Apparently, two extensions already exist: Google Mail Checker and BuildBot Monitor. Mail Checker keeps an eye on your Google Mail, displaying the number of messages in your inbox on the Google Chrome toolbar. BuildBot keeps track of the current status of the Chromium build, and notifies you when a newer build is available for download.
According to Siegler, installation is a breeze: “Installing these extensions is a breeze. You click the “Install” link, the file downloads, you click to run it, it asks if you’re sure you want to install the extension, you say “yes”, and you’re done. There is no need to restart Chrome/Chromium, they work right away.” Unlike Firefox it’s load and go. And Siegler reports that Chrome extensions don’t, yet, slow down the browser, like they do in Firefox.
As your library of Firefox Add-ons continues to grow, so does the worry that a system crash will wipe out your carefully assembled collection of extensions. To quell this fear, all you have to do is download just one additional add-on that will ensure your extensions say safely backed up in a folder on your computer or portable storage device. FEBE (Firefox Environment Backup Extension) is a worry-free backup system that will preserve your highly-customized Firefox settings in the case of a crash.
Speed? Check. Minimalistic interface? Check. Better tab management, pretty good standards support, and support for third-party extensions? Check, check, and, well, not yet. But if Google's latest developer preview version of its Chrome browser is any indication, extensions will soon be supported as a standard feature.
"We're ready for a few more people to start using extensions - the kind of adventurous people who populate the dev channel," said Aaron Boodman, the Google engineer who oversees the extensions work.
Google recently began supporting extensions in developer versions of Chrome, but you had to input a command line switch. With the latest preview version of Chrome on Windows, however, extensions are supported by default.
The lack of extensions support has been a major criticism of Chrome ever since it launched, but with support seemingly right around the corner, Firefox users will be faced with a tough dilemma: Switch to Chrome, which has superior tab stability but a smaller library of extensions, or ride it out with Firefox in anticipation of version 4.0, which will also treat tabs as separate processes.
Question for the Firefox users: Would you switch to Chrome if it supported extensions? Hit the jump and tell us why or why not.
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.
Hit the jump to see what Google is doing to add extensions to Chrome, and how it will differ from Firefox.