Repost: COVID-19 impact on CWS review and support

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Simeon Vincent

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Apr 13, 2020, 5:53:56 PM4/13/20
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NOTE: This email was originally sent to registered extension developers on March 29, 2020. 


Dear Developer,


We want to tell you about impending changes to the Chrome Web Store as a result of the COVID-19 situation. 


Given adjusted work schedules due to these unprecedented times, there may be some temporary limitations and delays in support in some cases:


  • Delay in publishing - New versions submitted to the Store will take longer to be reviewed and published.  

  • Delay in responses to appeals - If you appeal an item rejection or removal, or appeal an account suspension, expect the response to be delayed. However, we will respond to every appeal request and we will get back to you as soon as we can. 

  • Delay in developer account transfers - If you are transferring your extension to a different account, expect a significant increase in the time taken to complete the transfer. 

  • Delay in general support - If you are trying to reach out to our support team for issues related to your account(s) or extension(s), expect a delayed response from our team. We will get back to you as soon as we can. 

  • Chrome Web Store payments - We are disabling the ability to create new paid items or add payments to existing items. This includes extensions, themes, apps, and in-app purchases.

  • EDIT (May 7, 2020): Item reviews - Reviews for extensions and apps have been temporarily disabled. If a user attempts to post a review, they will see a message to this effect.


You can help by making sure that your extensions comply with the Developer program policies before you submit them. Refer to these resources for more information:


We understand that these changes may cause inconvenience, and we apologize for any interruption of service. Thank you for your support during this challenging time and for your participation in the Chrome extension ecosystem.


- The Google Chrome Web Store team


© 2020 Google LLC, 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043

Akansh

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Apr 27, 2020, 12:39:00 PM4/27/20
to Chromium Extensions
Hi Simeon, Hope you're healthy. 

I understand the situation is not in anybody's favour right now, but, we are struggling in getting approvals for the extension as the rejection mails are not having a specific reason and even after trying best in our knowledge, we are still being rejected. It will be great if the rejection mails are more detailed and specify the specific reason of rejection to save everyone's time. I went through the privacy policy FAQ but again there are various things which are still not explained or missing. Hope you understand. 


On Tuesday, April 14, 2020 at 3:23:56 AM UTC+5:30, Simeon Vincent wrote:


NOTE: This email was originally sent to registered extension developers on March 29, 2020. 


Dear Developer,


We want to tell you about impending changes to the Chrome Web Store as a result of the COVID-19 situation. 


Given adjusted work schedules due to these unprecedented times, there may be some temporary limitations and delays in support in some cases:


  • Delay in publishing - New versions submitted to the Store will take longer to be reviewed and published.  

  • Delay in responses to appeals - If you appeal an item rejection or removal, or appeal an account suspension, expect the response to be delayed. However, we will respond to every appeal request and we will get back to you as soon as we can. 

  • Delay in developer account transfers - If you are transferring your extension to a different account, expect a significant increase in the time taken to complete the transfer. 

  • Delay in general support - If you are trying to reach out to our support team for issues related to your account(s) or extension(s), expect a delayed response from our team. We will get back to you as soon as we can. 

  • Chrome Web Store payments - We are disabling the ability to create new paid items or add payments to existing items. This includes extensions, themes, apps, and in-app purchases.


Message has been deleted
Message has been deleted

PhistucK

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May 6, 2020, 11:01:45 AM5/6/20
to c Society, Chromium Extensions
Since Chrome applications are deprecated anyway, this is not much of a concern. With that said, I think adding reviews in general were blocked, applications, extensions or otherwise, also due to COVID-19.

PhistucK


On Wed, May 6, 2020 at 2:30 PM c Society <trace...@gmail.com> wrote:
Hi Simeon,

app reviews have been disabled altogether? i mean i get general support being delayed but app reviews set the foundation for any type of success of an app, disabling this is screwing anyone who submits anything at all during this time... people don't download apps with 0 reviews!


On Monday, April 13, 2020 at 10:53:56 PM UTC+1, Simeon Vincent wrote:


NOTE: This email was originally sent to registered extension developers on March 29, 2020. 


Dear Developer,


We want to tell you about impending changes to the Chrome Web Store as a result of the COVID-19 situation. 


Given adjusted work schedules due to these unprecedented times, there may be some temporary limitations and delays in support in some cases:


  • Delay in publishing - New versions submitted to the Store will take longer to be reviewed and published.  

  • Delay in responses to appeals - If you appeal an item rejection or removal, or appeal an account suspension, expect the response to be delayed. However, we will respond to every appeal request and we will get back to you as soon as we can. 

