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Chrome Extensions Coming Soon!

by Chrome Blog on December 4, 2008

The Chromium folk have published a document detailing information about the long awaited ability to extend Chrome with user selected Extensions/Addons like FireFox.

This is excellent news, feedback here at ChromePlugins.org points to many people not adopting Chrome as their default browser due to the lack of functionality. Also over 50,000 people have hit our Google Toolbar for Chrome page which enables people to replicate the Google Toolbar and many features of SEOQuake, a popular FireFox addon for web site owners which shows a “Google Baked” solution is needed.

The Chromium document went on to state:

“Chromium can’t be everything to all people.  People use web browsers in a variety of environments and for a wide variety of jobs.  Personal tastes and needs vary widely from one user to the next.  The feature needs of one person often conflict directly with those of another. 

Further, one of the design goals of Chromium is to have a minimal light-weight user interface, which itself conflicts with adding lots of features.
User-created extensions have been proposed to solve these problems:”

  • The addition of features that have specific or limited appeal (“that would be great as an extension”).
  • Users coming from other browsers who are used to certain extensions that they can’t live without.
  • Bundling partners who would like to add features to Chromium specific to their bundle.

A few points to note under the “Goals” section are as follows:

  • Web developers should be able to easily create Chromium extensions
  • Eventually, it should be possible to implement major chunks of Chromium itself as extensions.
  • We should not need to disable deployed extensions when we release new versions of Chromium.
  • Extensions should not be able to crash or hang the browser process.
  • We must be able to blacklist extensions across all Chromium installations
  • Extensions should work the same in Chromium as in Google Chrome.

One interesting point is Google being able to blacklist extensions across all installations, which indicates either the browser reporting it’s exact configuration back to HQ or Google being able to push out blacklist data preventing the extension from running. Also interesting is the ability to implement major chunks of Chrome as extensions themselves.

The following lists some types of extensions that Chrome/Chromium would like to eventually support:

  • Bookmarking/navigation tools: Delicious Toolbar, Stumbleupon, web-based history, new tab page clipboard accelerators
  • Content enhancements: Skype extension (clickable phone numbers), RealPlayer extension (save video), Autolink (generic microformat data – addresses, phone numbers, etc.)
  • Content filtering: Adblock, Flashblock, Privacy control, Parental control
  • Download helpers: video helpers, download accelerators, DownThemAll, FlashGot
  • Features: ForecastFox, FoxyTunes, Web Of Trust, GooglePreview, BugMeNot

Yes you read correctly, Adblock which is something many people were concerned about with Google relying heavily on advertising revenue that Chrome wouldn’t allow/support this. Fear no longer, it’s on the drawing board.. But will Google allow blocking of other ads, but “nuke” extensions that block Adsense?

I don’t think so, if someone goes out of their way to block ads with extensions there’s a damn good chance they won’t click on them anyway so showing ads to these people will effectively just inflate impressions and skew stats.

They also go on to say “Extensions will run in their own origin”  meaning in their own process and separate from web content. This means installing, uninstalling or disabling extensions will not require a browser restart like the current FireFox system which is good news. Also they state it will be a simple 2 click affair, one click to download the extension and one to confirm the install via a dialogue box.

Updates:

“Similar to Google Chrome, it is important for security that extensions be able to silently update. This should be a capability that is present for all extensions by default, not something the author has to plan for.”

So given the fact extensions can be installed without a browser restart, it appears security updates will be done silently in the background. Also due to the goal of Chrome version upgrades not impacting extensions, we should be virtually free of compatibility issues which leave us without our favorite extension while the author upgrades it.

So what’s next in the evolution of Chrome and Extensions?

“Our first milestone will be to implement a functioning extension system that can support content scripts. The majority of the work will be the infrastructure, including:”

  • packaging and signing
  • installation
  • autoupdate
  • management and removal
  • blacklisting
  • web service

“Once we have content scripts working, we can move on to additional types of extensibility like toolbars, sidebars, etc.”

Considering the latest Chromium build has Greasemonkey implementation, the infrastructure points listed above are no doubt being fine tuned as we speak. After that is polished, i’d say the next big step forwards will be Chrome users sporting a shiny new Google Toolbar.

See the Full Document

{ 3 trackbacks }

Google Chrome Emerges from Beta to Formally Challenge Microsoft IE « Lets Blog with Harish
12.13.08 at 10:50 pm
List of Useful Add-Ons For Google Chrome Using Bookmarklets - Chrome Plugins
01.04.09 at 12:11 pm
Google Chrome To Have Extensions/Plugins By May 2009 - Chrome Plugins
02.05.09 at 11:15 am

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 I need my roboform! 03.21.09 at 9:48 pm

I have been using Chrome because its awesome and IE 7 sucked. Now IE 8 is out and its ALOT better than IE7 but still not as good as chrome, however because of the extra steps involved everytime I need to login to a website I have resorted to using IE 8 until Chrome will start to support some Extensions. I am sure I am not the only one.

PLEASE HURRY GOOGLE!

2 Greg Schofield 08.01.09 at 7:26 am

Zotero — simply essential

3 Zindagi 11.21.09 at 2:10 pm

i really like chrome than any other browser .
but at this time it is my 2nd browser .
1st is firefox for its adds
kindly add the adds on for chrome.
be hurry plz

4 Juan 09.07.10 at 11:49 am

Yeahh!! yet another great extension to consider is Radio Player for Streema: http://bit.ly/streema-chrome

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