In an effort to cut down on the number of Chrome malware installations, Google is now only allowing browser extensions to be installed directly from the Chrome Web Store. It's a move the company says will help keep its users safe as they browse the web.

The change will also affect extensions that were previously installed. Google tells us that some may be automatically disabled and cannot be re-enabled or re-installed until they're hosted in the Chrome Web Store.

Google will, however, continue to support local extension installs during development as well as installs via Enterprise policy for the developer community. Those with a dedicated installation flow from their website can also make use of the existing inline installs feature. As such, Windows developer channel users are unaffected by these changes.

It's worth pointing out that these changes only apply to Windows users and only to those using the stable or beta builds of Chrome. It has no impact on Chrome for Mac, Linux or Chrome OS.

If you do notice that some of your favorite extensions are now shut down, there really isn't much you can do about it (short of changing browsers or operating systems) except hope that the developer gets them approved by Google and added to the Chrome Web Store.

Google already employs a number of features to keep the bad guys out. For example, Safe Browsing alerts users if they've stumbled upon a potentially dangerous site or download while a reset button has been implemented in the event your settings get hijacked.