Google's New Chrome Store Badges Should Help You Avoid Sketchy Browser Extensions

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Have you ever worried whether or not a Google Chrome extension is legitimate? You can soon put those worries behind you. Google has just rolled out two badges to confirm that a Chrome extension is valid. These badges will be visible to users as they browse the Chrome Web Store.

The "Featured" badge is only assigned to extensions that "follow [Chrome’s] technical best practices and meet a high standard of user experience and design." An extension can only receive the Featured badge if it follows the Chrome Web Store’s best practices guidelines and has a store listing page that is clear and user friendly. Best practices include but are not limited to "providing an enjoyable and intuitive experience, using the latest platform APIs and respecting the privacy of end-users."

The Established Publisher badge is given to publishers who are verified and have a reputation for compliance with the Developer Program Policy. Those who receive the Established Publisher badge have a good "track record." Chrome noted that 75% of all extensions in the Chrome Web Store should currently qualify for this badge and it expects that this number will increase over the next few months. This means that new extensions and any developer with unresolved developer policy violations cannot receive this badge. Publishers also cannot pay to get the badge.
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These badges are great for consumers but also work in the developer’s favor. According to Chrome, "Developers who earn these badges may receive higher rankings in search and filtering, and might also see their extensions appear in special promotions both on and off Chrome Web Store." More established developers will initially have a greater advantage but Chrome noted that it will only take new developers a "few months of respecting these conditions to qualify."

Google Chrome has overall had a rough few days and the news about these badges is welcome. Google began to roll out an emergency patch to address a zero-day vulnerability late last week. We know little about the vulnerability at the moment but do know that Google released the patch a mere few days after learning about the vulnerability.

Images courtesy of Google Chrome