User-created extensions coming to Google Chrome

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User-created extensions coming to Google Chrome

User-created extensions are at the heart of a new Google plan to improve its open source Chrome browser, according to documents on the Chromium development site.

“Chromium can’t be everything to all people,” acknowledges the design document.

“People use web browsers in a variety of environments and for a wide variety of jobs. Personal tastes and needs vary widely from one user to the next. The feature needs of one person often conflict directly with those of another. Further, one of the design goals of Chromium is to have a minimal light-weight user interface, which itself conflicts with adding lots of features.”

The design document proposes a philosophy for new extensions:
  • The addition of features that have specific or limited appeal ("that would be great as an extension");
  • Users coming from other browsers who are used to certain extensions that they can’t live without;
  • Bundling partners who would like to add Chromium specific features to their bundle

The document was drawn up by Aaron Boodman, a Google programmer specialising in Chrome and Gears. In a blog post, he said that the project had been under discussion for a couple of weeks.

The team outlines goals for the Chromium system, use cases, proposals, distribution and installation.

Extension updates should be silent, recommends the document, addressing a much-maligned feature of Firefox which interrupts use to request extension updates.

Chromium will also run a blacklist of known malicious and harmful extensions, in order to disable them.

Although Google hasn’t put forward a timeframe for extensions, it has set a framework for development.

“Our first milestone will be to implement a functioning extension system that can support content scripts,” says the document.

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