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Google's new rules crack down on shady Chrome extensions

The guidelines are designed to make sure you download only the chrome extensions you want.

A Google Chrome lapel pin

Google is trying to make Chrome extensions safer for users.

Stephen Shankland/CNET

To combat deceptive installation tactics involving its Chrome browser, Google has some new rules to protect users and hold developers accountable. In a post on the Chrome developers blog Thursday, Google said sometimes it sees developers using ads and landing pages that mislead users into installing pages they may not want or need.

Going forward, Google will remove any Chrome extension that:

  • Has no clear "disclosure" that explains what users can expect by installing the extension.
  • Has disclosures that use misleading language for the extension's purpose.
  • Hides disclosure language in large blocks of text, down the page or using text and fonts that make the explanation hard to read.
  • Uses misleading interactive buttons or forms that trick users into believing they're taking an action but they're actually (and unknowingly) installing the Chrome extension.
  • Uses iframes to show only a portion of an extension's Web Store page on a remote site. This is enough to trigger an extension installation and show misleading text, while still overwriting the original Chrome Web Store description.

Developers who don't follow the guidelines will get a warning email or the extension will be immediately removed, depending on how badly it's violated the rules. 

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