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Google To Block Local Chrome Extensions On Windows Starting In January 260

Posted by timothy
from the ratcheting-down dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Google today announced it will block local Chrome extensions starting in January, but only on the Windows platform. This means that next year, Windows users will only be able to install extensions for the company's browser from the Chrome Web Store. The changes will affect both Chrome's stable and beta channels on Windows. Google says it will continue to support local extension installs on its Dev and Canary channels, as well as installs via Enterprise policy. Chrome apps are not affected at all and will continue to be supported normally."
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Google To Block Local Chrome Extensions On Windows Starting In January

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  • LastPass (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jupiterssj4 (801031) on Thursday November 07, 2013 @03:47PM (#45359509)
    I know that LastPass has a web app, but the local app has for more options. Hope they get this updated before January!
  • by queazocotal (915608) on Thursday November 07, 2013 @03:49PM (#45359533)

    For example, YouTube downloaders-

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 07, 2013 @03:50PM (#45359539)

    I stopped using Chrome because it's extensions were not up to par with Firefox addons.
    And now I feel less inclined to use Chrome at all.

    • by ebno-10db (1459097) on Thursday November 07, 2013 @04:00PM (#45359623)

      I stopped using Chrome because it's extensions were not up to par with Firefox addons.
      And now I feel less inclined to use Chrome at all.

      Ditto. What does Google hope to accomplish with this? Switching to Firefox takes less than 5 minutes.

      • by Lee_Dailey (622542) on Thursday November 07, 2013 @04:19PM (#45359805)

        howdy y'all,

        the google folks are aware of the upcoming "australis" abomination and are not worried about firefox at all. [*sigh ...*]

        the firefox devs are crippling the addon system, crippling the customization system, removing the addon bar/status bar, blocking putting icons anywhere other than on the navigation toolbar, and generally ripping out the things that make firefox so completely customizable.

        all this in the name of "simplicity" and "making customization more accessible to more users".

        actually, it's being done in the name of stripping out things they don't like to maintain while still adding all that developer tools stuff that otta be in an extension.

        i suspect that i will switch to seamonkey when australis comes out on firefox.

        take care,
        lee

        • Usually I get mildly annoyed when people sign their posts, since it's not normally done and I'm obviously inappropriately uptight about a silly little thing, but yours with the "take care", rather than just a name, is just plain nice.
        • by TubeSteak (669689)

          the google folks are aware of the upcoming "australis" abomination and are not worried about firefox at all. [*sigh ...*]

          I bet FireFox updates its Extended Support Release to whatever version is right before "australis"
          No way will institutional FF users want to deal with a new interface and subsystem.

      • by linatux (63153)

        and if Google apps stop working on Firefox you'll switch to Office365?

      • by SleepyHappyDoc (813919) on Thursday November 07, 2013 @05:05PM (#45360397)

        Switching to Firefox takes less than 5 minutes.

        Yes, every time it starts up.

    • How's Pepper support on Firefox coming?

      Until the Web at large pulls its head out of its collective ass, and gives up on Flash completely in favour of HTML5, you're at a significant disadvantage for certain types of media/content. With Flash support deprecated on Linux, and only getting security updates at this point, it's only a matter of time before Chrome becomes the only way to view Flash content on that platform, unless Firefox (and other browsers) decides to support Pepper.

      Fortunately, Linux isn't incl

    • by spasm (79260)

      I stopped using chrome when google started getting *creepy* about trying to get you to link your youtube and other accounts to each other. Now I'm slowly migrating each thing I use google for to other providers or to my own servers (each service to a different provider, so if one of them turns out to be particularly inept or Evil I only have one thing to get out of their clutches). In 1997 I started using google for search; well before 2017 I'd like to be able to say that's the only thing I use them for.

  • Ugh (Score:5, Informative)

    by The MAZZTer (911996) <megazzt@NoSPAM.gmail.com> on Thursday November 07, 2013 @03:50PM (#45359543) Homepage

    I use an extension to download videos from YouTube. Those tend to be blocked from the Web Store, so you have to install them manually from other websites (this is the bit that is getting blocked). I hope there is at least a command line switch left in to disable this behavior! It's very "walled garden" and I don't like it.

    BTW, the summary says "local extensions" but that is incorrect. It just blocks non-Chrome Web Store web extensions. Extensions you are actively developing and load via "Load unpacked extension" will still work.

    Actually, that might have to be the fix for my YouTube extension I use. Oh well.

