A big selling point of Chrome and more importantly Chrome OS is that Chrome extensions are meant to be clean and simple. A bragging community will tell you that you are safer than any other browser or Operating System. A bold statement that will surely have the sceptics investigating. What have they turned up? Problematic extensions!
Google is making a move to ban obtrusive extensions, because sometimes these can harm your Chrome experience. There is another recent threat Google is dealing with, though. Companies have been acquiring extensions from developers in order to turn them into adware clients. Google has banned a couple of these extensions: Add to Feedly and Tweet this Page. These were once popular extensions that helped users simplify some of the more routine online tasks.
Who is to blame? Are we seeing coders pushing extensions into the Google Store clean only to turn around a harvest vital information for the highest bidder? Not quite. In Add to Feedly’s case, the original developer, Amit Agarwal, was offered “a four digit” amount for his extension, which only took about an hour to code. Of course, he accepted and the transaction went smoothly. He regretted his decision when the new owner pushed an update to the extension. The new owner turned his helpful extension into an ad-serving machine. These were not regular ads either, they worked in the background and replaced links on every website! Original links were replaced by affiliate links without anyone’s knowledge.
How safe is Chrome?
Google’s new policies will help make this all better, though. If we have learned one thing, over and over again, it is that there is always a way for an OS to be corrupted by nefarious source. Google have been quick to act, have learned a lot from the experience and we can only hope that the whole Chrome architecture will return to the safe and reliable service we have grown so accustomed to.