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Google takes on bad extensions with new Chrome badges

Two new certifications labels aim to take the hassle of evaluating extensions away from users

Google is rolling out two new badges for Chrome to help users avoid risky browser extensions. 

The tech giant has already started to apply the new badges to extensions, it said in a blog post.

The first, 'Feature', looks like a ribbon and will be seen on extensions that follow Google's "technical best practices" and or meets its standards of "user experience and design". The idea is to remove the extra hassle of manually evaluating extensions, or making sure developers use the latest APIs. Instead, the company wants users to quickly get to an "enjoyable and intuitive experience".

For the Featured label to be applied, extensions also have to have a detailed store page, which must clearly outline the purpose of the extension. Also, an extension's core features must be accessible without "additional credentials or payments", Google said.

Chrome's new extension badges

Chrome blog

The other badge, which has a checkmark design, will be applied to extensions made by Established Publishers. This is for publishers "who have verified their identity and demonstrated compliance with the developer program policies", according to Google. 

However, identity verification alone will not be enough to receive that badge; Google will also require extension creators must demonstrate "a consistently positive track record" with other services and that also means no outstanding developer policy violations. So brand new extension publishers will have to prove themselves elsewhere before having access to that badge and Google noted in its blog post that it could take "at least a few months of respecting these conditions to qualify".

Companies will also not be permitted to pay for either of the new badges, but they can nominate an existing extension as worthy of the Featured badge. 

"It has always been our mission to make it easy for users to find great extensions while recognising the publishers who create them," Debbie Kim, Chrome design manager, said in the blog. 

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