Unwanted and deceptively installed extensions are a leading cause of user complaints, and over the last few years we’ve taken several steps to address the problem. Today we’re taking another step in our ongoing effort to protect Chrome users: disabling inline installation for extensions linked to deceptive sites and ads.

Inline installation was introduced in 2011 as a way for users to seamlessly install extensions from developers’ websites. Unfortunately, this mechanism has been abused by deceptive sites and ads that trick users into installing unwanted extensions.  

This ad appears to be a software update but actually links to an inline installation site for a Chrome extension.

To help address this problem, on September 3 we’ll begin disabling inline installation for extensions that employ these deceptive tactics. For these extensions, inline installation attempts will be redirected to the extension’s product details page in the Chrome Web Store, allowing the user to make an informed decision about whether to install.  

Although less than 0.2% of all extensions will be affected by this change, it’s an important step to maintain a healthy extension ecosystem for users and the vast majority of extension developers who don’t use deceptive tactics. If you have any questions regarding this change, please reach out to us at chromewebstore-policy@google.com.

Posted by Andrew Kim and Ben Ackerman, Chrome Policy and Anti-Abuse Team