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The Chrome Web Store (commonly abbreviated as CWS) is Google's online store for its Google Chrome web browser. CWS hosts about 190,000 extensions and web apps as of 2019.[1]

Chrome Web Store
Chrome Web Store Logo 2012-2015.svg
The Chrome Web Store as seen from Google Chrome OS
Chrome Web Store as seen from Chrome
Launch dateDecember 2010; 8 years ago (2010-12)


CWS was publicly unveiled in December 2010,[2] and was opened on February 11, 2011, with the release of Google Chrome 9.0.[3] A year later it was redesigned to "catalyze a big increase in traffic, across downloads, users, and total number of apps".[4] As of June 2012, there were 750 million total installs of content hosted on CWS.[5]

Some extension developers have sold their extensions to third-parties who then incorporated adware.[6][7] In 2014, Google removed two such extensions from CWS after many users complained about unwanted pop-up ads.[8] The following year, Google acknowledged that about five percent of visits to its own websites had been altered by extensions with adware.[9][10][11]


Malware remains a problem on CWS.[12][13][14][15] In January 2018, security researchers found four malicious extensions with more than 500,000 combined downloads.[12][16]

Chrome used to allow extensions hosted on CWS to also be installed at the developer's website for the sake of convenience.[17] But this became a malware vector, so it was removed in 2018.[18]


  1. ^ "Breaking Down the Chrome Web Store". Extension Monitor. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  2. ^ Kincaid, Jason. "Sales Are At A Trickle On Google's Chrome Web Store". TechCrunch. Retrieved 4 January 2011.
  3. ^ Kay, Erik; Boodman, Aaron (February 3, 2011). "A dash of speed, 3D and apps". Chrome Blog. Google. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
  4. ^ Empson, Rip. "New Chrome Web Store Proves To Be A Boon For Developers Above (And Below) The Fold". TechCrunch. Retrieved 5 December 2011.
  5. ^ Vikas SN (2012-06-29). "The Lowdown: Google I/O 2012 Day 2 – 310M Chrome Users, 425M Gmail & More". MediaNama. Retrieved 2013-06-14.
  6. ^ "Adware vendors buy Chrome Extensions to send ad- and malware-filled updates". Ars Technica. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  7. ^ Bruce Schneier (21 Jan 2014). "Adware Vendors Buy and Abuse Chrome Extensions".
  8. ^ Winkler, Rolfe. "Google Removes Two Chrome Extensions Amid Ad Uproar". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  9. ^ "Ad Injection at Scale: Assessing Deceptive Advertisement Modifications" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-06-05.
  10. ^ "Superfish injects ads into 5 percent of all Google page views". PC World. IDG.
  11. ^ "Superfish injects ads in one in 25 Google page views". CIO. IDG.
  12. ^ a b "Security firm ICEBRG uncovers 4 malicious Chrome extensions - gHacks Tech News". Retrieved 2018-12-15.
  13. ^ "Google's bad track record of malicious Chrome extensions continues - gHacks Tech News". Retrieved 2018-12-15.
  14. ^ "Chrome Extension Devs Use Sneaky Landing Pages after Google Bans Inline Installs". BleepingComputer. Retrieved 2018-12-15.
  15. ^ "Chrome's inline extension install ban already bypassed - gHacks Tech News". Retrieved 2018-12-15.
  16. ^ "Google Chrome extensions with 500,000 downloads found to be malicious". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2018-12-30.
  17. ^ "Using Inline Installation - Google Chrome". Retrieved 2018-12-14.
  18. ^ "Improving extension transparency for users". Chromium Blog. Retrieved 2018-12-15.

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