Chrome to have 500+ extensions by weekend. Chrome for Mac gaining extension support as well.

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by Mike
Posted December 10th, 2009 at 6:41 am

chrome-logoAre you an plugin person? Users of Firefox no doubt know about and/or use one or many of the countless plugins available for Mozilla’s mobile crawler. Everything from easily finding torrents to listing email messages in the browser title bar can be had with these browser add-ons. On the Google/Chrome side, end users have been clamoring for plugins (“extensions” on Google’s side) since the browsers release a little over a year ago. As is customary, Google has been working at break neck pace, though it doesn’t always seem that way. But that’s all water under the bridge as they say because Google officially announced and released “extensions” for Chrome.

For the grand unveiling, 300 extensions were primed and ready for consumer consumption with today’s total to eclipse 500. So they’re moving fast — very fast. Should Mozilla and Firefox be worried? In a nutshell, they should at least be checking over their shoulder every couple of hours. You see, Google’s extensions are more or less simple web pages shrunk down and formatted to fit whatever icon/page/or pop-up the develop chooses. The benefit of course is small footprint and minimal impact on browser speed. One other crucial point to mention is that the installation of extensions in Chrome does not require a restart of the browser — something that has always bugged me about Firefox. In regards to speed, I’m sure it’s something Firefox power users will appreciate as we all know how sluggish FF can get when it’s bags are full of plugins all vying for some one-on-one time with your processor.

What’s the state of affairs for Mac users? I mean, it did take an extra long time for said users to get their own “official/beta” product. According to one software engineer, Erik Kay, extensions for Mac will go live by “this weekend” — now that’s more like it. One thing to note however is that extensions for Mac will only be available for the time being on the developer channel of Chrome — not the beta channel. Even still, that last month or two of using developer builds of Chrome Mac was pretty painless and uneventful for me. Uneventful in the sense that I didn’t have any problems. As always though, if you’re a “beginner” in this whole computer world, maybe sticking to the Chrome beta for a while longer is your best bet.

One slightly humorous thing to highlight is that Chromium (the open source core that Chrome is comprised of) for Mac developer builds already feature extension support. When the browser was going through the inner confines of Google software engineer cubicles and offices, somewhere along the way the ability to install extensions was turned off. It’s still fully supported to run them, it’s just that you’re presented with a greyed-out box if you try to install an extension at the moment. But there’s a super easy way to enable the Chrome extension install button if you simply can’t wait until Friday.

Now that you’ve had a few days to spend with Google’s new Chrome for Mac baby, how do you like it? I’ve received a few tweets so far that several aren’t too impressed by it. That’s understandable when comparing it against Firefox and Safari both of which have a much larger feature set and are just as fast if not faster. But give it a little time folks. Chrome 1.0 was fast. Well, we thought it was until we saw charts comparing Chrome 1, 2, and 3. The point is, it will take a little bit longer to truly wring out the performance and features for the Mac version. But if Chrome for Mac can become anything like it’s Windows counterpart, the wait will be well worth it. Feel the same?
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One ResponseLeave a comment
  • Paul OFlaherty
    December 10, 2009 at 10:50 am
    Reply

    The addition of extensions such as GreaseMetal (GreaseMonkey for Chrome) is what will truly bring Chrome into the realm of usefulness that currently stops me from jumping the Firefox shark

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