Apple Releases Safari 5.0.1, Turns on Extensions Gallery

Apple today announced the release of Safari 5.0.1. What’s significant in this point release is that Apple has turned on support for the Extensions Gallery. When Safari 5 was released in June, it included support for extensions so that developers could start building them, but without access to the Extensions Gallery, users had no easy way to find and install those extensions.

The Safari Extensions Gallery is accessible from the Safari menu or via extensions.apple.com. Users can download and install extensions from the gallery with a single click, with no need for a browser restart. Extensions can be automatically updated and are managed within Safari.

Safari Extensions are built with HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript web standards. Every Safari Extension is signed with a digital certificate from Apple to prevent tampering and to verify that updates to the extension are from the original developer. Safari Extensions work in a sandbox, so they can’t access information on a user’s system or communicate with websites aside from those specified by the developer.

While the Safari Extension Gallery is launching with a range of extensions from the likes of Bing, the New York Times, Twitter and eBay, it’s nowhere near to matching the usefulness of Chrome’s extensions, let alone Firefox’s gigantic range of add-ons. Apple’s decision to include extension support in Safari is a smart one, but until developers start porting the most useful extensions to Safari, I’ll find it tough to switch from my favorite browsers.

You can download Safari 5.0.1 for both Mac and PC for free from Apple.

What Chrome or Firefox extensions would you like to see ported to Safari?

Related GigaOM Pro content (sub. req.): What Does the Future Hold For Browsers?

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