The search biz has modded Chrome for Windows to detect when extensions switch people's Chrome settings, such as the default search engine, without authorization, a common tactic for deceptive software. The browser will now ask whether it can restore previous settings, which for the majority of Windows users will reestablish Google as Chrome's default search engine.
The operation can also be done by visiting a reset URL:
What's more, Google has enlisted security biz ESET to rebuild its Chrome Cleanup engine for removing deceptive code. In effect, the browser is getting built-in basic antivirus protection for your Windows computer.
"Our engine scans for and cleans potentially harmful applications, specifically the types that negatively impact or target the Chrome browsing experience," said Juraj Malcho, chief technology officer at ESET, in an email to The Register. "It is not meant to provide full coverage against all modern threats, its capabilities are limited to detecting specific malware families and/or specific ways of tampering with Chrome or operating system."
Chrome Cleanup began life in 2014 as Software Removal Tool, a sort of factory reset for Google's browser. Referred to as both Chrome Cleanup Tool and Chrome Cleanup, it has evolved into a way for Windows users to undo the damage from "unwanted software," the neutered term Google uses for malware.