Sport & Auto
- About Future
- Digital Future
- Cookies Policy
- Terms & Conditions
- Investor Relations
- Contact Future
Just a few months ago, we could have summed up the browser wars in single word: BORING! That's not to say we haven't appreciated the new features that accompany each new release of Mozilla's Firefox and Microsoft's Internet Explorer, but the results and the competitors always remained the same. It's become far too easy to predict how each new round will go - Firefox will add new features, get a little faster, and inch ever so closer in market share, while each new IE release will suck a little less than the last and continue to be the most widely used browser on the planet. At least in the chip wars, AMD and Intel have taken turns putting the smackdown on one another accompanied by the occasional trash talk.
It took a surprise release by an unlikely newcomer to finally get us excited about the future of browsers again. Google's Chrome seemingly came out of nowhere and has the potential to turn what has been a stale two-man scuffle into a three-way battle royal. Along with greater stability, Chrome's claim to fame is that it can render web pages faster than the competition, and indeed a recent benchmark comparison has pegged Chrome as the new speed king. But in order for anyone to truly take Chrome seriously, Google has to put extension support at the forefront of development, and it appears they're doing exactly that.
As much as it would be nice to simply port all of Firefox's vast library of extensions over to Chrome, Google knows that direct support just isn't technically possible. Instead, Google's getting busy developing its own system, one it believes will prove as equally powerful and easier to use. Wouldn't it be groovy if you could install an extension and have it work right away without a reboot? That's one of the goals. So too is being able to tell what amount of resources each extension is taking up.
These aren't just empty promises, either. Google has put together a design document for Chromium, the open-source implementation of Chrome, listing out specific goals, what types of specific extensions it would like to support (think AdBlock, Stumbleupon, FoxyTunes, and other popular extensions), package and distribution goals, how installation should take place, and much more.
Google understands that it would be an impossible undertaking to make Chrome appeal to every single user, noting that "the feature needs of one person often conflicts directly with those of another." This is something Firefox has long understood as well and is in somewhat of a contrast to Opera's approach, which comes with a wider feature-set from the get-go but isn't nearly as customizable.
User created extensions, in Google's mind, tackles three key problems: Being able to add niche features which apply to a limited fan base, ensuring that users coming from other browsers will have the same core extensions they've grown comfortable with on their previous browser, and allowing third-parties to add features specific to their bundle.