Discovered by Chrome Story, a new developer flag in Chrome Canary will place an ‘Eye’ icon at the top-right of the browser’s window. As you can see in the image below, it will be located to the left of the extensions ‘puzzle piece’ icon. Clicking this new ‘eyecon’ will allow you to see what permissions each and every extension you have installed is currently utilizing.
Extensions Menu Access Control:
Enables a redesigned extensions menu that allows the user to control extensions site access. –Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS, Fuchsia#extensions-menu-access-control
The ‘Permissions’ section of the pop-up dialogue menu separates out extensions that have read access to google.com and those that can both read and change google.com. Clearly, things like Grammarly, Save to Pocket, Screenshot and recording tools, and so on need access to alter the webpage you’re on, but this will let you be certain that something that shouldn’t be making changes or seeing your data is restricted from doing so.
Of course, Google’s new ‘Seal of approval‘ for Chrome Web Store extensions is already fully rolled out and in effect, and you can easily see which extension developers promise to respect your data, refusing to use it in any way that they have not claimed they will or more importantly, any way in which the extension they’ve created does not need to.
Dinsan of Chrome Story has tested this, and it’s not yet functional, even though it’s appearing for him after the flag was activated, but it shouldn’t be far off. Once it rolls out to the masses on Chrome Stable (which could be a while), reviewing extensions permissions will take only a click of a button instead of having to dig into the extensions menu from the vertical three dots ‘more’ menu.
In the second picture, you’ll notice that the extensions ‘puzzle’ icon is missing, but the pop-up menu shows an ‘installed’ tab with the header reading ‘extensions’. I believe that the eyeball icon will replace the puzzle piece, and will encompass both extensions that are installed and any permissions they are currently using. It’s a smart move by Google to beef up user awareness this way, but changing the icon entirely may confuse some folks, at least, at first. Let me know in the comments if you think this is a welcome change.