The function of browser extensions, add-ons, plugins and how to increase their popularity

October 24th, 2017

Ever since 1999 when Microsoft introduced the first browser extensions for its Internet Explorer 5, browser plugins and extensions have been growing in popularity and today the other internet browsers have followed Microsoft’s initiative and support numerous types of add-ons developed to enhance and extend the functionality of the leading web browsers, such as: Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari and others.


browser extensions


The terms used for these clever software additions to your browser are: extension, plug-in or add-on. There is a slight difference between these terms, for example: a plugin cannot make changes to the user interface such as the toolbar of the browser, and an extension can add buttons and toolbar additions to enhance its functionality.

Some of the most popular browser plugins are: Java, Adobe Flash Player and QuickTime.

Currently, the most popular browser extensions on a global basis, in accordance to the number of downloads for the leading Internet browser are as follows:

For Google Chrome:

  1. AdBlock
  2. AdBlock Plus
  3. Lightening Newtab
  4. Bang5Tao – shopping assistant
  5. Iminent
  6. Google Mail Checker
  7. Evernote web Clipper
  8. Hangouts
  9. Quick Start
  10. Google Translate

For Mozilla Firefox:

  1. AdBlock Plus
  2. Video Download Helper
  3. Firebug
  4. NoScript Security Suite
  5. Greasemonkey
  6. DownThemAll!
  7. Microsoft .NET Framework Assistant
  8. FlashGot Mass Downloader
  9. Flash Video Downloader – Full HD
  10. Web Of Trust -WOT

For Safari:

  1. AdBlock
  2. Exposer
  3. Facebook Photo Zoom
  4. ClickToFlash
  5. Awesome Screenshot
  6. Twitter Translate
  7. Facebook Cleaner
  8. Turn Off the Lights
  9. nr Videos for YouTube
  10. 1-Click weather for Safari

There are extensions which provide users with literally just about any kind of service and functionality, including: spell check, password storage, add blocking, virus protection, online shopping and many more.

Depending on your profession or personal interests or tastes, you can choose for the thousands of browser add-ons which are available for the browser of your choice.

The most successful browser extensions are made available for all or most of the major browsers, such as: Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari and Opera. These are the so-called cross-browser extensions.

More extension developers are working on making their products accessible to more users using different browsers and different devices and screen sizes.

Developing a cross-browser extension can be done by an experienced team of professional browser extension developers, or you can do it by yourself with the help of one of the several available cross browser development platforms, such as the Cross Browser Extension Framework by BestToolBars.

There are also various cross browser testing websites, as well as specialized cross-browsing testing extensions, such as Browserling, which allow you to easily and seamlessly test your browser extension for compatibility and proper functionality for all leading web browsers and basic devices.

The better the compatibility of your extension with different browsers and browser versions – the more users will be likely to download and use it on their different devices and with their preferred browsers, so it is wise to invest in making your extension compatible with as many browsers as possible by either hiring a professional browser extension development team or by using a cross browser development platform or tool.

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