So, you know how almost every time we talk about Google Chrome we make sure to mention its simplicity and lack of bloating extras? Well, you can forget all that because Google recently announced that future development builds of the speedy browser will have extension support flicked on by default.
Firefox? We think this might mean more competition for you.
Extend! Extend! Ex...tend?
Let's rewind to February of this year when we talked about Chrome's back-story. Ben Goodger, leader of the Google Chrome project, wrote the following about the UI development process:
"A core value for us was to keep the number of options low. Obviously some options are necessary - your home page, your network settings, etc. Some things represent genuine user preferences and others represent configuration that might be specific to a given installation. What we didn't want to do was add a lot of choices that represented unresolved design decisions for the UI. This felt a little too much like "giving up" our responsibilities on the UI design team and making users to do our job."
Today, the team’s simplistic attitude toward Chrome’s UI can be seen reflected in pretty much every aspect of the browser. In fact, since day 1, keeping things aesthetically minimal has been the main differentiating factor between it and the ever-popular Mozilla Firefox. Though building Chrome extensions is nothing new, they were always hidden behind a developer flag. That Google is now removing the flag makes the company appear to be not only supporting, but encouraging frill development. We can’t help but wonder how this slight change of direction will bode with Chrome’s user base.
Regardless of Chrome’s essentials-only steez, the truth is that developers have been dying to expand the functionality since its initial release. In fact, word around the way is that extensions framework is the most often requested feature of Chrome (no surprise there).
Google, who were sure you’re well aware is down with keeping with the times and demands of their user base, stated earlier this year that the best way to develop software that delights people is to release early and release often. The extension flag removal is what Big G is calling the first step in this new launch process.
“For this release, we focused on getting most of the basic infrastructure and security pieces in place, in particular our new permission system. However, you should still be cautious and only install extensions from developers you trust,” said Aaron Boodman, Google software engineer. “Going forward, we are working hard towards a release on the Beta Channel. The UI is likely to change as we bring it up to Google Chrome's high standard, and we're still finishing up a few APIs.”
The Future of Chromium
It sounds like Google is slowly easing into Chrome’s new chapter—whatever that is—but it appears that they expect to pick up some serious speed when things get a bit more comfortable. Whether or not it will actually cause tremors in the worlds of competitors like Firefox is yet to be seen, but obviously Google’s track record already speaks volumes of what they're capable of. Personally, we wouldn't be surprised to see a sudden flux of carnage come out of the browser wars.