    • by fermion (181285)
      This is why I continue to use Firefox for most everything. Cookie managers, ad blockers, flash blockers, youtube downloaders. Most of this used to be baked into Camino, but, alas it is no more. Still it is easy enough to duplicate the functionality in the Firefox build.

      More evidence that Google is not afraid of making life harder on the users, in the name of security of course, to protect it's revenue flow. It has gotten to the point where I am even using Bing sometimes. If I can find a replacement f

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Charliemopps (1157495)

      If you don't like "walled gardens" why the hell are you using Chrome when that's clearly its sole purpose? I mean, come on, when it came out anyone with any sense knew exactly why Google wrote it, and that was due to all the activity in the firefox addon community.

    • Do you think that --easy-off-store-extension-install will work for this?

    • by Andrio (2580551)

      I use Chrome at work and I created a little add-on to enhance an internal ticketing system we use. I distributed to others in my department.

      Looks like come January this will be dead. I can still use it via the "load unpacked extension" option, but that'll make any kind of distribution a pain.

  • by pla (258480) on Thursday November 07, 2013 @03:51PM (#45359549) Journal
    ...And overnight, Chromium replaces 97% of Chrome's market share.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      ....On 0.1% of Chrome users.
    • by cpicon92 (1157705)

      ...And overnight, Chromium replaces 97% of Chrome's market share.

      Not that I approve of Google's decision, but how many people do you think actually use extensions from outside the store? And how many of those people like them enough to bother locating Chromium builds for Windows? I highly doubt Chrome's market share will be much affected by this...

      • Re:Sure, go ahead. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Sir_Sri (199544) on Thursday November 07, 2013 @04:03PM (#45359655)

        but how many people do you think actually use extensions from outside the store?

        of the people that use extensions at all? Probably most of them, as I would think the most popular extensions are things like youtube downloaders and netflix unblockers that let you use VPN services so you can access say UK netflix from the US, and US netflix from Australia.

      • by rastos1 (601318)
        What if a company develops and sells an extension and does not want to publish it via Google store?
        • by cpicon92 (1157705)

          Well then they're screwed. I'm not saying that Google is right to do this. I'm just saying that it's silly to think that an extension or two (paid, or not) is going to motivate people to switch away from Chrome.

          I believe Google's motivation for doing this (other than corporate greed) is the tendency for crap-ware to install extensions in Chrome without the user's permission. I can't say that I'll miss that.

    • by Russ1642 (1087959)

      Overnight 99.5% of Chrome users won't notice a damned thing.

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      no it wont. 99.99785% dont care and will not notice.

  • Well that sucks. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Good thing I use Chromium.

  • by EvilSS (557649) on Thursday November 07, 2013 @03:58PM (#45359595)
    Did Google recently buy a brick factory because they seem to be trying to slowly build a wall around their not-quite-as-open-as-it-once-was garden. Between this and some of the stuff they are pulling with Android (Play Store, API lock-ins) and Chromecast they seem to be all about turning down the openness lately. Come to think of it, that seems to be a trend (Skype, Twitter APIs off the top of my head, then of course that fruit company) lately.
    • by pongo000 (97357)

      then of course that fruit company

      Adafruit? What the hell are you talking about?

    • Frankly I don't know much about Firefox OS, but it's starting to sound better and better. For that matter, couldn't there be an Android fork? (which would have companies w/ serious $ behind it).

      Sounds like Google is starting to suffer from the same hubris that's killed so many companies that were once on top. Sort of a corporate variant of Napolean's "the world's cemeteries are filled with indispensable men". I can't think of anything Google has that can't be replaced, or for which there are already alterna

      • I suspect that the problem is the (which would have companies w/ serious $ behind it) part.

        There is at least one fairly serious Android fork, which doesn't really have a name for marketing purposes; but is what all the Kindle tablet devices run. It's arguably even more dystopian than Google's version, though I don't know how competently it locks down the bootloader and keeps you from fleeing entirely.

        In the same general vein, the AOSP 'clean' version of Android isn't an FSF-purist-dream; but only beca
    • by nurb432 (527695) on Thursday November 07, 2013 @04:11PM (#45359709) Homepage Journal

      Don't forget moving nearly all their stuff to the new 'Google play framework'... and all the internal hooks it brings with it, just to read mail or send a message..

      Google has run off the track.

    • by cffrost (885375)

      [...] then of course that fruit company [...]

      App-pull?

    • Did Google recently buy a brick factory because...

