Google removes two Chrome extensions that silently served ads

By on January 19, 2014, 8:00 PM
google, chrome, chrome web store, ads, extensions, add to feedly, tweet this page, browser extensions

Google has removed two extensions from the Chrome Web Store for violating the search giant’s terms of service. Specifically, the extensions – “Add to Feedly” and “Tweet This Page” – both included code that were used to serve advertisements according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.

Multiple Chrome users took to message boards over the weekend to voice their concerns despite the fact that each extension had fewer than 100,000 users. As the Journal highlights, one user classified Add to Feedly as spam that would cause ads to suddenly pop up on any website visited.

Independent reports from two different websites outline how the extensions got on Google’s bad side. In both cases, the developers sold the extensions to another party that then silently updated them to include the offending code.

This was allowed initially simply because Google does not review changes to an extension’s code after it has initially been approved for inclusion in the Chrome Web Store. And since there are no change logs, the source of the unwanted advertisements can be difficult for end users to track down.

If you recall, Google implemented an update to its Chrome Web Store policy last month that called for extensions to have a single purpose that is narrow and easy to understand. The company at the time found that a number of extensions were crowding the browser user interface and slowing down the browsing experience.




User Comments: 11

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2 people like this | NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

"No ads unless it's by us!"

JC713 JC713 said:

It is unfortunate that the Feedly app had to go bad like that.

1 person liked this | cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

At least there are fewer ads, even if Google only allows their own. On a brighter side though, they do seem concerned about browser performance.

Guest said:

Uninstalled chrome on all my systems long ago.

Google is too big and knows far too much to be trusted.

Guest said:

Boo Hoo Hoo, get over yourself. your on the internet someone knows something about you.

wastedkill said:

Where is the system care one the one that silently adds itself to your extensions then silently puts ads on your pages and makes browsing a pain!!!! Bring out the no 3rd party app installs its really annoying google that extensions are getting silently installed without your knowledge...

MasterDex said:

Boo Hoo Hoo, get over yourself. your on the internet someone knows something about you.

I love your blazé attitude to your internet security. Not that I wish anything bad happens to you but to be honest, it might be educational for you if something bad were to happen to you because of your approach to your security online.

Guest said:

"Bring out the no 3rd party app installs its really annoying google that extensions are getting silently installed without your knowledge..."

They aren't getting silently installed without your knowledge. What they do AFTER they're installed is of course a point of concern, but extensions don't just suddenly magic themselves onto your hard drive. If you choose to install them then that's up to you.

tommiew tommiew said:

Does this mean I can stop using 2 of my own extensions that silently block ads?

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

Ad block, Blocker, FBP (facebook cleaner which basically removes ads other things also) Can tell you when your so call friend removes you off his or her friends list. Chrome can do whatever they want to do. I use Pale Moon 64-bit browser is quick but suffers from using 32-bit flash and JavaRE. Google Adsense is pushed out there to us.

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