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Google reveals Chrome extensions plan
Includes ad blocker that will block AdSense ads

 12:40 am on Dec 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

Google has published its plan to build into Chrome what is arguably its most requested feature: the ability to accept extensions that can customize how the open-source Web browser operates.

And guess what? Google's dependence on advertising notwithstanding, one of the extension examples the company points to is the ability to block advertisements.

The Chrome extensions document, spotlighted Saturday by Google programmer Aaron Boodman, doesn't include a timeline, but it does shed light on why the project is a priority for Chromium, the open-source project behind Chrome.




 4:21 am on Dec 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

Brave move - but then, they really don't have a choice; if you offer a browser, you have to offer adblock!

But it's the functional extras that FF has, and Chrome lacks, that I want!


 6:22 am on Dec 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

How do you call this in the US? A shoot in the foot?


 8:56 am on Dec 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

Why would that be?

Looks like a logical - even inevitable - next step to me.

Google don't just think of the next buck; they see a Very Big Picture.


 12:16 am on Dec 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

It's just as easy to edit the hosts file or download one if you can't wait for an adblock extension.


 1:36 am on Dec 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

True, but a nice user interface makes it so much easier to keep things updated. I'm not sure if the average user could deal with installing a downloaded hosts file, much less editing one to keep it up to date. Even for folks like us who can handle it, a UI is so much nicer.


 4:31 am on Dec 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

I admit, I block by using my hosts file.
I really dig Chrome, way more so than any other browser, and I'm sure that I'll enjoy the extensions when they are released. However, I spend ALOT of time just randomly surfing, so I don't always need a ShowIP plugin or a Backlink checker, or any other plugin generally, so Chrome works fantastic out of the box. If I need plugins for something, I load up firefox where i have them installed.
If the extensions added to chrome don't affect the speed, then I'll use them.
As far as Google not allowing users of Chrome to block adsense ads, as well as other ads, if Google prevented that, alot of credibility would go out the window. Quadrille hit it on the head, make a browser, and even allow it to block google's own ads.


 9:33 pm on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

Not all add-ons have to do cutesy things. NoScript is arguably the best way to enhance browser security. Given some of the sites I have to surf it's undoubtedly a lifesaver. If Chrome makes it possible to port this add-on from Firefox I think it will win a lot of converts. But in general add-ons are probably what's helped make Firefox the contender it is today. One thing I worry about with Chrome adding extensions is the possibility of bloat that will make it more like Firefox than the lean, mean browsing machine it is right now. And yet there's really no way Chrome can become a contender without extensions. At least that's what I think.


 10:34 pm on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

Finally! I'm beginning to get a little impatient with the lack of add ons and hope they get these rolling pretty soon. I'd like the drop the memory hog firefox as soon as is possible.


 12:31 am on Dec 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

How do you call this in the US? A shoot in the foot?

Here in the Netherlands we call it "breaking one's own windows".

I've been a happy chrome user for a while now. Add-ons would definately be great!


 1:17 am on Dec 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

If they hadn't done it, someone else would have. This gives them more control, and I wonder, if also a way to override the ad blocker if and when they want to.


 1:40 am on Dec 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

I doubt they'd actually override the ad blocker - that would be so obviously 'bad faith' - but with Adwords, Doubleclick, and their own user-controlled browser, they are in a great place to experiment with new advertising methods, while getting quality feedback from a fair proportion of users (from both sides).

Google are big enough to take a long view; and it doesn't have to be that long to see alternative 'ad block resistant' ads on the horizon.

I've long maintained that with Google, it's rarely the short-term issues that count - the significant stuff shows itself later. Page Rank and nofollow are but two examples - though I grant you that they were forced to change Page Rank!

As ever, we live in interesting times.


 1:54 am on Dec 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

Quadrille Google has done an amasing job in under ten years it created a brand name almost as recognisable as Coca Cola. I think ad blocking on chrome is irrelevent, know one uses chrome anyway and no one ever will.

