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Google blocks all extensions not in Chrome Web store

In effort to slow the spread of malicious extensions on Windows devices, Google has announced that it will require all extensions to be hosted in the Chrome Web store, starting in January.

Usually, Chrome will ask for permission before installing extensions on a user's browser. But scammers have figured out how to silently install extensions without a user knowing.

These extensions can "override browser settings and alter the user experience in undesired ways, such as replacing the New Tab Page without approval," Google said in a blog post. "In fact, this is a leading cause of complaints from our Windows users."

As a result, starting next year, the stable and beta versions of Chrome on Windows will ban non-Chrome Web store extensions.

"We'll continue to support local extension installs during development as well as installs via Enterprise policy, and Chrome Apps will also continue to be supported normally," Google said.

Google urged developers who don't currently host their extensions in the Chrome Web store to migrate as soon as possible. "You could keep the extensions hidden from the Web Store listings if you like," Google said. "And if you have a dedicated installation flow from your own website, you can make use of the existing inline installs feature."

Those who already have extensions installed won't notice a difference.

The news comes shortly after Google said it will add automatic malware blocking to Chrome and the option to reset browser settings.