Google demands $5 fee from Chrome developers

One of the wealthiest corporations on the planet is asking people who write free extensions for its Chrome browser to cough up five dollars for the privilege.

The one-time payment, which will only apply to new registrations made after August 19th, is intended to "create better safeguards against fraudulent extensions in the gallery and limit the activity of malicious developer accounts," according to an official Google blog.

The crux of the matter is that, in order to join the developer scheme, you will have to make the 'token' payment. The payment must be made using a verified credit card. If Google has your credit card details it also has your address and other personal data (unless of course you are a criminal, in which case it all seems a bit pointless).

Google doesn't seem to have considered that some developers may well be under the age of 18, in which case they can't get a credit card.

It also doesn't seem to realise that not everyone on the planet is sitting on a giant pile of cash and that, to some, five bucks is a large amount of money.

Whichever way you look at it, it smells to us like Google hasn't really thought this one through.

There is, of course, no reason why the infeasibly wealthy search behemoth couldn't have set the cost of registration to $0.01... other than the fact that the company would have had to pay the credit card fees out of its stockpiled billions.

Judging from the backlash on Google's forums, it's only a matter of time before unofficial Chrome developer sites start springing up all over the web, which won't be much help when it comes to keeping malware out of the mix.

Time for a rethink Google?