Chrome to start blocking plug-ins using Netscape's API in 2014

The era of web browsers using third party plug-in applications is slowly coming to an end. Microsoft has already eliminated all plug-ins from the Modern Windows 8 version of Internet Explorer 10. This week, Google announced that future versions of its Chrome browser would stop supporting programs that use the popular Netscape Plug-in API.

In a post on its Chromium blog, Google stated:

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.

The process has already begun as Google will now no longer allow any new NPAPI-based plug-ins to be published in the Chrome Web Store. Existing plug-ins that are already in the store can be updated by their developers until May 2014. In September 2014, Google will remove all NPAPI-based plug-ins from the store.

In January 2014, the Stable version of Chrome will block nearly all NPAPI plug-ins by default. Six plug-ins will be whitelisted for now: Sliverlight, Unity, Google Earth, Java, Google Talk and Facebook Talk. Google plans to completely remove all NPAPI plug-in support from Chrome by the end of 2014.

Source: Google | Image via Google

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Amazon reveals new Kindle Fire HDX tablets and $139 Kindle Fire HD

Next Story

Dell drops Windows RT, only Microsoft remains selling the OS

22 Comments

View more comments

One of the last remaining shreds of Netscape is finally coming to an end ... or is it? Since the ultimate legacy
of Firefox (and other Mozilla based browsers is) Netscape, I'm guessing they'll cling on to it a bit longer.

Ultimately, all the crashy unstable 3rd party plug-ins need to go away and die ... especially Flash.

I went to church and saw a guy surfing without adblocker plus and it is very sad what Google has done to the web. Video ads on Youtube etc. I been living ad free since 2006.

Spicoli said,

If the adblock plugin is blocked, the browser gets dumped. I've already pretty
much had it with their sneak install tactics if you get flash or acroread.


Adblock Plus isn't a plugin that relies on the outdated Netscape Plugin API, it's an add-on.
They're discontinuing support for the framework that the likes of Flash and Java rely on.

Randall_Lind said,
I went to church and saw a guy surfing without adblocker plus and it is very sad what Google has done to the web. Video ads on Youtube etc. I been living ad free since 2006.

It's not just Google. Some sites are almost unusable without adblock. They've had to go ridiculous extents to make this saturated ad based model work. News sties have to use fake headlines and stories designed to create flamewars. There just isn't enough stuff to advertise to fill up all that space.

Randall_Lind said,
I went to church and saw a guy surfing without adblocker plus and it is very sad what Google has done to the web. Video ads on Youtube etc. I been living ad free since 2006.


Advertising pays the bills. I've never used an ad blocker, nor will I. Now, I've *paid* to get rid of ads from services, but that's about it.

I'd rather the net be "free with ads" rather than every place be "subscribers only" and the diversity of sites drop because admins couldn't for hosting.

Advertising pays the bills. I've never used an ad blocker, nor will I. Now, I've *paid* to get rid of ads from services, but that's about it.

I'd rather the net be "free with ads" rather than every place be "subscribers only" and the diversity of sites drop because admins couldn't for hosting.

Ads provide a revenue stream requiring little entry effort, aside from what steps a webmaster may take for making a site popular. Since basically anyone can host ads, and stands to gain from doing so, the payoff from each ad decreases (the webmasters face heavier price competition rather than the ad companies). A similar phenomenon dominates the other side of the equation (that being adspace buyers, i.e. companies that want to pay advertisers for mindshare - the price of buying %N ad space increases with rising N). Thus, the middleman reaps the lion's share of profit, while webmasters need to host ever-more ads to meet operating costs, and ad purchasers need to spend more and more to actually advertise their brand.

Ad companies have a stranglehold over a great many folks - significantly analogous to how record companies have a stranglehold over digital media. With due acknowledgement to the plight of webmasters everywhere, I still think that the users themselves should hold sway over their web experience - given that everyone else is essentially being held at gunpoint by ad companies.

I wonder whether any statisticians have analyzed the true effect of ad-blockers, i.e. the effect on the value of pagespace per %N visitors that are assumed to be able to block every ad. Would ad companies need to end up paying more or not?

Just as an addendum to the above post (*#ing edit button timeout): Geocities would still exist if the above were not true, and a testament to the argument lies within the lifetime of every "free with ads" web hosting site).

So even while I don't use any plugins on my Iron/chrome thing, after this it will never randomly freeze or crash on me again? Or at least a lot less?

Yeahyeah Google, always pushing the blame to someone else.. bah.

You sure this chrome://plugins/ is empty? Some are being whitelisted for a reason, it makes the Internet pretty much unusable without..

I wish all browsers would discontinue support for toolbars period, they are nothing but garbage and come bundled with almost everything. It was a stupid concept from the 90s that needs to die.

Commenting is disabled on this article.