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Earlier this month, Google whitelisted a few extensions for kids' Chromebooks managed via Family Link, like Zoom, Hangouts, and some educational tools — only installable with parental permission, of course. This makes life easier for those who need to rely on video conferences for learning during these stay-at-home times, but it's still a tiny selection. To improve the situation, Google is now testing support for all extensions on managed Chromebooks in Chrome OS 83+ (we tested using Dev 83 and 84).
Google Chrome hasn't implemented the extreme level of tracker/ad blocking that we've seen in other web browsers over the past few years (I'm sure Google's position as an advertising company has nothing to do with that), but it has been taking small steps. Google has proposed new web standards that would make fingerprinting and cross-site tracking much more difficult, and now the company is announcing some browser-level features that aim to improve privacy and security.
The Chrome Web Store is still something of a wild west — seemingly every month, there's a story about some popular extension stealing user data or doing something else it's not supposed to do. Google has already made several policy changes lately, and its next target is spammy extensions.
Kiwi made a name for itself as one of the only browsers that support extensions on Android. The app has also innovated on other parts of the Chromium base by adding a custom implementation of dark mode and by shipping with another take on a bottom bar interface that looks a lot like Google's early attempts at that design. Over the weekend, the developer has decided to make the software open source in order to share these achievements with others interested in building Chromium-based browsers.
The Chrome Web Store is undergoing a transformation, as Google seeks to phase out Chrome apps entirely. Extensions are still sticking around, but now the company has placed a ban on paid extensions, leaving some developers frustrated.
Back in October, Wladimir Palant, developer of the popular AdBlock Plus browser extension, published a blog post outlining how extensions from security company Avast/AVG were collecting massive amounts of data from users. In a somewhat-belated response, Google has now removed some of Avast's extensions from the Chrome Web Store.
Samsung Internet Browser is one of the few examples of OEM-designed apps that many people want to use over Google's equivalents. Ever since Samsung officially started supporting non-Galaxy phones, the browser has become one of the most popular for Android, thanks to its (minimal) extensions support, excellent dark mode, and fast Chromium-based core. Now the browser is adding support for even more types of extensions, but there are a few catches.
Google Tasks sometimes feels like an afterthought, shoved into the sidebar at sites like Google Calendar and Gmail. If you rely on its to-do list functionality, but you'd like something with more of a standalone feel, a new Chrome extension turns Google Tasks into its own full-screen thing. The aptly named "Full Screen for Google Tasks" gives you a bigger and better interface that Google should have provided in the first place, though it isn't perfect.
Google Images recently tweaked how its results were displayed, replacing the old in-list expanding layout for viewing a given image with a new pop-out sidebar. If accommodating this change is too much for you to bear, there is a way to revert to the old layout, via an open source "Google Images Restored" extension/add-on for Chrome and Firefox.