Bad actor extensions on the Chrome Web Store have run rampant for far too long, promising to utilize user data only for the intended purpose, and then breaking that promise and misusing it for personal gain or malicious intent. Now that Manifest V3 has become the standard though, Google has limited its ability to do this, and anyone who doesn’t follow the company’s guidelines for respecting user privacy will not get their new “seal of approval”.
Instead, it will inform the user on what data the developer and its extension are utilizing and how so that anyone who installs it can make an informed decision regarding all that it entails. Now, an email went out to developers just yesterday (Credit: XDA Developers) stating that Google will be pushing ahead further with its efforts to clean up the reputation of the Web Store for extensions.
First, the “Featured badge” will go out automatically to devs and publisher accounts that have been verified and who have a positive track record with Google’s services and compliance with the Developer Program Policy. This means that anyone with that seal of approval and a clean track record will get the Featured badge, making it easier for users to put their trust in said developer or extension.
Second, the “Established publisher” badge will go out to extensions that follow the company’s technical best practices and that meet a high standard of user experience and design. This one will be dished out manually based on who Google deems worthy of it after a personal inspection.
It’s been made clear that anyone who earns either badge (they can’t be bought!) may receive higher rankings in search and filtering, and may even have their extension appear in special promos on the Web Store and elsewhere.
Do you check for the seal of approval on an extension’s “Privacy practices” page before installing it? Would you be more likely to install something that had either the Featured badge or the Established publisher badge? Let me know in the comments, and if you’re a developer, you will soon be able to request consideration for these badges, but Google isn’t opening the doors for that until April 20, 2022.