Google is discontinuing paid Chrome extensions. Developers looking to monetise their extensions can no longer do so via Chrome Web Store payments. Google had temporarily suspended paid extensions earlier this year, and now announced that it would be making this change permanent. The tech giant has shared a timeline on the phasing out of paid Chrome extensions. Free trials will also be disabled later this year.
Google announced that developers using Chrome Web Store payments to charge for their extensions or in-app purchases will need to migrate to other payments platform in the near future. The tech giant said that when it launched the Chrome Web Store in 2010, it wanted to provide a way for developers to monetise their Web Store items. Now, it said, developers had access to various other payment-handling options they could use.
Developers will no longer be able to create new paid extensions or in-app items. From December 1 this year, free trials will also be disabled. Users will no longer be able to view the ‘Try Now’ button in Chrome Web Store and requests for in-app free trials will result in an error. Google said that from February 1, 2021 onwards, existing items and in-app purchases will no longer be able to charge money with Chrome Web Store payments.
Developers using the licensing API to keep track of who has made the payments will also need to implement another way of tracking user licenses. They will be able to use the Licencing API to determine if users are currently licensed, but that too will shut down at some point, announced Google, urging developers to migrate their license tracking.
For exporting users licences, Google said that there was no way to bulk export existing user licenses, so developers would have to have users’ help for this part of the migration. Google recommended handling license migration in the back-end system, using the Chrome Web Store API. Developers would need to use OAuth 2.0 with the consent of users to access these APIs.
Google had temporarily suspended publishing paid extensions in March due to resource constraints due to the coronavirus, but it was a follow up from January, when Google had noticed fraudulent transactions aiming to exploit users. In February, Google had removed over 500 malicious extensions from the Chrome Web Store over ad fraud.