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.
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:
- Session Manager
- Better Gmail 2
- Google Notebook
- Flip4Mac and Quicktime
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.