Howerever I am very interested in your comments on nofollow and pagerank and perhaps in another discussion would like to hear more and expand of your thoughts on the subject.


 1:56 am on Dec 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

Welcome to WebmasterWorld, Bilbo. :)


 2:00 am on Dec 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

Thanks Gary for the welcome ;)


 4:07 am on Dec 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

I doubt if Chrome is the end of Google's vision. I think more likely that Chrome is just the doorway. So when it's said that Chrome is irrelevant because no one uses it, I think that's not getting the big picture. My take is that Chrome will just be the portal to more on-line applications and other adventures that are only a spark in the eye of those Googlers who get to take some of their paid time and just do that: explore their visions. So Chrome as a browser, eh, big deal, but Chrome as just the button you push to get something else you want, hmmmmmmmmm.......now that's a whole different story, eh?



 4:29 am on Dec 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'm sure you've got a piece of the picture here, Tim. If the idea was "just another browser trying to grab market share" Google could have thrown a lot more marketing into it than they did.

But online appplications? That's why Google wrote a new javascript engine - so that online apps can perform faster. With extensions, I can see that certain special purpose applications might even involve installing an extension for enhanced functionality.


 7:41 am on Dec 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

If the idea was "just another browser trying to grab market share"...

They never had this idea with Chrome as they never had it with Gtalk, Google Checkout or a buch of failed Gwidgets.
No one haves the whole intelligence (or market) and, until today, Google has just two leader products: search and Adwords/Adsense.

If Chrome will be in the "miserable failure", "forgettable gadget", "funny but useless", "less known but better", "contender" or "market dominant" category is something only time will show.


 7:50 am on Dec 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

Folks, we need to focus on the topic -- browser extensions for Chrome. If we wander about discussing Chrome in general, or Google's many products and business plans, then we lose the topic.

It seems to me that making Chrome ready to take extensions would be essential for gaining market share, first from the tecchies (influnecers) and then the general public. Heck, even IE has a few "extensions" although they certainly aren't what the core user base is looking for.

But Firefox most definitely owes a lot of its success to the power of brower extensions - in fact, that's really the main reason I use Firefox as often as I do. I'll bet the 20% time at Google would turn out some pretty good extensions for Chrome rather quickly.


 11:48 am on Dec 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

I think ad blocking on chrome is irrelevent, know one uses chrome anyway and no one ever will.

I use Chrome, almost exclusively; and if they adopt just half of the extensions I used on FF (or equivalents), then I'll use it almost invariably; like most people here, I'll always keep a selection of browsers for births, marriages, deaths and site comparisons.

I think Chrome will develop down two parallel paths.

1. A standard browser that's lite and nimble and not in a hurry to be #1, but will eventually be Very Significant. Ths will involve a gradual but continual evolution, first to 'standard addons' then to things no-one's yet thought of - as suggested above.

2. A technology to support online applications; I already have a desktop Google docs, I'm considering a desktop gmail, and there'll be more.

I think ad blocking on chrome is irrelevent, know one uses chrome anyway and no one ever will.

I fear you are not just wrong - but very wrong indeed ...

... Only time will tell ;)

[edited by: Quadrille at 11:54 am (utc) on Dec. 5, 2008]


 2:38 am on Dec 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

I use Chrome, almost exclusively

Aye, and i use it because it is fast, period. If extensions are added to it, I will probably not add the extensions, unless Chrome is the only browser that has it (some kind of a google api function call that gets me my data without having to go to the actual google interface) then I will use the extension, outside of that, I save all the bloatware for IE and FF. I get anywhere from 8-12Mb download, I don't want to be slowed down.
please just fix the Error 2 (net::ERR_FAILED): Unknown error. when i try to ftp to my sites...


 3:08 am on Dec 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

Apart from the obvious ad blocker, I wonder what the first set of extensions will be.

