The wait is over, Google Chrome extensions are here for everybody, bar Mac users, and the online Extensions Gallery is now live with over 300 extensions at the time of launch. More than a year after Chrome was launched, the single most requested feature is now fully-fleshed and supported in the latest Beta builds of the browser which were released for all platforms today.
“We're launching extensions in the beta channel for Windows and Linux (Mac is in progress). We're also opening our gallery, which, as of now, contains more than 300 extensions!,” Erik Kay and Aaron Boodman, Google software engineers wrote. “An extension system has been one of our most requested features for Google Chrome. It's a tribute to Mozilla and the Firefox project that nowadays, users just expect all browsers to have built-in extensibility.”
“Today, we're really happy to release a beta of extensions that begins to deliver on our initial vision. Extensions are as easy to create as webpages. Users can install and uninstall them quickly without restart, and extensions have a great polished look that fits in with Google Chrome's minimalist aesthetic,” they explained.
Now, users of the latest Chrome Beta for Windows and Linux and, of course, those of the dev builds for all platforms can visit the Extensions Gallery which already has some pretty interesting add-ons, though, even with just 300 of them, they tend to overlap in some cases. The Gallery itself is everything you'd expect from Google with a very simple but functional design. There aren't that many features but all the basics and the one you're most likely to use, a search tool and the Most popular, Most recent, Top rated and Featured categories.
The most popular extension in the Gallery at this point is the Gmail Checker built by Google which has actually been available for a while now. It's a very basic extension, it just adds an icon to toolbar and shows the number of unread emails, but it's getting close to 65,000 downloads now. Going through the extensions, you'll find all the usual suspects, several ad blockers, Twitter clients and apps, and a bunch of extensions related to Google services official or otherwise. Everything seems to be working all right, so get started digging through the extensions to find that hidden gem.