 
  • And Chrome is nothing more than a Spyware browser. Posted via Windows Phone Central App
  • Where is WhatsApp?
  • What's a WhatsApp?
  • This breaks my company's VPN
  • How does this affect Windows phone?
  • Complaints,complaints,only complaints,,,,,you guys tried suicide?
  • I agree with others, I can see no reason why an article having NOTHING to do with windows phone or even Microsoft is doing on a WINDOWS PHONE site?
  • Why is this on WINDOWS PHONE central?
  • Why is Surface 3 Pro news here?
  • Google Chrome runs on Windows and thus this article is related. However if you post 'offtopic' comments about WhatsApp or anything else, you are an idiot and should have posted on forums instead. /s
  • Um, who cares. This is WPC.
     
  • I didn't read the article, only the comments. :D
  • Annoyed by this, I use a few extensions that chrome wont let be in the store.
  • How about they side load it with windows?
  • As many others have said, why the hell is this on WPC?
  • Just out of curiosity, but instead of trying to police what their customers add to their browser, why don't Google just fix their software?
  • And we would give a s**t... why? I'm pretty sure 90% of us here don't like Google or don't use their services.
  • And I'm in that 90% !
  • Can someone delete this article?
  • Wow, people still use chrome? Yuck
  • Who cares ?
  • And nobody gives a f**k about this stupid article ! Is it even related to WP or any MSFT product?
  • Chrome browser is a windows program. Relevant enough?
  • So ? There are many programs which are windows based so they should post everything here? Scroll up/down and see the comments nobody wants Google news here! And this site is called "windows phone" central ! -_-
  • I say all Windows 8/8.1 users should consider removing Chrome from their system.  Google has no interest in Chrome taking advantage of Windows 8/8.1 features. They just want a platform for ChromeOS. It's the only reason why there's that lame Windows 8 mode. It's time people push Chrome aside. Use any browser but Chrome. Heck, Firefox works much better with touch than Chrome. Firefox is much more agnostic than Google. Google abandoned their "don't be evil" a long long time ago.
  • I thought this article was interesting. Most people use chrome as their browser and Wpcentral would know what percentage of users use chrome that visit their site. Good information.
  • I use chrome to update apps because i can't see the replace xap in IE. The same issue in firefox.
  • What the hell does this got to do with WPCentral (Windows Phone Central)..? This article should be removed from here just like off-topic comments that have been removed.
  • IDM fail. Lol. Buut what will we (devs) do to test our apps? Will we use a Chrome Simulator lol?
  • Another useless comment.
  • Please rename WPC to MicrosoftCentral, iMore to AppleMore, and AndroidCentral to GoogleNow or something. THEN we can whine properly when we have Google news not in the right place.
  • I actually think this is good information.  Lately, I have been having a terrible time with malware popups in IE.  I have run all kinds of malware programs and still can't get rid of it.  I think it's a good idea to have some approval of addins in the browsers. Perhaps MS will initiate something like this for IE..
  • wrong place.
  • I use Chrome on my laptop, I love my Windows phone. The two things aren't mutually exclusive.
    No idea where people get the idea that only Chrome tracks and stores your browsing habits. When I do use IE, I've noticed it targets the ads to things I've previously browsed in exactly the same way as Chrome.
    Though I did laugh at the idea that Google Play means no malware, I gave up on my Android tablet because of the malware all of which came from Google play.
    Also preventing sideloading will be such a pain, as lots of apps in the Play store give the 'not for your device' message, the only way to get them is by side loading.
  • Google is "hopping" ... Well.
  • Lol not even remotely WP related......however I want to knkw if this effects Dark Wallet
  • Omg yay :)
  • The significance of the article is Chrome runs under Windows, so now google is taking a step to keep malware out of Chrome which will also keep malware out of Windows. Totally relevant. Yeah?
  • Certified PC Tech here.
    I see a bunch of people having extensions like Snap.Do and Conduit being installed on their system. Hopefully, Chrome will prevent this.
  • I Also disagree in the "Primitive engine" from IE. there are still issues with it, they are not quite closely related to it. The problem i mostly see is the hard work to render everything in 100% fidelity, but thats due to pages extensively developing to Webkit/blink and leaving others somewhat behind. But its a fast engine, maybe faster than almost every other found in mainstream browsers. The issues i dislike in IE are first, MS policy on slowly adapting new web Technologies into it in a too conservative/cautious way, to prevent bugs (they could risk more), its lack of extensions in number and its performance in low end pcs/laptops, where it absolutely sucks... Talking about core functionality and speed over capable hardware, both which are what i think the most important sides of a browser, it is the Best available.
  • Google Chrome Central.