Five Awesome Banned Chrome Extensions (and How to Install Them)

By Chris Mills on at

Occasionally, Google (and some of its users) don't quite see eye-to-eye. Extensions to Google Chrome which provide functions that are both legally and morally dubious fall into that category, which is why they generally get removed. But if your morals are loose and your scruples few and far between, you can still get at the forbidden fruit -- including Spotify downloads -- it just takes a bit of work.

Note: some of the extensions highlighted below have been banned because they're used for illegal activity. Please download and install them at your own risk. 


1. Downloadify

Owing to a vulnerability in Chrome's HTML5 web player, unencrypted MP3s are sent to you over the web when you play a song in Spotify. This extension sits in the middle, grabbing the MP3s as a download.


2. Anesidora

Pandora is a free music streaming service, and while 'technically' restricted to the US, it's an excellent tool for music discovery. Anesidora is an extension that allows you to play Pandora music, but without the ads or streaming restrictions. You can see why this one got banned.


3. Google Keep

When Google launched the Keep note-taking service, it forgot to add a Keep Chrome extension. Thankfully, developer Paul Eiche was kind enough to right that wrong; an act of kindness Google repaid by taking said extension down from the web store. However, it's still available here.


4. Grooveshark Downloader

If you use Grooveshark, the freemium music streaming service, you can download songs or entire albums with the Grooveshark Downloader extension. Just like Downloadify, Google didn't exactly like that idea, so the extension has to be installed manually.


5. APK Downloader

APK Downloader lets you download APKs from the Google Play store, allowing you to sideload apps that you wouldn't otherwise be allowed to install on your phone, because of 'geographical limitations' or something.


How to Install

There are two types of installation, because the extension codes above are provided in one of two formats. For both types, though, you need to have developer mode enabled in Chrome before you can do anything. Type 'chrome://extensions' into the Omnibar in Chrome, and then check the 'developer mode' tickbox at the top right.

For code provided as a .zip file:

- Download and extract the .zip file
- Click 'load unpacked extension' in Chrome, navigate to where you extracted the files to, and hit enter.

For code provided as a .crx:

- Download the .crx file (you might need to right-click on the download link and hit 'save link as'.
- Go to chrome://extensions, and drag-and-drop the .crx file in. You'll be asked if you want to add the extension; hit 'yes', obviously.