Google seems to be giving the Chrome Web Store some much-needed attention as of late. From cracking down on fraudulent charges to introducing a “safety check” for extensions, Chrome’s online shop has long needed some policing if it is to remain the go-to for Chrome users. For developers, Google has now implemented some tweaks to the Web Store dashboard as well as requiring an upfront registration fee before using the dashboard. Here’s a breakdown of the changes:
The Developer Dashboard
The Chrome Team has recently tested a “beta” of the new developer dashboard and as of March 12, that dashboard will now be the default user experience when logging into the site. For the time being, developers can opt-out of the new dashboard as there are some functionalities that it is still lacking. Those include:
- Transfer items
- Edit or publish a paid item, or add in-app purchases, using Chrome Web Store Payments
- View an item’s public key
- Re-order screenshots
- Preview a new version of your item or promotional tiles
- View revenue stats
Developers can opt-out of the new dashboard by clicking the “show more” link at the bottom left of the dashboard and selecting “opt-out.” Presumably, the old dashboard will be deprecated once the new one has access to all the features developers need to publish, edit and track analytics.
Prior to this update, anyone could sign up for the developer dashboard and create apps and extensions at no charge. You could even test your software internally but in order to publish, developers were required to pay a five-dollar registration fee. That fee hasn’t changed but now you must pay the $5 upfront to use the dashboard. I suppose this could be an attempt to deter users from creating malicious extensions for free and distributing them outside of the Web Store but the nominal $5 fee is probably not enough to deter serious hackers from weaseling their way into the shop.
For developers who have already paid the fee, there will be no action required. The registration will only apply to new users of the dashboard and those developers who have yet to publish and have not paid the five dollars. Find more details at the Chromium Blog post here.