Beta of course! Or it wouldn’t be a Google product to make justice to the its maker. I found out about the release of the extensions by pure coincidence. I was installing Ubuntu 9.10 on my Desktop to try it out, when I remembered to search if Chrome was already ported to Linux. Apparently it was. Perfect! So, how about extensions? Some time ago Google announced extensions but only to developers, it seems in just a few weeks the result was very impressive, as Google Chrome Extensions released with a whooping 300 plugins!
The Chrome Extensions
I took Chrome for a walk in Ubuntu. Chrome works flawlessly in Linux just like in Windows. It’s fast, the interface minimalist, providing you with more browsing screen area, the extensions released complement the browser very well. You have Gmail Mail Checker, an AdBlocker, RSS Subscription Extension, Xmarks for Chrome to synchronize your bookmarks and passwords (I don’t use password synchronization as I’m too paranoid for that), StumbleUpon, Cooliris because Image browsing can’t get much better than this, and a lot more common extensions if you used Firefox before. This was just released and it came out pumping 300 plugins, give it time and I’m sure with the Power World: Google powering it, much more will see the light of day.
Since we built all of this in the open, we had tons of help. Developers started using our code shortly after the first check-in, and have been sending us feedback on our mailing list ever since. Being able to see the extensions people were trying to build and the problems they faced made it more fun to design the system, and motivated us to keep fixing the bugs.
Today, we’re really happy to release a beta of extensions that begins to deliver on our initial vision. Extensions are as easy to create as webpages. Users can install and uninstall them quickly without restart, and extensions have a great polished look that fits in with Google Chrome’s minimalist aesthetic. When developers upload an extension it is available to users immediately, with limited restrictions and manual reviews only in a few situations.
Source: Chromium Blog
Chrome Vs. Others
With the Extensions and Themes, Chrome just got a lot better to use. I don’t know if it’s enough to totally replace Firefox as my favorite browser, but I do know that my web browsing time is shifting a lot from Firefox to Chrome. I just find myself opening Chrome more and more. The real big winner between FF and Chrome for me it’s Chrome’s Interface. It’s minimalist, but at the same time slick and functional. You don’t have a permanent Status bar, giving you a more browsing area. You can use the address bar in a smart way to search directly Google or other known websites. The New Tab screen of Chrome is way more functional that Firefox one. These are little details that make you hold on to Chrome. Yes, Firefox can do the same thing with the use of some addons, but thinking in the same line, then Chrome will be also a lot more powerful when the extension community start gathering more and more around Google’s Browser.
For now, and because I have some extensions I still can’t find on Chrome, Firefox still has my vote as the best browser around. Chrome is my favorite Runner-Up, Opera being a good browser with a lot of innovative features, has some idiosyncrasies that makes me stay away from it.
So Firefox, beware, because Google isn’t sleeping on the job. Get your stuff together and work on an amazing Firefox 4, because 3 is starting to look outdated compared to Chrome and Opera!
Link: Chrome Extensions
PS – Oh yes, I almost forgot. Mac users got the short end of the stick, as extensions are not compatible with Chrome for OSX yet…