Chrome extensions

By Martin Edwards

Published December 2017

Google Chrome can have its functionality increased with ‘extensions’. These typically have capabilities beyond those permitted to regular websites, which is both a blessing and a curse.

Useful and popular extensions include those that block intrusive advertising or check grammar when you’re writing an email or tweet.

But most of the time when I see extensions in Chrome, the customer added them unwittingly, and they are causing adverse affects. Symptoms include an unfamiliar homepage in place of Google search, or adverts appearing on websites that don’t normally have any. An unscrupulous extension might also gather information about what you do online.

What worries me most is that when I help people with this, they usually don’t recall adding the extensions, even though it usually requires their consent. Remember, it’s really important to check what you’re agreeing to online!

Note also that no normal website needs any extensions in order to function. So if you’re trying, say, to look up a bus timetable and being asked to install an extension called MyQuickBusFinder, you’re in the wrong place — look for a more reputable site instead.

Removal

Luckily, Chrome extensions are easy to remove:

In the removal process, an extension can give a dying breath: it may open a new tab showing a webpage of its choice. This usually says something like ‘Sorry to see you go. Can we have some feedback?’. You are under no obligation to do this, and can close it by clicking the ‘x’ at the top of the tab or by pressing Ctrl–W (Windows) or Command–W (Mac).

Need help?

I’m a computer technician and tutor serving North Oxford, Kidlington, Woodstock and the surrounding villages. Visit my home page to find out more and get in touch.