Chrome Not Yet a Platform

This is perhaps the biggest exposed flank that Google has with Chrome:

Extensions could be a critical weakness. Google doesn’t have a great track record for bringing out the community to participate in its projects, and without the extensive plug-in catalog that Firefox has collected, Chrome won’t displace it.

[From Chrome: Nice, But Not a “Killer” Browser Just Yet – GigaOM]

Platforms are declared all the time, but it is only in the few that we see legitimate community supported platforms as evidenced by extensive third party add-ons and extensions. Firefox is just such a platform.

In the end it may matter little to the mass market because while I don’t have any statistics on the rate of extension/plug-in uptake in firefox, I can’t imagine it’s a large percentage of the overall user base. But that number could in fact be significant and just as the act of downloading and installing a new browser did not dramatically limit Firefox, the act of extending Firefox with a plug in may be more common than I am allowing and in that case Google will have a challenge if they are interoperating with Firefox extensions.

I won’t switch to Safari even though it is faster than Firefox by a wide margin because I can’t take my extensions and plug-ins with me. Here’s my list of must-have extensions and plug ins:

  • Feedly
  • Session Manager
  • Better Gmail 2
  • Google Notebook
  • Flip4Mac and Quicktime
  • Silverlight

I am also using a really neat extension from Outwit to extract data from web pages, like HTML tables into Excel, links and feeds, and source code.