      They're a big business, like Apple. Like coca cola. Once you establish a brand in people's mind, you can do whatever you want as long as you keep being trendy and hip. Congress has called several committees to investigate Google, Apple, Microsoft, and others, and amazingly it was mostly "We love your stuff! Kindof a lot! But, er, you know, uhh.. there's these, uhh... questions... well... more maybe just er, if you want, you know... aww forget it. we love you. take our money.

      I mean people actually bought tha

      • by swb (14022)

        I had lunch with Jeff Dean a couple of weeks ago and he told me the engineers were pretty pissed at the NSA stuff and were working to make it a lot more difficult for the NSA.

    • by maccodemonkey (1438585) on Thursday November 07, 2013 @04:37PM (#45359985)

      Did Google recently buy a brick factory because they seem to be trying to slowly build a wall around their not-quite-as-open-as-it-once-was garden. Between this and some of the stuff they are pulling with Android (Play Store, API lock-ins) and Chromecast they seem to be all about turning down the openness lately. Come to think of it, that seems to be a trend (Skype, Twitter APIs off the top of my head, then of course that fruit company) lately.

      I saw this coming from a long ways away from Google. It's classic embrace, extend, and extinguish, Microsoft style.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embrace,_extend_and_extinguish [wikipedia.org]

      "The strategy's three phases are:[11]
      Embrace: Development of software substantially compatible with a competing product, or implementing a public standard.
      Extend: Addition and promotion of features not supported by the competing product or part of the standard, creating interoperability problems for customers who try to use the 'simple' standard.
      Extinguish: When extensions become a de facto standard because of their dominant market share, they marginalize competitors that do not or cannot support the new extensions."

      Google was only committed to open source for the "extend" portion. Now that they've got more market share than Apple on mobile, and they're dominant in the browser market, they're moving on to extinguish.

    • by rossdee (243626)

      We don't need no education..

    • by exomondo (1725132)

      Between this and some of the stuff they are pulling with Android (Play Store, API lock-ins) and Chromecast they seem to be all about turning down the openness lately.

      Don't forget that pretty much all the open source stock Android apps have been abandoned in favor of proprietary Google ones. Android is becoming just the low level interface upon which the proprietary Google platform runs, so applications using services offered through the Google Play Services platform - like GCM, maps, wallet, geofencing, admob, etc - aren't really Android apps, they are Google Play apps which will only work if you have the proprietary Google Play platform installed and that platform is w

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 07, 2013 @03:59PM (#45359613)

    Oh, wait, you can just use Chromium and stop crying.

    Anyone that uses Chrome and bitches deserves to suffer. You do not need automatic updates.
    In fact, automatic updates are more of a pain than anything. There is a reason nobody uses forced updating in business, because developers are asshats that constantly break their own shit and then everyone suffers because of it.
    Chromium devs are some of the worst for that too. I can't count how many times "stable" updates broke the browser back in the earlier days, jesus christ what the hell were you guys doing?

    If they do, however, block it on Chromium, I am serious in the forking question, I can easily drop my life and work on it. Fuck Google. Don't piss me off, I'm bitter, determined and lifeless outside of code.

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      Oh, wait, you can just use Chromium and stop crying.

      For how much longer? You can fork but then it becomes yet another 3rd party browser, behind the 'official' one that you can no longer get features from, and might even get slapped down for "unauthorized 3rd party use of APIs"..

    • by rroman (2627559)
      I don't mean to create flame war or something, but seriously, what aspects of Chrome are so good that Firefox can't match them? It used to be speed, but nowadays I would say that both browsers are pretty fast. In number of extensions, Firefox is the clear leader, so what is the reason?
      • I started using Chrome back in its beta version because of its process separation that prevented one bad tab from taking down the whole browser. The funny thing is, the browser was so stable that I rarely ever had a rogue tab fail on me in the first place. And while Firefox stepped up their game on speed, Chrome just seems to render faster (it could just be psychological). Also, Chrome's interface uses less real-estate and leaves more room for page content. While I also use Firefox on some machines, it'
      • by omnichad (1198475)

        I haven't been on Firefox in quite a while, but when I switched, Chrome's inspector was much nicer than Firebug. But I do web development, so that won't matter to everyone.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Protecting Windows users from malicious extensions
      Thursday, November 07, 2013
      Extensions are a great way to enhance the browsing experience; whether users want to quickly post to social networks or to stay up to date with their favorite sports teams. Many services bundle useful companion extensions, which causes Chrome to ask whether you want to install them (or not). However, bad actors have abused this mechanism, bypassing the prompt to silently install malicious extensions that override browser settings and alter the user experience in undesired ways, such as replacing the New Tab Page without approval. In fact, this is a leading cause of complaints from our Windows users.

