updated 02:16 pm EST, Fri December 20, 2013
Policy update effectively bans toolbars from Chrome Web Store
Google has updated the rules for its Chrome Web Store, requiring browser extensions to have a single purpose. The change, one which will effectively block toolbars and other similar pieces of code, is hoped to streamline and simplify the browsing experience for Chrome users, as well as speeding up the web browser by removing unnecessary extra weight.
A blog post by Engineering Director Erik Kay states that extensions "must have a single purpose that is narrow and easy-to-understand." Chrome itself was designed to allow for extensions to use a single button, rather than a toolbar, but since developers worked around this by using content scripts to create toolbars on webpages, for example, this has forced Google to step in and block it.
Updated Chrome Web Store developer policies spotted by CNET state that an extension needs to have one function without any extra functionality added on top, which will require multi-function extensions to be split apart into separate extensions in their own right. In the example given by Google, an extension that combines an e-mail notifier and a news headline aggregator would be classed as having two items with unrelated functionality. A second example suggests that an extension that provides product ratings and reviews cannot also inject advertising into web pages. Kay advises "Developers may need to switch to a different approach to monetization."
Though the rule changes apply to new extensions now, existing extensions have up until June 2014 to make changes.