Chrome gets true extension support

May 15, 2009 // 9:57 a.m.

Tags: #add-ons #chrome #chromium #crx #developer-build #extensions #firefox #xpi

Google's open-source Chrome browser has finally received proper support for Firefox-style extensions in the latest developer build.

According to DownloadSquad, the currently available developer build of Chrome – along with the nightly release of Chromium – supports true extensions which are able to modify both the functionality and the appearance of the browser.

Whereas previous support was limited to scripts wrapped in a specific container format, this build represents the first step towards true Firefox-style add ons for Google's browser. The support is already looking pretty slick – unlike Firefox, Chrome doesn't require a restart when a new extension is installed before it can be used.

Sadly, the user experience is still pretty lacking – forgiveable from a developer build. Unlike Firefox, Chrome offers no easy way to manage extensions post-install – it's a question of browsing the the extension folder in Windows Explorer, with no in-browser management functionality available as yet. You'll also need to start the browser with the “--enable-extensions” switch, as the extensions feature is disabled by default.

A small selection of example extensions in the .CRX format is available from the Chromium Developer Documentation site, although the offerings are pretty dull at the moment. With working extension functionality already part of the developer build, however – and presumably heading to the stable release in the not-too-distant future – it's not too hard to see hackers working to port some of the more popular Firefox plugins ready for release.

Has Google answered your last complaint about Chrome, or does the company still have some work to do before you would consider switching browsers? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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