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Google Starts Blocking Extensions Not In the Chrome Web Store 225

Posted by Soulskill
from the protecting-you-from-yourself dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Google has begun blocking local Chrome extensions to protect Windows users. This means that as of today, extensions can be installed in Chrome for Windows only if they're hosted on the Chrome Web Store. Furthermore, Google says 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.' The company didn't specify what exactly qualifies the "may" clause, though we expect it may make exceptions for certain popular extensions for a limited time. Google is asking developers to reach out to it if they run into problems or if they 'think an extension was disabled incorrectly.'"
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Google Starts Blocking Extensions Not In the Chrome Web Store

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  • Old (Score:5, Informative)

    by tepples (727027) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {selppet}> on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @10:21PM (#47104455) Homepage Journal
    This was announced six months ago [slashdot.org]. Unpacked extensions will still run.
  • Re:Fork or patch? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Todd Knarr (15451) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @10:30PM (#47104515) Homepage

    They say developers will still be able to install locally. My guess is that if you enable developer mode (checkbox in the extensions page) you can still use local extensions like always.

  • by Formorian (1111751) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @10:55PM (#47104693)

    The article clearly states that you can still do this with developer mode. To me this is non story. They trying to stop the malware stuff for 90% of users.

    The rest of us can still do what we want. Or anyone else that can manage to click a single check mark.

  • From the link you posted: "You can still load unpacked extensions in developer mode on Windows."
  • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@nOsPAm.hotmail.com> on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @11:55PM (#47104941) Journal

    No fucking thanks indeed!

    Or you could just not use Windows.

    And if that's not an option, you could use the dev channel version of Chrome to sideload anything you want. Or use Chromium instead. You're not locked into the App store unless you want to be,

    Look, you can spin it any way you want, but his is pretty obviously a step to protect non-technical Chrome users from malware. It's not aimed at people who have the know-how to manage their own plugins/apps.

  • Re:yeah whatever (Score:2, Informative)

    by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @11:58PM (#47104963) Homepage

    Really? It seems to be blocking google served ads just fine on chromium for me.

  • Re:yeah whatever (Score:5, Informative)

    by verylargeprime (3668387) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @12:26AM (#47105077)
    Nope. You're wrong.

    Browser hijacking is a major problem within Chrome and other browsers, and side-loaded extensions are by far the most common vector for hijacking. Firefox and IE have the same problem. Short of making extension APIs totally useless for developers, this is the best approach anyone's come up with. Third-party anti-malware vendors are unreliable in this regard because it's very difficult (with good and often sufficiently gnarly legal reasons) to get them to classify any given extension as clearly being malware. This gives Google a necessary choke-point through which to filter unsavory extensions.

    While you seem to believe this desire for control is driven by a nefarious, greedy plan to herd all the sheeple into a walled garden [diabolical laughter] with "plausible deniability," it's actually driven by a desire to not have users fucking hate Chrome because some dipshit is making millions of dollars injecting toolbars into browsers and sucking up volumes of sensitive and often personally identifiable information with no (or ill-begotten) user consent.

    Though I don't see it mentioned in either of the links, it should be noted that this constraint only affects Windows stable (and I believe beta) channels. If you want to run Windows Chrome and you know you can handle yourself without being hijacked, just run dev channel. It's usually pretty stable.

    Source: I'm a full-time Chrome developer at Google.
  • Re:LOL (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @12:56AM (#47105173)

    There is no problem. Chrome is for the clueless and they should be shielded from external extensions. The tech savvy all use Chromium, which has no such restriction.

  • How-to (Score:5, Informative)

    by Namarrgon (105036) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @02:21AM (#47105517) Homepage

    From the Chrome Developer page [chrome.com]:

    1. Unzip the .crx file
    2. Go to chrome://extensions
    3. Tick on Developer Mode
    4. Click Load Unpacked Extension...
    5. Select and install.

  • by Xolvix (3649657) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @02:54AM (#47105671)

    I just did a test in Firefox with this very post. I typed up to this point, clicked backspace outside the text pane to go back a page, then clicked forward. Whatdayaknow... the text was retained. Maybe that's the reason I never investigated about changing the behavior - because it's far more useful than it is annoying (and the annoyance is temporary because the text buffer won't disappear).

  • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo AT world3 DOT net> on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @07:54AM (#47106857) Homepage

    Complete nonsense. Extensions are just Javascript and a bit of metadata, and can post data anywhere they like. No need for it to "flow though google" at all.

  • Re:yeah whatever (Score:5, Informative)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo AT world3 DOT net> on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @08:07AM (#47106945) Homepage

    The reason AdBlock Plus for Android was removed from Play was that it sets up a transparent proxy on your phone. Since the Android version of Chrome doesn't support extensions that is the only way it can operate. The problem is that all network traffic flows though the proxy, even stuff from other apps. If other apps use HTTP to get data it goes through the AdBlock filter. This broke some legitimate non-advertising functionality and also tended to cause issues accessing normal web pages when the mobile connection was a bit intermittent.

    It was fine if you were willing to put up with all that, but created a bad user experience for most people and got a lot of complaints. You can still install it just by downloading the .apk from the AdBlock Plus web site of course.

    Similarly with Chrome, you can still install extensions locally, just not from random web sites any more.

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