Firefox v.s Chrome Extensions: What We Learned So Far

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A few days back I wrote a post Why You Should Migrate to Chrome, I was wrong. It must be absurd to compare Firefox extensions with that of Chrome, but even though Chrome 4 is still in beta, we will compare them anyway.

Chrome’s official extensions gallery is just less than a week old and already contains more than 500 apps. What I have learned so far, in layman’s term, is that Google will not allow those extensions which it believes are not needed and those which it thinks are breaking the rules.

In Firefox you can easily find extensions that allow you to download videos from YouTube, but will Google themselves allow this practice to flourish? I don’t think so. Google rejected Easy YouTube Downloader which was developed by Deepesh Agarwal. All he did was to port this popular Firefox add-on to Chrome.

Google clearly mentions that they will now allow such extensions, in their TOS they state:

4.4.1 You agree that you will not engage in any activity with the Gallery, including the development or publication of Products or other materials, that [.….] enables the unauthorized download of streaming content or media.

So what does this all mean? Google is not so open after all.

Just because you cannot find an extension in Google Chrome’s official gallery doesn’t mean that you cannot install it in your Chrome browser. You can still grab the extensions from unofficial repository, such as, ChromeExtensions.org. This might turn off some people and keep them away from Chrome.

Another reason why some users are reluctant to migrate is because Chrome is still young and the type of extensions you will find in Firefox wont be available in Chrome any sooner. It might take a year for Chrome extensions to catch up with those of Firefox in terms of maturity. How? Let’s see an example. The developer behind an extension Tab Menu says,

Features we all wish we could have if the Google developers made it possible:
– Dockable tab sidebar
– Options to hide tab bar and/or toolbar
– Keyboard shortcut to open Tab Menu

All the features mentioned above are possible in Firefox. We can all hope that the final release of Chrome will be more open, otherwise extensions in Chrome will have a hard time competing with those of Firefox.

One reason why users love Chrome is because it assigns a separate process to each tab, thus not crashing your whole browser if one tab goes bad. Mozilla will implement the exact same functionality in the next version of Firefox which is to be released in Q4, 2010.

Firefox users have enough reason to stick with Mozilla’s flagship browser, the above two are just some examples. Is there something that is keeping you back from Chrome? What is your take on this issue? All opinions are welcomed.

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  • I don't like the way Google is taking. We are not accustomed to such practices by the company. I'm not sure Google can legally allow an addon that can download copyrighted material from protected web pages as vevo, but more important than one single video downloading addon is the shift in company policy to not so open software. But sooner or later had to come because Google is becoming a monopoly and it is logical that some of their products can harm each other if left wide open. The company has now a confortable bur wieldy position, let's see how they evolve

  • Joshua

    I'm glad you have an open mind on the subject and chose to write a follow up article. I apologize for being so offensive in my response to your other article.

    I didn't know that Mozilla was planning on borrowing the separate tab separate process feature into Firefox. That's good news. Although I don't remember the last time Firefox crashed, at least not since I installed Windows 7 this summer. On rare occasions Firefox stops responding as result of a bad script or something, but it returns to normal after 5 to 10 seconds.

    I remember reading sometime ago about the big difference between Chrome and Firefox extensions. That difference was that Chrome extensions were coded in JavaScript. What that means is that there is a strong lack in capabilities for Chrome extensions. The best example I can give is the one that the article explained. In Firefox there is an extension called Adblock Plus, it actually prevents the advertisements from loading (thereby saving bandwidth). In Chrome advertisement blocking extensions are only capable of hiding the advertisements (they still load even though you don't see them). I don't know if this still holds true, please do correct me if I'm mistaken.

    As for Google picking and choosing which extensions they catelog, I don't blame them. If they wanted you to download Youtube videos, they would allow it without additional software (Google owns Youtube for those who may not be unaware). It really doesn't make a big difference though since those refused extensions will still be spread everywhere else on the web.

    I'm glad Google is promoting Chrome's extensions. Competition is always good, it should result in Mozilla pushing to improve Firefox.

  • Phil

    I´m glad to see articles with this grade of reflection 😉
    As well I may add the privacy issues in Chrome.

  • kikeman

    Download Google Chrome —–> 67 MEGA BYTES (Mb) (very fast but very heavy)

    ” Firefox ————-> 25 Mb

    ” Opera ————-> 20 Mb

    ” Internet Explorer 8 –> Do you know ?

    …the latest versions of.

  • Bailey

    As Google loves to claims their love for opensource, their hogging of Chromium suggest the reverse otherwise. Also, Joshua is right about Chrome's extension ability. It's a mix of css/html/and js. So it's extremely crippled compares to firefox.

  • Bailey

    As Google loves to claims their love for opensource, their hogging of Chromium suggest the reverse otherwise. Also, Joshua is right about Chrome's extension ability. It's a mix of css/html/and js. So it's extremely crippled compares to firefox.

  • Bailey

    As Google loves to claims their love for opensource, their hogging of Chromium suggest the reverse otherwise. Also, Joshua is right about Chrome's extension ability. It's a mix of css/html/and js. So it's extremely crippled compares to firefox.

  • Jay

    It is nice to see an open mind. I too have issues with Chrome and privacy.I see Google poised to become the next Microsoft… It's my way or else mentality.”Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”