Recently, I’ve done a couple of posts on the growing market share of and impressive performance in speed tests of Google’s open source Chrome browser. Even though Chrome is a very fast browser, though, and even though its ability to load pages and applications in distinct tabs without crashing the whole browser is attractive, it still doesn’t have the extremely useful universe of extensions that Firefox has.
Boodman’s post includes a link to a design document intended for developers who want to build extensions for Chrome. Many people who had been wondering if it would be easy to fork extensions for Firefox to Chrome’s Chromium core may be encouraged by attention paid in the design document to “users coming from other browsers who are used to certain extensions that they can’t live without.” The design document also cites several popular Firefox extensions as examples of good add-ons for Chrome, including ForecastFox, Adblock, and many more.
“The system should be able to support an open-ended list of APIs over time, such as toolbars, sidebars, content scripts (for Greasemonkey-like functionality), and content filtering (for parental filters, malware filters, or adblock-like functionality),” the design document adds. The plan calls for bookmarking, content enhancement, content filtering, download helper and other types of extensions.
This is good news, and more evidence of how much of the innovation in browsers is being driven on the open source front by Firefox and Chrome. Indeed, there already is an initial extension for Chrome–a fork of the Firefox extension URL Helper. I expect that a lot of the most popular Firefox extensions will show up in versions for Chrome next year, which will create a more level playing field between these two browsers.