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Google to boot toolbars from Chrome app store

Like your Chrome extensions offering multiple functions? Google doesn’t and is removing such extensions from its Chrome app store in 2014.

Google is known to operate a fairly open app store governed by reviews rather than an authorising body. It’s now laying down some new laws regarding extensions, targeting toolbars specifically.

Changes afoot for the Chrome extension web store. (Credit: Screenshot by CNET Australia)

In an effort to maintain the usability and performance of its Chrome browser, Google will be removing toolbars and other “multipurpose extensions” from its Chrome web store.

"Extensions in the Chrome Web Store must have a single purpose that is narrow and easy to understand," Chrome engineer Erik Kay said in a blog post on Thursday. "While this has always been the intent of the Chrome extension system, not all extensions have lived up to this ideal. These multi-purpose extensions can crowd your browser UI and slow down your web browsing — sometimes significantly."

Google’s updated Chrome Web Store developer policies now include:

An extension should have a single purpose that is clear to users. Do not create an extension that requires users to accept bundles of unrelated functionality, such as an email notifier and a news headline aggregator. If two pieces of functionality are clearly separate, they should be put into two different extensions, and users should have the ability to install and uninstall them separately. For example, functionality that displays product ratings and reviews, but also injects ads into web pages, should not be bundled into a single extension. Similarly, toolbars that provide a broad array of functionality or entry points into services are better delivered as separate extensions, so that users can select the services they want.

Developers who do not conform to the new rules will see their apps dropped from the Chrome app store. Google anticipates this may cause difficulties for some extensions programmers. "Developers may need to switch to a different approach to monetization," Kay said.

The purge won’t take place until June 2014 and any existing extensions that do not meet the new requirements by then will be dropped from the store.