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After August 27, Google will crack down on Chrome extensions that spam users

Google Chrome extensions that abuse notifications to send spam, provide similar functionality to pre-existing extensions on the Chrome Web Store, have misleading information, among other things may be taken down or disabled from the Web Store after August 27, 2020. Extensions with a single purpose of installing or launching another app, theme, webpage, or extension will also be removed (complete list below).

“The increase in adoption of the extension platform has also attracted spammers and fraudsters introducing low-quality and misleading extensions in an attempt to deceive and trick our users into installing them to make a quick profit,” Google said. Chrome’s Web Store was launched in 2011, and Google claims it currently has over 200,000 browser extensions.

Following is the complete list of updates Google announced:

  • Multiple extensions offering similar functionality or experience will be removed.
  • Extensions having misleading, improperly formatted, non-descriptive, irrelevant, excessive, or inappropriate metadata will be taken down. Unattributed or anonymous user testimonials in the app’s description are also not allowed.
  • Developers must not attempt to manipulate the placement of any extensions in the Chrome Web Store, including product ratings, reviews, or install counts by “illegitimate means”.
  • Extensions with a single purpose of installing or launching another app, theme, webpage, or extension are not allowed.
  • Extensions that send spam, ads, promotions, phishing attempts, or unwanted messages via notifications will be removed.
  • Extensions that send messages on behalf of the user without giving the user the ability to confirm the content and intended recipients will also be blocked.

Chrome to gradually block all ‘mixed content downloads’: In February this year, Google said Chrome will “gradually” block non-HTTPS downloads started on secure pages (mixed content downloads) starting from June 2020, and will eventually block all mixed content downloads by October 2020.

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