Chrome Disables Third-party Bundled Extensions by Default

Mozilla had introduced a very important security and performance improvement feature in Firefox 8, which blocks installation of third-party bundled (external) add-ons. Whenever a third-party application tries to install any extension to the Firefox, users are notified about this – and their manual approval is required to continue the installation. This feature was much needed in Firefox, as these third-party add-ons are not in control of Mozilla and not hosted on its official gallery. Most of such add-ons affect performance of Firefox, and may track user’s browsing activities and personal data.

Now, the Google Chrome team has decided to implement a similar feature in Chrome, which although allows installation of external extensions, but disables them by default. Users are notified about this change, and prompted to enable or uninstall such extensions.

This feature has already landed in the latest Chromium build (version 24.0.1301.0 (162659)), and expected to arrive in the regular stable channel soon. Here are the screenshots showing up the entire process:

chrome-extension-installed-warning

chrome-external-extension-warning

remove-third-party-bundled-extension-chrome

There are many software, specially on Windows platform, which forcefully install their browser extensions even without the consent of the users. AVG Antivirus, Skype, DVDVideoSoft’s programs are examples of such applications.

Of course, these add-ons offer better integration and easy-to-use features right in the browsers, but on the same time they may affect performance and stability of the browser. A browser extension may bring undisclosed features and changes, log users’ browsing history and send private information to the remote servers. Unfortunately, this applies to both, the external extensions and Web Store hosted extensions. We have seen several examples in the past, where a popular extension was involved in such activities. Considering these issues, a user should install only trusted extensions. The above feature will make Chrome a safer browser.

        {Thanks, François Beaufort}

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