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Google kicking toolbars, “multipurpose extensions” out of the Chrome Web Store

Screen Shot 2013-12-20 at 8.27.17 AM

Google’s Chromium Blog just announced intentions of the search engine giant to knock out toolbars and “multipurpose extensions” out of the Chrome Web Store. The update to the policy is basically summed up as: “extensions in the Chrome Web Store must have a single purpose that is narrow and easy-to-understand.” That sounds simple enough, no?

Google believes that not all extensions “have lived up to this ideal…multipurpose extensions can crowd your browser UI and slow down your web browsing – sometimes significantly.”

Simple and speedy web browsing is one of the company’s core principles behind the Chromium project and Chrome specifically. Unfortunately, some extension developers took advantage of content scripts and put as much UI as they wanted into an extension. To help rectify this situation Google is offering developers until June of 2014 time to redo their extensions some of which require significant changes.

It is for these reasons that we’ve updated the Chrome Web Store policy to enforce our original single-purpose design goal for extensions. We realize that this will require significant changes for some existing extensions. Some may need to be split into multiple separate extensions. Developers may need to switch to a different approach to monetization, which we’ve recently made easier by adding payment options to extensions. Since these changes may take some time to implement, we’re not going to start enforcing the policy for existing extensions in the Web Store until June 2014. For new extensions, the policy will go into effect immediately.

This may not affect many general users of Chrome, but I’m all for a policy that works to simplify and enhance my Chrome-browsing experience.

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