Google cracks down on multi-purpose Chrome Web extensions that crowd your browser

Google cracks down on multi-purpose Chrome Web extensions that crowd your browser

Ever had multi-purpose Chrome extensions slowing down your browser experience? Google is out to address this by cracking down on such extensions, as it announced today an update to the Chrome Web Store policy which dictates that extensions must have a single purpose.

Chrome’s engineering director Erik Kay writes in a blog post that the single-purpose design for extensions has “always been the intent of the Chrome extension system” but not all extensions have been aligned with such a goal.

“These multi-purpose extensions can crowd your browser UI and slow down your web browsing — sometimes significantly. We’re making this policy change to fix these problems and give users more control over their browsing experience,” Kay says.

Google couldn’t enforce its design goals technically in some cases — with content scripts, extension developers received full control over the page to put up as much UI as they wanted, or bundled subtle features that were difficult to attribute to specific extensions — so the company has resorted to stating it clearly in the policy contract.

This means extensions that don’t fit the bill could be removed from the Web Store, and repeated violations of the policy may lead to account termination.

The changes to the policy for existing extensions will start being enforced only from June next year onwards, giving developers time to adapt. Google acknowledges that some Chrome extensions may need to be split into multiple separate ones, and developers may need to switch to a different approach to monetization.

However, for new Chrome extensions, the policy will go into effect immediately.

Headline image via Kimihiro Hoshino/AFP/Getty Images

Read next: Between, the social network for couples, gets a major update as it passes 5m downloads