Search engine giant Google has removed Avast and AVG extensions from its web browser Chrome. The decision comes in the wake of concerns over the security of user data. Multiple reports have been doing the rounds that Avast and AVG extensions were secretly collecting user data. The Avast and AVG browser extensions were also available on Mozilla Firefox and Opera. Both Opera and Firefox removed these extensions earlier this month to secure the privacy of users. Google has now joined the league by removing all extensions but one from the Chrome Web Store. Google has not issued any statement on why it removed these extensions. But it is confirmed that the company has removed Avast SafePrice, AVG SafePrice, and Avast Online Security.
Only the AVG Online Security browser extension remains available on the Chrome Web Store. Avast and AVG browser extensions were collecting user data like URLs, webpage titles, operating system details, browser versions, and others. Gathering such data violated the privacy of users and therefore these extensions were removed by the browser. These data could be used to determine the browsing behavior of users, meaning which websites user visits, how much time he spends, what all details were shared and many more. If reports are to go by, browsing data was sold by the Avast to know the shopping habits of users. Meanwhile, Avast has defended its decision to collect data, saying users need not worry about their privacy because data collected by the company is anonymized.
Notably, these browser extensions have been only removed, not blacklisted by the company. This means these extensions continue working for existing users. Mozilla Firefox too didn’t issue any statement on why it removed extensions, but said it disabled the extension listings and was working with Avast on fixing the privacy issues. Once sorted out, there is ample chance that add-ons could go back online when an update is pushed into the market. Avast has around 400 million users worldwide.