  • Delay in developer account transfers - If you are transferring your extension to a different account, expect a significant increase in the time taken to complete the transfer. 

  • Delay in general support - If you are trying to reach out to our support team for issues related to your account(s) or extension(s), expect a delayed response from our team. We will get back to you as soon as we can. 

  • Chrome Web Store payments - We are disabling the ability to create new paid items or add payments to existing items. This includes extensions, themes, apps, and in-app purchases.


You can help by making sure that your extensions comply with the Developer program policies before you submit them. Refer to these resources for more information:


We understand that these changes may cause inconvenience, and we apologize for any interruption of service. Thank you for your support during this challenging time and for your participation in the Chrome extension ecosystem.


- The Google Chrome Web Store team


© 2020 Google LLC, 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043

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earl allend

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Jun 3, 2020, 3:02:03 AM6/3/20
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Joey Lewey

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Jun 5, 2020, 4:15:00 PM6/5/20
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Pteppicymon

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Jun 15, 2020, 4:26:12 AM6/15/20
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Hello

Is there any news when we can expect the Store to re-enable reviews and publishing paid extensions?

I read on Business Insider that Google was going to start reopening its offices on July 6th. Does it mean we'll likely have to wait this long?

Charlie P

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Jun 28, 2020, 7:21:33 PM6/28/20
to Chromium Extensions
I would also like to know if there is a date on when the CWS is adding back the option to publish paid extensions.

MG

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Jul 1, 2020, 8:31:17 AM7/1/20
to Chromium Extensions
Is there any ETA for adding new  in app purchases?

Sindélio Henrique Lima

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Jul 4, 2020, 12:56:22 PM7/4/20
to Chromium Extensions
I'm developing an extension and would like to know when we will see paid items being published in the chrome extension.
Any news on this?

Just Another Consultant

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Jul 30, 2020, 6:44:30 AM7/30/20
to Chromium Extensions
Rant 1:
Why is one of the most technologically advanced companies on earth who's striving to be a leader in 'work from home' enabling technology solely dependent on someone being at a desk in some office in order to manage new paid extensions?  This is completely ridiculous!

Rant 2:
Even before the above situation occurred, extension developers were already a low priority for Google.  How many years is it going to take to build a finished 'feature complete' Chrome Web Store Developer Dashboard?  Why in 2020 do I still need to go to 2 different dashboards to get everything done that I need to do?  Are the Android developers shut down right now?  Somehow I bet they are getting along just fine with all the support they need through all of this.

PhistucK

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Jul 30, 2020, 7:11:29 AM7/30/20
to Just Another Consultant, Chromium Extensions
1. When schools are closed and so on, people are not always able to work from home. The kids sometimes need too much attention (or even the partner, who could be depressed or similar) and the parent cannot really work/focus. So you have less people available for the web store. Be mindful at these difficult times.

2. Yep, they are understaffed. Hopefully this will, one day, change.

PhistucK


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Just Another Consultant

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Jul 30, 2020, 7:39:00 AM7/30/20
to PhistucK, Chromium Extensions
I don't buy that excuse -- I can't use it with my employer.  How about software developers who need to sell software to pay the bills - can Google be mindful of them?  In the age of Google cloud and the digital marketplace -- this feels a lot like 2005.

PhistucK

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Jul 30, 2020, 9:33:34 AM7/30/20
to Just Another Consultant, Chromium Extensions
Well, that is too bad. It is what it is. Strange people choose to screw their workplace instead of neglecting their kids. So weird. :)

(I am not affiliated with Google, just noting)

PhistucK

MG

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Jul 31, 2020, 6:33:46 AM7/31/20
to Chromium Extensions, just.anothe...@gmail.com
I think the kids argument is so irrelevant here, we all got our challenges as well and try to cope somehow. What's relevant is that yes all companies are going through challenges since covid-19, but why is sth as essential as offering paid extensions was so low prioritizied for Google.


On Thursday, July 30, 2020 at 3:33:34 PM UTC+2, PhistucK wrote:
Well, that is too bad. It is what it is. Strange people choose to screw their workplace instead of neglecting their kids. So weird. :)

(I am not affiliated with Google, just noting)

PhistucK


On Thu, Jul 30, 2020 at 2:38 PM Just Another Consultant <just.anoth...@gmail.com> wrote:
I don't buy that excuse -- I can't use it with my employer.  How about software developers who need to sell software to pay the bills - can Google be mindful of them?  In the age of Google cloud and the digital marketplace -- this feels a lot like 2005.

