Google has removed a popular Chrome extension called ClearURLs from the Chrome Web Store, and its creator described the company’s rationale for it as “ridiculous.”
As he reported Register, The Chrome team emailed extension developer Kevin Röbert to inform him that his extension had been removed from his store for violating his terms. According to the Google Chrome team, ClearURLs are banned due to incorrect descriptions, using permissions and spam.
On the Chrome Web Store extension page, Kevin Röbert describes how he can prevent unwanted online tracking by removing the tracking elements that are often found within URLs, saying:
“This extension will automatically remove tracking elements from URLs to protect your privacy when you browse the Internet. Many websites use tracking elements in the URL (eghttps: //example.comutm_source=newsletter1&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=sale) to mark your network activity. All of this tracking code is not required for the site to display or work properly and can therefore be removed – that’s exactly what ClearURLs does. ”
Although ClearURLs has been available in the Chrome Web Store for some time, it was removed from the store after Google discovered several policy violations. At the time of writing, the extension page has been backed up and ClearURLs can be downloaded here.
Even when the extension wasn’t available in the Chrome Web Store, interested users could still download it for other browsers, including Firefox and Microsoft Edge, as well as manually for Chrome with GitHub or GitLab.
One of the reasons Röbert believes his extension has been removed altogether is that it could harm Google’s business model because the search giant uses tracking elements in URLs to help advertisers. However, Robert made the necessary changes to his extension and complained about its removal from the Chrome Web Store.
Röbert’s appeal appears to have been successful, but we’ll have to wait and see if Google tries to remove similar privacy-targeted extensions that change URLs from the Chrome Web Store.
Via the Registry