Google Removes Two Chrome Extensions Amid Ad Uproar
Google removed two Chrome browser extensions from its web store after it was discovered the software included code that served people ads in a way that violated the company’s terms of service.
Internet message boards were abuzz this weekend over the two extensions — “Add to Feedly” and “Tweet This Page” — each of which had fewer than 100,000 users. In both cases, people described how the extensions were silently updated to include code that served undesirable ads. One user review for “Add to Feedly” called the extension “spam” that caused ads to suddenly pop up on any website visited.
Extensions are small bits of code that alter a browser by adding new features or removing others. AdBlock, for example, is a popular extension that automatically blocks advertising on websites. Google updated its policies in December to prevent software developers from using extensions to insert advertising on more than one part of a page. A form of malware called adware injects ads on multiple spots of a web page, including places ads don’t normally exist, for example on Google’s sparse home page. Google says extensions must have “a single purpose,” and be “narrow and easy-to-understand.”
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