Google tests automatically hiding extension logos in Chrome

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No longer have to manually hide the logos of browser extensions, but have them by default under a drop-down menu. Google is currently experimenting with such a change in the browser UI, giving users a clearer overview of which extensions are installed and to which data they have access.

Under the name Chrome Extension Toolbar, the feature can be enabled in Chrome‘s interface. Instead of seeing separate extensions next to each other on the right side of the URL bar, the general logo of extensions appears: a puzzle piece. If you click on it, you will get a list of all installed extensions.

Not only does this make it easier for users to see what is installed and what data the extensions can see, it also offers the possibility for Google to add another feature. Whoever installs an extension will be able to see that it has been added to the list. When this is clicked, the extension will be added to the general list. This makes it more difficult to install unsolicited or malicious extensions without the user being aware of it.

Since some extensions are regularly turned on and off when visiting certain websites, Chrome does keep the possibility to explicitly pin an extension to the bar.

Criticism

For users, it should provide a clearer UI, however, creators of Chrome extensions question the hiding of their logos. According to some, it would contribute to forgetting an installed extension (and diminish their publicity). Not being able to use a ‘pin this extension by default to the bar’-setting by users would be a missed opportunity, according to some devs. Google’s answer to that in the blogpost speaks for itself: ‘if the use of the extension button is an important part of the extension, consider making sure you know how to encourage users to pin the extension’.