Google removes two extensions from Chrome Web Store for serving unwanted ads

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Google removes two extensions from Chrome Web Store for serving unwanted ads

Google has removed two extensions for its Chrome browser from the web store. The extensions were removed after it was found the software included certain codes which injected ads in browsing sessions in a way that violated the terms of service from Google.

The two extensions - Add to Feedly and Tweet This Page had less than 100,000 users, and were found to display unwanted ads to users. Amit Agarwal, who is the developer behind Add to Feedly extension, said in a blog post on Labnol that he sold the extension for a four-figure sum, but a month later, the new owners updated the extension, adding that code that silently injected the unwanted ads.

Ars Technica also reported that "Tweet This Page", the other extension found to be injecting adware by Google, was altered to do so after it had been purchased. According to WSJ, Google removed the two extensions after being contacted by it.

It has been understood that the update was easily made to the extensions because Google did not review them after giving the initial approval for the Chrome Web Store, and then allowed updates to be pushed through automatically. There is no clear fix to this problem, but it might be resolved stricter controls for practices such as adding scripts that inject adware.

Google tweaked its policies back in December which prevented the software developers to insert ads via extensions. The company also mandated that Chrome extensions would have to be simple and single-purpose in nature, with only a single visible UI "surface" in Chrome, such as a single browser action or page action button. This was to avoid among things, the crowding of the Chrome UI resulting and slower web browsing caused by multi-purpose extensions.

While Google is taking care of its Chrome extensions, the firm is also said to work on its Android fitness API to allow developers to harness the potential of smartphone hardware, based on code found by a blog.

In a report, Google Operating System claims to have found code for an upcoming 'Android Fitness API' that will let the applications view and edit various sensor data. Quoting the spotted API, the report states: "View and edit your fitness tracking, health and activities data, including reading and writing raw and transformed data."

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