On Thu, Jul 30, 2020 at 6:11 AM PhistucK <phis...@gmail.com> wrote:
1. When schools are closed and so on, people are not always able to work from home. The kids sometimes need too much attention (or even the partner, who could be depressed or similar) and the parent cannot really work/focus. So you have less people available for the web store. Be mindful at these difficult times.

2. Yep, they are understaffed. Hopefully this will, one day, change.

PhistucK


On Thu, Jul 30, 2020 at 1:44 PM Just Another Consultant <just.anoth...@gmail.com> wrote:
Rant 1:
Why is one of the most technologically advanced companies on earth who's striving to be a leader in 'work from home' enabling technology solely dependent on someone being at a desk in some office in order to manage new paid extensions?  This is completely ridiculous!

Rant 2:
Even before the above situation occurred, extension developers were already a low priority for Google.  How many years is it going to take to build a finished 'feature complete' Chrome Web Store Developer Dashboard?  Why in 2020 do I still need to go to 2 different dashboards to get everything done that I need to do?  Are the Android developers shut down right now?  Somehow I bet they are getting along just fine with all the support they need through all of this.

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Charlie P

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Jul 31, 2020, 2:45:05 PM7/31/20
to Chromium Extensions, just.anothe...@gmail.com
Yep. I've had my extension waiting for like 2 months ready to make it public just waiting on them to add back paid extensions... I don't want to have to go the route of adding Stripe or PayPal integration but with how long the paid extensions have been down I've been idling for quite some time.

Hr Gwea

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Aug 1, 2020, 2:45:46 PM8/1/20
to Chromium Extensions

On Thursday, July 30, 2020 at 6:44:30 AM UTC-4, Just Another Consultant wrote:
Rant 2:
Even before the above situation occurred, extension developers were already a low priority for Google.  How many years is it going to take to build a finished 'feature complete' Chrome Web Store Developer Dashboard?  Why in 2020 do I still need to go to 2 different dashboards to get everything done that I need to do?  Are the Android developers shut down right now?  Somehow I bet they are getting along just fine with all the support they need through all of this.

I think I'm quite close to the truth in saying that the Chrome Web Store does not generate profit for Google.

Profit as measured by revenue minus cost. i.e. the income they get from "Google Pay" transactions minus the salary of all employees that work on everything related to the Chrome extensions ecosystem (minus infrastructure also).

The situation is obviously quite different with Google's Play Store. The smartphone, being a wallet + credit card + phone, is an ideal medium to convince people to pay for stuff (app, games, music, etc.)
When paying for something is just a couple of taps away, people are more willing accept a payment.

Time has shown that browser extensions are not a profitable business. Or at least not nearly as profitable as mobile apps.

So, that's what puts us in the current situation. An understaffed CWS support team, an understaffed CWS development team, an understaffed Chrome extension platform team, an understaffed extension review team, etc...

Manifest V3 is most likely one more consequence of this lack of profitability. They can't afford to develop the extensions platform any further, so instead they are trying to simplify it. They want to fuse it with existing web technologies.

If Chrome extensions were an important business for Google, then Manifest V3 would have been a big improvement to the platform, full of new features, and we all would've been eager to start doing new things with it.

What's happening instead?
Manifest V3 is an impairment to the platform. Instead of thinking what new things we could do with it MV3, we are thinking how the heck are we going to keep doing the things that we can do so far, and how costly for us it will be to maintain functionality, if at all.

It doesn't matter how much money Google has. Every project must produce profits somehow, otherwise they are just wasting money.
So, the amount of employees assigned to the Chrome extensions ecosystem is just the amount of people they can afford to pay, as given by the level of profit they get from that side of the business.

Just Another Consultant

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Aug 1, 2020, 3:02:16 PM8/1/20
to Hr Gwea, Chromium Extensions
I agree that the CWS is probably not very profitable for Google ... in fact it's probably a net loss for them.  But then again so is the Chrome browser in general.  Chrome doesn't generate any profits but it's a mechanism that can help to drive traffic to their profitable services such as Search.  Chrome extensions drive enhancements for Chrome which attracts more users --  which in turn provides profitable side effects. Google spends lots of money on profitless projects for ulterior motives.

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Hr Gwea

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Aug 1, 2020, 7:16:15 PM8/1/20
to Chromium Extensions, hrg...@gmail.com
Exactly. The profits can be made indirectly, by making the browser appealing to more people.

So, how much more popular is the Chrome browser thanks to extensions?
Not very much more.
Enough to keep the extensions ecosystem working with the least amount of employees possible.

Charlie P

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Aug 29, 2020, 10:12:19 PM8/29/20
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Any updates on when we'll be getting paid extensions added back?


On Monday, April 13, 2020 at 5:53:56 PM UTC-4, Simeon Vincent wrote:
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