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The evolution of the Chrome extension store

One of the key components that make Google Chrome so versatile and customizable is its vast collection of extensions. These add-ons also known as plugins or add-ons they optimize browser functionality in a variety of ways, from improving security to increasing productivity.

To make Chrome’s feature set more complete and deliver flawless user experience, the extension ecosystem continues to thrive. Let’s see what’s happening and what exciting features are on the horizon. One of all, the redesign of Chrome Web Store.

In fact, the store now boasts a list of seventeen categories (six more than the previous list), improved search autocomplete, higher quality screenshots, and increased user engagement with developer badges in responses. Additionally, developers can provide users with direct links to the review page for their store items.

The main news

In recent months the Chrome Extensions team has worked diligently on a number of updates and improvements. One of the priorities was resolve stability issues related to Manifest V3. Chrome 116 has substantially narrowed the feature gap between Manifest V2 and V3. With Chrome 120, the team aims to address all platform gaps and critical bugs.

Stability issues related to service workers have also been resolved. In Chrome 116, we added effective keep-alives to extension APIs that display a user prompt and improved support for WebSockets. From Chrome 118 onwards, a service operator will remain alive during an active API Debugger session.

The security has received a boost in Chrome 117 with expanded support for chrome:// URLs and Javascript URL blocking now also applies to all extension API methods. Users are now proactively notified if an installed extension is no longer available on the Chrome Web Store.

This can happen if the developer unpublishes the extension, it is removed for policy violations, or identified as malware. Furthermore, Chrome 118 prevents extensions from navigating to URLs file:// unless “Allow access to file URLs” is enabled.

API and updates

Several new APIs have been launched, such as Runtime API, Side Panel API, TabCapture API, and DeclarativeNetRequest API. The release of Chrome 120 looks promising for extensions. L’API UserScripts will allow managers to coordinate the insertion of user scripts into web pages. L’API ReadingList will make it easier to create, read, update, and delete metadata in the Reading List panel. There File Handling API will allow extensions to open files with specified MIME types and file extensions similar to the web platform’s file handling. Extensions will also be able to use theAPI Web Push more smoothly.

The Chrome extensions team has also dedicated itself to the improvement of documentation. Highlights include a revamped samples landing page where you can filter by API, permission, and type, making it easier to locate specific samples.

Then there is guidance on using Google Analytics with the Chrome Web Store, cookies and web storage APIs, and new articles on how to integrate tests into extension projects. Additional updates include clearer guidance for implementing declarative rule sets, strategies for migrating remotely hosted code to Manifest V3, and guidance on connecting to a WebSocket in your extension’s service work.

A new look for the Chrome Web Store

The new design is characterized by a decidedly more modern aesthetic, which brings up the recent Play Store update for the web version. The main page, called “Discover” highlights a vibrant assortment of prominent extensions and themes, followed by categories, recommendations, and more.

Just take a look at the homepages of the two versions of the Web Store to immediately see the difference. New cards called “Extensions” e “Themes” that offer well-organized suggestions and boast a prominent “Featured” banner at the top of the page.


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