Google Swings The Ban Hammer On Unofficial Chrome Extensions

Google on Wednesday announced that it will actively block Windows and Mac users from installing extensions to the Chrome browser that are not found in the Chrome Web Store. It's the same policy that's been in place for Windows users since May of last year, though Google didn't enforce it for the developer version of Chrome. Now it will, as increasingly complex malware is becoming too big of a problem.

"We originally did not enforce this policy on the Windows developer channel in order to allow developers to opt out. Unfortunately, we’ve since observed malicious software forcing users into the developer channel in order to install unwanted off-store extensions," Google said in a blog post. "Affected users are left with malicious extensions running on a Chrome channel they did not choose. As such, starting today we will begin enforcing this policy on all Windows channels. Mac will soon follow, with enforcement for all channels beginning in July 2015."

Chrome Web Store

There will undoubtedly be some backlash to Google's new policy, though the company is looking at the bigger picture. There are also benefits that reach beyond protecting users from malware -- since implementing the policy a year ago, it's seen a 75 percent drop in customer support help requests for uninstalling unwanted extensions.

Google said it will continue to support local extension installs during development along with those that follow its Enterprise policy. Developers can also make use of the existing inline installation feature, Google said.