Chrome Hiding Extension Icons By Default

Back in June 2019, Google Chrome started hiding extension icons by default when users first install a new extension. This can be very frustrating as a developer that users may not know how to “Pin” the extension to their toolbar. In my case, my Weather Extension, Link Shortener Extension, and Bitcoin Extension are all toolbar extensions that need to be pinned for easy access.

Instead of allowing extension icons to appear one after another to the right of the search box, the Chrome Extensions Platform team is trying out a design change that hides the graphical buttons in a menu accessed by a puzzle piece icon. Personally, I believe this is causing a lot of confusion and needs to be changed. If the extension has a click action, it needs to be pinned by default. This would allow the user to immediately see the extension and try it. Then they can always unpin it later. To me it’s strange to install something then it disappear into the menu.

Their goal with this new UI is to make it easier for users to see what extensions can access their data. I do like the fact that extensions now show what type of permissions and data they access.

Hopefully, a future update will change the default action for extensions to be pinned if they have an action when clicked.



Thanks for reading. Make sure you follow me on Twitter to stay up to date on the progress of my side projects T.LYWeather Extension, and Link Shortener Extension. If you are interested in the tech I use daily, check out my uses page.  

5 thoughts to “Chrome Hiding Extension Icons By Default”

  1. Yes, this drives me nuts. Sony does the same thing on PlayStation where all the streaming media apps are forced into this media center UI thing that’s just inconvenient. For reasons I’ll never understand, I can’t have my streaming apps available on my home screen. No matter the platform, users just want easy access to the things they use most. As a user if I decide something is in the way I’ll hide it myself. Not sure how that fundamental gets forgotten.

    1. Yes it’s frustrating especially for users that never figure out how to pin it. They may not ever figure out how to use the extension.

  2. Thank you for mentioning this! For months, I’d thought that I was doing something wrong or had some conflicting extension which was creating this unwanted behavior.

    I’d like to believe that there’s an actual, legitimate reason why this was decided, but the only one that I can come up with is that once there are a lot of extension icons, they spill off the toolbar and folks don’t know to click on the >> button to see them? But hiding all of them behind the puzzle piece doesn’t seem like the way to solve that to me!

    Maybe they don’t like third-party extensions? Are Google-branded extensions hidden by default?

    Surely there is a better way to accomplish whatever their intention was. This change is so unfriendly.

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