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Google to funnel all Chrome for Mac extensions through Chrome Web Store

All Mac and Windows users of Chrome will soon have to get their browser extensions from the Chrome Web Store, regardless which release channel they're on, Google announced on Wednesday.




The company originally adopted the restriction for most Windows users a year ago, as a way of preventing complaints about unwanted and potentially malicious extensions being installed. This reportedly caused a 75 percent drop in related customer support requests.

Until now, though, the Windows Developer channel of Chrome wasn't subject to the policy. Google said today that some parties were exploiting the gap, pushing people to install the Dev software for the sake of extensions, creating the additional problem of leaving them in a version of Chrome they may not have wanted.

Beginning Wednesday, Google will be enforcing the extension policy for all Windows users. The tactic should extend to Macs in the near future, and Google has promised to make all channels compliant starting in July.

Extensions will still be supported outside of the Web Store while they're in development, or if they're installed according to enterprise policy.

The policy is similar to Apple's approach to iOS and the App Store. Although containing most iOS distribution to the App Store limits the freedom of developers, Apple's screening system theoretically prevents malicious apps from reaching the public.