I need to admit, I wasn’t a heavy extension user, before. I was using the classic ones, Grammarly, Add blocker, Hola. And even those were just sitting right up there in my Chrome and weren’t commonly used. All of this changed when I found Bignest. I went from a casual user, that barely acknowledges his extensions, to a hardcore extension mastermind.
So what exactly are extensions? By definition, A browser extension is a small software module for customizing a web browser. So basically they are plugins, that simplify your browsing experience, whether it is completely customizing your first page or just an app that helps you with everyday browsing.
If you are wondering, well how do I know if my browser actually supports these so-called extensions, don’t be alarmed. All most popular browsers support extensions nowadays. Chrome as the leading market shareholder is the strongest in this department, as its Web store contains the largest number of extensions. If other browser users are getting scared at this point, don’t be. As mentioned, other browsers support them too. First of all, I am going to mention Opera, because it is chromium based, so you actually have access to all the extensions that Chrome users do. They don’t work completely the same way, but you have the option of downloading them. Firefox community solved this problem in a different way and actually made add-ons. These are basically the same, but can’t be interconnected with Chrome ones, because the source code of the browsers is different. Still, it holds an envious number of add-ons for its users. Safari is the most modest one here, as its extension base is the poorest, but you can still get the basic ones as Grammarly, Evernote web clipper and so on. And last but not least, you guessed it right Internet Explorer and Edge. You won’t believe it but Internet explorer actually supports add-ons. I didn’t have the privilege to see someone using them, but they do exist. As far as Edge goes, usability wise, they are on the same level as Firefox, but they are basically rebuilding the whole browser as chromium based, so it will be even easier to use the most prominent extension database in the future.
Yes or no?
And now we get to the part when you ask yourself or me for that matter, why would I even use an extension, all of this is on Google or as software that I can download and install on my PC. And you can’t be safe using this kind of programs running in the background. I will ask you how much time you spent downloading and installing software, and are you actually safe now when you have all of this installed? Obviously, I don’t have a direct answer for you. The truth is that if it benefits you, you will use it. If it doesn’t you won’t. Simple as that. I can say for myself that Bignest made my browsing a lot easier, but I can’t promise that it will do the same for everyone.
Security wise there are definitely developers that are trying to make everything as safe as possible, and we should respect those developers, who are going all out to keep their users protected. But on the other hand, Google alone reportedly had more than 500.000 examples of malware download via their Chrome Web store. So I can’t exactly guarantee safety for all. If you thought you found your Extension Knight in shining armour, let me stop you. Like other things you do online, you should be careful. Check your sources. Read reviews. Be smart and don’t be naive. The bonuses that extensions bring are not to be ignored. I personally think that the usefulness overweighs the fear of being robbed of your data, but that is for you to decide.
In conclusion, the number of users, using extensions is on the rise. So if you are currently not using one there is a big chance you will in the near future. But as I pointed out in the headline, are extensions the future of browsing? I can’t really confirm or deny it. The fact is that they are getting smarter and more resourceful every day. And they definitely make our lives easier, but are they the future? Well, that is for the future to decide.