Will it be something hardcore like the Firefox NoScript add-on? How about a tab manager?

I'm willing to bet there will be some sort of GMail notifier.

Do you think Chrome needs to keep the focus on lightweight extensions so as not to interfere with the primary stated objective to better interact with Google Apps?

Alone the above lines, what sorts of extensions might be useful with regard to Google Apps?

[edited by: tedster at 5:02 am (utc) on Dec. 6, 2008]


 2:19 pm on Dec 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

Maybe I'm missing something, but isn't this just a call to create, yet again, what already exists in other browsers?


 3:29 pm on Dec 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

In a way yes it is.

Perhaps you could say the same thing for Firefox. It started due to a desire to create a better, more secure browser than IE. The extensions were a large part of the better factor. And they were a huge hit being received enthusiastically. Now along comes Google who obviously thinks they can do this browser thing one better. And they seem to acknowledge that extensions are a large part of being successful.

I'm still hoping that after the initial "must have" extensions like an ad blocker and script blocker that someone will create extensions to make the Google Apps experience even better.

I'd like to see a calendar extension, for example. Just click a toolbar button on Chrome and have my calendar popup. And from there I could easily add, edit and delete calendar entries. Ideally I could also select a different calendar from a list of saved calendars. That would be the proverbial killer app (extension) for me.

That, combined with optimized performance for Apps, could make Chrome a must-have browser.


 5:04 pm on Dec 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

In answer to the person who wanted a gui to deal w/ using ad blocker extension w/o waiting for Chrome's extensions, there is one called Hostsman. They hook into some popular lists of hosts worth blocking but sometimes ads are integral to a site. So flushing DNS from a separate gui is not quite as good as a built in extension. I've also used for years an ie extension that lets me add sites to ie's blocked list and "good" sites too. Not sure if IE uses the hosts file for that though.


 9:33 pm on Dec 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

Maybe I'm missing something, but isn't this just a call to create, yet again, what already exists in other browsers?

It certainly is; but each browser is unique, and jst as FF launched as quicker and lighter than IE, so Chrome has taken the next step in creating a very lite core, to which you will be able to add as many or as few modules as you wish. It's very much a logical next step, and one that I expected FF to make; but FF has got heavier, it has poor memory control, and the difference between Chrome and FF, in this respect, is probably greater than the difference between FF and IE - except, of course, the modules have not yet appeared :)

I'm one of the few who have adopted Chrome for all my surfing and research, and I use FF for SEO (because I need the extensions), and IE for some video viewing (I find it's better than FF and much better than Chrome).

But since I've used Chrome so much, I now find FF really, really sluggish, and its memory hogging really annoys me; IE, of course, takes forever to do anything.

For me, once Chrome gives me a few extensions, hopefully switchable on and off more easily than FF, and improves its video display (they are getting better), then no contest.

The fact these things exist on other browsers, is not an problem for me at all; it's simply a question of which does it best.

[edited by: Quadrille at 9:34 pm (utc) on Dec. 7, 2008]


 1:31 am on Dec 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

I heartily agree, Quadrille. I moved to the Opera browser back at version 3 (it was still paid!) because I saw they had developed tabbed browsing and I just knew how much that would help my style of working. Now other browsers offer tabbed browsing, but they still didn't "get it right" in my book.

If Opera had more awesome user scripts available (add-ons, extensions, whatever your name) I'd never fire up Firefox. But Firefox got me to use that browser as my second tier, precisely because some of the extensions are so good and so useful.

My point is that doing something that's already been done is not a problem at all - as long as you do it better in some way. And giving the market a true choice is always a good thing in my book.

So I say: Chrome, go for it!


 6:28 pm on Dec 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

Related news from Google - and it's an extension for any browser, not just Chrome



 7:05 pm on Dec 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

Engine moved it here:


[edited by: GaryK at 7:05 pm (utc) on Dec. 9, 2008]

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