Google tried to disguise Chrome installer as Windows 10 app

Google Chrome
Internet browser - Google Chrome - Photo by Simon via Pixabay

Google failed in a recent attempt to sneak a Chrome installer into the Microsoft Store when Microsoft realised this and took it down from their app market.

The app that was submitted by Google was greenlighted through Microsoft’s authentication process and thus made its way onto the store. The Chrome app was actually nothing more than a link to download the desktop version of Google Chrome rather than being its own Windows 10 version.

People who downloaded, installed and then opened the Chrome app found only a message prompting them to download the desktop version of Chrome. Users expected a UWP (Universal Windows Platform) functional version of the Google web browser for their windows 10 devices, not a glorified link to existing software.

The app had vanished hours later, having been taken down by Microsoft. Microsoft told news media that the Chrome app was taken down because it did not provide users with a “quality/valuable experience” as well as violating app store policy.

Sources who claim to be knowledgeable of Google’s intentions believe that this action was designed to combat copycats of Chrome that mislead users on the Microsoft Store. This did not however satisfy those seeking to know why Google thought this app would not be taken down as quickly as it did.

Chris Blume, a software engineer at Google, spoke on Twitter claiming that Microsoft had denied Chrome developers the tools needed to “protect users” on installations from the Windows 10 store. He said that Google made a “mini-app” to make sure that Windows 10 device users got a completely safe version of Chrome straight from the source.

Some were not pleased with Google’s actions, describing them as being hypocritical. One user pointed out that Google was showing dissatisfaction with Microsoft but not with Apple, which has similar restrictions on web browsers.

These restrictions helped to keep Apple’s Safari the most used web browser on iOS as the Chrome and Firefox alternatives on the Apple Store were forced to use the same architecture as Safari. Microsoft uses a similar practise with its replacement for Internet Explorer, Edge.

Chrome and Mozilla have not bothered to make Edge dependant mimics of their browsers because their desktop versions will run on Windows 10 anyway. Microsoft simply makes it harder to replace their Edge with a desktop emulation of Chrome or Firefox.

Given these facts it’s quite likely that Google’s stunt was little more than a poke at Microsoft for their policy. Chrome would probably like to remind Microsoft that their new browser hasn’t gained the same dominance that Internet Explorer once had.