As we reported in our previous Client Update, Google has updated its User Data Policy for the Chrome Web Store with new transparency requirements and data usage restrictions. According to the new policy, which will enter into force on 14 July 2016, the collection and use of web browsing activity is prohibited except where this is required for a user-facing feature that is prominently described in the Product’s Chrome Web Store page and in the Product’s user interface.
In a clarification added to the designated FAQ page, Google has clarified that ad targeting or other monetization purpose will not be considered as a legitimate user-facing feature for the purpose of collecting web browsing activity. According to the policy clarification, "an extension can only collect and transmit web browsing activity to the extent required for a user-facing feature that is prominently described in the Chrome Web Store page and user interface. Ad targeting or other monetization of this data isn’t for a user-facing feature. And, even if a user-facing feature required collection of this data, its use for ad targeting or any other monetization of the data wouldn’t be permitted because the Product is only permitted to use the data for the user-facing feature".
This policy will add an additional limitation on the possibilities of extension developers to monetize their products based on features or data that are not the single purpose of the extension, following previous restrictions such as the "single purpose" rule.