Google, Apple, and the other major browser vendors today announced a WebExtensions Community Group (WECG) at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to “work together to advance a common browser extension platform.”
Google (Chrome), Apple (Safari), Microsoft (Edge), and Mozilla (Firefox) want to “align on a common vision for browser extensions and to work towards future standardization.” This involves producing a WebExtensions specification, API, and permissions model. Improving performance and security, as well as abuse prevention and privacy, are other goals.
If successful, extension developers will have an easier time creating tools for all browsers. The effort will use existing APIs as a foundation with more details available in the charter.
That said, the group will not be creating a unified extension signing or delivery system. Each browser will continue to maintain their own extension stores with independent “technical, review, and editorial policies.” Additionally:
We are not aiming to specify every aspect of the web extensions platform or existing implementations. We want browsers to keep innovating and shipping APIs that may serve as the basis for further improvement of the web extensions platform.
The four invite “other browser makers, extension developers, and interested parties to join” the group.
More Google Chrome extensions:
- Chrome Enhanced Safe Browsing adds extension warnings, more in-depth file analysis
- Firefox will implement Chrome’s Manifest V3 extension spec, but still support old ad blocker approach
- Google Docs switching to canvas-based rendering to improve performance, might impact extensions
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