Chrome Web Store Policy Updates

Rebecca Soares
Rebecca Soares

On the Chrome team, we are constantly amazed by the pace of innovation on the web. Since the launch of the Chrome Web Store (CWS), our goal has been to enable the creation of innovative and useful products, and we couldn't do this without a rich community of developers. As the variety of products offered on CWS has evolved over the years, we've received some important feedback regarding how our policies are written and enforced. We agree that we can do better to make our policies clearer to developers and to enforce them in a way that does not come at the expense of good-intentioned developers who provide useful products.

To that end, we've decided to provide more context on our policies and our general philosophy for the evolution of the Chrome Web Store. Through this update, we hope to better communicate our intent with developers, move to a more adaptive enforcement approach, and provide the information necessary to stay compliant.

First, we are introducing a new section to the Chrome Web Store Developer Policy Page, the CWS Policy Principles, which outlines our overall philosophy for CWS. Developers should incorporate these principles into the design of their products as they will be considered during the review and approval process. These principles are:

Be Safe

We strive to make the Chrome Web Store a safe and trusted environment for developers and users. This means that we will remove extensions that pose security threats, access data beyond what is necessary to implement their functions, appear to take advantage of users, encourage harm or hate speech, or otherwise abuse the store system and network.

Be Honest

Building and maintaining user trust in the Chrome Web Store is paramount, which means we set a high bar for developer transparency. All functionalities of extensions should be clearly disclosed to the user, with no surprises. This means we will remove extensions which appear to deceive or mislead users, enable dishonest behavior, or utilize clickbaity functionality to artificially grow their distribution.

Be Useful

Extensions in the Store must provide experiences that are educational, informative, entertaining, inclusive, and that result in a positive user experience. We will remove extensions that appear to provide little to no utility to users, or do not provide the reasonably expected functionality. Chrome will also strive to provide useful tools to developers to help encourage innovation.

We have also made a series of updates to our Developer Program Policies, including:

  • Organizing our policies under high-level categories in line with the Policy Principles.
  • Providing greater guidance on the spirit of our policies.
  • Simplifying our policy language.
  • Publishing a new Best Practices and Guidelines section, which includes general guidance to help developers avoid common pitfalls when developing and submitting their extensions to the Chrome Web Store.

Looking ahead, we envision a platform that is safe, useful, and intuitive—and one that allows developers to constantly evolve and improve the web browsing experience. We're grateful for all you've done to build for the Chrome Web Store, and we're here to help you navigate the changes as we continue to make it even better. We're excited about what lies ahead, and as always, we welcome your feedback.

Photo by Sara Cohen on Unsplash.