Chrome is following Firefox in doing something about silently installed extensions. Chrome will block extensions installed by third-party software and will ask users whether to enable them or not, starting with Chrome 25 which is now in the dev channel.
"Until now, it has been possible to silently install extensions into Chrome on Windows using the Windows registry mechanism for extension deployment," Google explained.
"This feature was originally intended to allow users to opt-in to adding a useful extension to Chrome as a part of the installation of another application," it said.
"Unfortunately, this feature has been widely abused by third parties to silently install extensions into Chrome without proper acknowledgment from users," it added.
From now on, when a third-party program installs a Chrome extension, it will be disabled by default.
Users will be notified that an extension has been silently installed and will be asked whether to continue and enable it or remove it from Chrome.
That's not all; extensions that are already installed by third-party sources will be disabled once users update to Chrome 25.
Users will have a chance to review the extensions and enable any of the ones they actually use.
It's a very welcomed move and should result in much cleaner Chrome for most users. Plenty of programs have a very bad habit of installing browser extensions, whether users want them or not. The extensions aren't malicious, for the most part, but they're still annoying.
Mozilla took similar steps to clean up Firefox almost a year ago. The implementation is quite similar, new installations are blocked and users asked to approve them and existing add-ons are disabled by default.
Firefox has been borrowing quite a few features and ideas from Chrome, from the six-week release schedule, which Mozilla is pulling off better than Google lately, to actually using code from Chromium in some cases. It's nice to see that it works both ways.