In their latest post on the Chromium blog, Google has vowed to keep “multi-purpose” extensions out of the Chrome Web Store. The reason behind this announcement is that Google wants to keep all of the annoying toolbars that disrupt the user experience out of their browser. If you have any less tech savvy friends you will have probably seen what a cluttered browser interface looks like with toolbars and search bars taking a huge chunk out of any page and providing a bad user experience.
Existing Chrome extension have until June 2014 to change their layouts and make any necessary tweaks in order to comply with the new rules. However, the new policy is effective immediately for any and every extension that wants to add itself to the Web Store from now on. The guidelines enforced by Google are pretty simple. Extensions need to have a single purpose in order to be accepted into the Store. That means that any extension has to have a defined, simple action and nothing more. Toolbars tend to be bundled with search bars, advertisements and more things that ultimately slow down the browser to crawling speeds and that is something the developers desperately want to avoid with Chrome.
Although I personally support this decision by Google, it has spawned a long discussion over the freedom that the extension developers have and how much control Google wants to have over its products. On one side, people are against this new policy by Google because they believe Chrome should be an open platform in contrast to its competitors. On the other hand, some other people are supporting these changes as toolbars are an obvious annoyance and a lot of casual computer users install them unwillingly which does not help the browser’s reputation at all. Although both sides have some reasonable arguments, I would still have to side with Google on this one as they are simply asking for more clarity over the extensions and experienced users will still have no problem if they want to keep their toolbars so much.