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

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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