Google Disables Chrome Extensions Downloaded from Third-Party Sources
It finally happened - Google started blocking Chrome browser extensions that haven't been installed from Chrome Web Store. It currently affects Windows users only, and if you had any browser add-on installed from third-party resources, you may see them automatically disabled any time soon.
Google said on its blog the company aims to protect Chrome users from extensions that may potentially contain malicious code, which can do all sorts of nasty things from browser hijacking to tracking your online activity. If, at some point, you notice your browser behaves in odd ways, for example, your start page changed, or ads are no longer blocked (if you had them blocked), or numerous ads displayed, think back at the time your browser behaved as it should, and then try to remember which new add-on or extension you installed.
Either way, from now on you won't be able to install extensions to your Chrome from websites other than Chrome Web Store.
As of now, all extensions installed from third-party sources will be blocked until you install them from Chrome Web Store. Extensions developers are nonetheless able to install their works for local testing, as much as the extensions that are installed via enterprise policies.
There is one thing that remains vague about this move - how about Mac users of Chrome browser? For now, the illegitimate extensions are disabled for Windows users only. The move may be justified by security concerns, but on the flip side, developers have to pay a $5 fee to register with Chrome Web Store, and I honestly do not see how Google vets these extensions, since there is plenty of rubbish and adware among the legitimate extensions on the web store.