News of the Coming Purge

by Chris Bonatti, President IECA, Casper Wyoming

Google has declared war on deceptive and malicious Chrome extensions. Beginning 27 August, Google will begin enforcing a new set of more stringent rules for Chrome extensions, and will remove existing extensions that violate the policy from the Chrome Web Store. The new policy mostly cracks down on keyword spam, misleading metadata, and fraudulently inflated product ratings.

Detailed provisions of the new policy include the following:

  • Developers cannot submit extensions, for example, wallpaper extensions, that have different names, but provide the user with the same wallpaper.
  • Extensions are not allowed to use keyword spam techniques, which is to flood metadata fields with multiple terms and have that extension listed across multiple categories to improve the extension’s visibility in search results.
  • Developers are not allowed to use misleading, improperly formatted, non-descriptive, irrelevant, excessive, or inappropriate metadata.  Extension metadata needs to be accurate, and Google intends to be strict about it.
  • Developers are forbidden from inflating product ratings, reviews, or install counts by illegitimate means such as fraudulent or paid downloads, reviews, and ratings.
  • Extensions that have only one purpose, and a dumb purpose, such as launching a web page or an app, will no longer be allowed.
  • Extensions that abuse browser notifications to spam users with ads or other messages will also be banned.

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