Google has decided to ban all but the most widely used browser plug-ins starting January 2014. Instead, Chrome will employ programming methods that use standards built directly into the Web, the company’s Justin Schuh announced
Before you panic, you have to remember there are two different types of additions that can be brought to Chrome and that you shouldn’t confuse plug-ins to extensions, which will continue to work without a hitch.
Plug-ins, however, use a programming interface that’s quite old and Google doesn’t want its browser to keep using it.
“The Web has evolved. Today’s browsers are speedier, safer and more capable than their ancestors. Meanwhile NPAPI’s ‘90s-era architecture has become a leading cause of hangs, crashes, security incidents and code complexity. Because of this, Chrome will be phasing out NPAPI support over the coming year,” said Schuh.
NPAPI is the Netscape plug-in application programming interface. Chrome uses that, as well as Pepper, a second interface that should remain unaffected by the change.
Some plug-ins will continue to work even after January 2014, although only temporarily. Silverlight, Unity, Google Earth, Java, Google Talk and Facebook Video will continue to work for a while. Java, however, is already blocked by default for security reasons.
In time, NPAPI support will be completely removed from Chrome and even the plug-ins mentioned above will become unusable. Google estimates this will happen sometime before the end of next year, but the exact timeline for the changes will depend on usage and user feedback.
The Chrome Web Store will also stop supporting NPAPI and starting today no new Apps and extensions based on NPAPI will be allowed in the store.
Until May 2014, Google will still allow updates to NPAPI-based apps and extensions. Following this moment, they will all be removed from the Web Store home page, search results and category pages, effectively making them invisible.