      from the chromium blog

  • Non-issue (Score:5, Insightful)

    by YodaDaCoda (1927704) on Thursday November 07, 2013 @04:00PM (#45359619)
    I suspect that this is less about blocking YouTube downloaders, and more about blocking those extensions that appear after not un-checking the box on programs downloaded and installed from the internet. I.e. it's more for the protection of grandma who wants to download a pretty solitaire app than it is for stopping little Johnny downloading his music videos of Miley. If you're smart enough to follow a few simple instructions and install a local extension, you're smart enough to follow a few simple instructions and install the Dev channel of Chrome first.
    • by Daas (620469)

      I suspect that this is less about blocking YouTube downloaders, and more about blocking those extensions that appear after not un-checking the box on programs downloaded and installed from the internet.

      I.e. it's more for the protection of grandma who wants to download a pretty solitaire app than it is for stopping little Johnny downloading his music videos of Miley.

      This. Google is not stupid, they know that users that want to install extensions from their disk know how to install Chromium. I'm fine with it if less crap is going to get installed on my parents computer. I'll just install Chromium and everything will stay the same for me.

    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      If you're smart enough to follow a few simple instructions and install a local extension, you're smart enough to follow a few simple instructions and install the Dev channel of Chrome first.

      Oh God.
      You have no idea how much malware/malicious websites come with instructions on how to circumvent security measures.
      There are plenty of people who are just smart enough to follow instructions without fully understanding the consequence of their actions.

  • First you are going to kill off VoIP via Google voice, and now this.. Have they lost their minds? What is next?

  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday November 07, 2013 @04:13PM (#45359729) Homepage

    I have the same add-on available for both Google Chrome and Firefox. Firefox has about 100x as many users.

  • It makes Chrome the same on all platforms so that using Chrome on windows is like Chrome OS on a chromebook.

    It is a stupid move, just like removing the ability to turn off all autocomplete in the address bar.

  • Last time I checked HTTPS Everywhere was installed from the EFF's web site and not through the Chrome store. What does this mean for Chrome and HTTPS by default?
  • I run a computer repair shop and this is not an exaggeration. Anyone stupid enough to accidentally install and then use Chrome is evidently also stupid enough to install 50 different advertising and crapware plugins as well. Every copy of Chrome I see is infected with DefaultTab and MP3Rocket and Babylon, etc. This now makes perfect sense because they can advertising themselves as the clean and safe browser.
    • by omnichad (1198475)

      More likely they were told to install Chrome by someone that thought that it would somehow help. IE is no less infestable.

  • by istartedi (132515) on Thursday November 07, 2013 @05:05PM (#45360391) Journal

    It was nice, Chrome. Your scripting engine was fast. You hardly ever crashed. Your UI was pretty decent. I could even overlook some of your shortcomings. You were my first tabbed browser. I was actually willing to retrain my brain to quit using my OS's more universal process switching in defference to your tabbiness. We had some tough times closing the whole browser by accident when we really only wanted to close the page; but we worked through it. Your scripting engine was fast. You were young and sexy. It had to end though. I knew you wanted to pull me into your walled garden and make me mow every Saturday. I just wasn't ready for that kind of commitment. I know it's painful but I think we both realize it's time to move on. There's this other browser and, well... it's a fox.

  • Unfortunately I have yet to a windows installation that doesn't have all browsers encumbered by at least 3 adware/spyware addons. This even happened on my own computer after letting my niece play with it for a few hours. Only discovered after noticing "ads not from this page" poppons. Unfortunately this is probably a step in the right direction for most users. To the knowledgeable this is only a annoyance.
  • Sounds like a good reason to avoid Chrome. And to be suspicious of any Google product.

    I'm *not* on MSWind, but...

    Yeah, I know it's "a security measure". If that's their idea of the right way to implement a security measure, then I'm quite skeptical of anything Google does. But really I believe that the explanation is a lie. They aren't starting it now, and they haven't announced that "it's a temporary measure until we get a better fix".

    It seems to have been a long time now since Google was the "Do no ev

  • or if you do, we'll just use firefox

Aren't you glad you're not getting all the government you pay for now?

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