revoke app permissions
Mock up of Revoke Button (Source: chromium)

Chrome users may soon be given greater control over what Web Store apps can access on their computer.

Chromium developers are debating how best to implement a ‘Revoke Additional Permissions‘ feature, with current talk leaning towards placing a button in the App Info view of the Chrome App Launcher.

What are ‘Additional Permissions’?

Unlike permissions asked for during installation, requests forAdditional Permissions are only thrown up during use, for example when a feature is accessed or a setting toggled on.

This is better for security and performance. In only asking for specific permissions when necessary, and at the discretion of the user, users have more control over and greater understanding of what an installed app can and cannot do.

It is currently not possible to disable optional permissions after they’ve been enabled, though one workaround is to uninstall and reinstall the app affected.

A granular approach, i.e., being able to disable each permission individually, is preferred by most of the Chromium developers involved in the discussion, but technical complexities make implementing this harder. In the interim a less elegant, but still welcome, “revoke all” button is likely to debut.

What is agreed is that offering some form of revocation is better than none at all, as one developer explains:

“It’s not fantastic and something more granular which maintains user friendliness would be better, if/when we decide what that is. But I’ve been convinced that “revoke all” is better than nothing (and building per-file and per-device revocation should also be straightforward).”

It should be noted that feature proposal being discussed would not allow “required permissions” — those that have to be agreed to when installing an application — to be disabled.

As for when it will arrive? Well, it’s already available to play with in the latest nightly builds of Chrome OS (thanks Kenny!). If, or when, it filters down don’t expect it to look exactly as in the mockup attached above.

Chromium Development app info dialog app permissions security