Chrome extension Awesome Screenshot is adding links to Google search results

first_imgOne of the benefits of using a modern browser is the option to install a number of plug-ins or add-ons. Even though such plug-ins are scrutinized by the browser teams and rated by users, sometimes a “feature” slips through unnoticed as part of the install.This is what has happened recently with a popular Chrome extension called Awesome Screenshot. 422,340 users have installed the extension which allows screen capturing of whole pages, annotations, and one-click uploads for sharing. However, it’s also performing another task without the user’s knowledge: adding affiliate links to Google search results.Questions started being asked a few days ago when search results from Google in Chrome started having a new selection of Amazon links appearing above the usual list of results. This wasn’t some new deal between Amazon and Google though, it was the Awesome Screenshot extension adding links in the background.Before this became public knowledge disabling the extension didn’t block the links being added to search results. Now that people are getting upset about this Awesome Screenshot has apparently been updated to allow the feature to be disabled in settings. That’s according to a comment made on the Search Engine Roundtable article linked to below.I think a lot of users will be upset about this even with the new opt-out feature added, especially as the description on the Chrome Web Store gives no mention of it as far as I can tell. Developers should clearly state this is a feature of their extension and always offer the option to disable it.Now it’s public knowledge I expect Google to react because this is an undocumented feature that is also messing with Google’s search page results. Is such a feature allowed by Google? And if so surely there must be rules that ensure you have to make it clear to the user what is happening.Awesome Screenshot is also available for Firefox and Safari, but I don’t know if similar functionality is being employed in those versions of the plug-in. It should be easy to find out if you have the plug-in installed, just do a Google search and see what results are listed at the top of the page.Read more at Search Engine Roundtable and Blogstormlast_img