updated 07:14 am EDT, Wed May 28, 2014
Policy change forces Chrome users to install extensions only from Chrome Web Store
Google has updated Chrome for Windows, forcing it to only install extensions sourced from the Chrome Web Store. The change, which prevents the installation of extensions locally, is being billed by the company as an attempt to make it "much more difficult to malware to secretly install unwanted Chrome extensions," and in turn improve security for the browser's users.
Chrome Web Store
Initially announced by Google in November last year, the update may automatically disable some previously-installed non-Chrome Web Store extensions, with users only able to re-enable them if they are hosted by the service. Developers will continue to have the ability to locally install extensions, along with its "installs via Enterprise" policy. While the change does not affect Chrome users on other operating systems, it is possible Google is preparing a similar update for those platforms in the future.
A number of changes have been made to policies relating to Chrome extensions over the last year. In December, it changed rules to block toolbars and multi-purpose extensions, in favor of extensions with a single usable purpose. At the time, Google advised developers of existing extensions had until June this year to abide by the changes, with the policy immediately applying to new extensions. The rule changes effectively prevented extension developers from injecting advertising into web pages to earn revenues, with Google removing two extensions from the store following media pressure.