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Chrome Adds Extensions, Gmail & Calendar Get Upgrades

Gordon Kelly


Chrome Adds Extensions, Gmail & Calendar Get Upgrades

You wanted it, you got it: Chrome is getting extensions! Well kinda.

Breaking from Menlo Park HQ today is news Google has finally enabled third party extensions for its lightening quick, if race stripped, Chrome browser. The catch is currently they exist only in the newly launched developer build and even then are disabled by default.

If you're feeling confident however grab the build and start it with "-enable-extensions" and from here you can test out a number of samples in CRX format which have been posted to the Chromium Developer Documentation site (including a very handy Gmail extension). At present an extension can also only be removed by deleting its folder and restarting Chrome.

Google did promise Chrome extensions by May, so in essence it has delivered though I can't see a consumer ready version before June at the earliest.

In related Google news The company has apologised for what it is describing as a "traffic jam" on its services last night:

"An error in one of our systems caused us to direct some of our web traffic through Asia, which created a traffic jam," explained Google SVP of Operations Urs Hoelzle. "As a result, about 14 per cent of our users experienced slow services or even interruptions. We've been working hard to make our services ultrafast and 'always on,' so it's especially embarrassing when a glitch like this one happens. We're very sorry that it happened, and you can be sure that we'll be working even harder to make sure that a similar problem won't happen again."

As something of a plus however Google has upgraded Gmail with the ability to import contacts and mail from Yahoo!, Hotmail, AOL plus many more for those looking to make the (in my opinion a wise) migration to the service. Google Calendar has also integrated Tasks allowing users to input them directly into their day-to-day schedule which should prove extremely handy.


Chrome Extensions: How To

Google Traffic Jam Apology

Gmail Import Options

Google Calendar Tasks


May 15, 2009, 7:42 pm

Still no Chrome for Linux :(


May 15, 2009, 8:10 pm


Upgrade to Windows!


May 15, 2009, 10:00 pm

<yawn> Another browser. Does it let me view the Internet? Gosh, what a radical thing. </yawn>


May 15, 2009, 10:13 pm

@ Steve32, I guess speed isn't too important then? :)


May 15, 2009, 11:05 pm

@Steve32 - that's like saying:

-Wow another car. Does it let me get from A to B?

-Another item of food. Does it stop me from being hungry?

-Another drinkable liquid. Does it relieve thirst?

It's about how you wish to be transported, what will give you most enjoyment/nourishment.

If there was no need to differentiate between the quality of things offering similar experiences there would be no point in a reviews site. You're here so that alone renders your point moot. *sigh*


May 16, 2009, 12:01 am

"Could the choice between Mozilla and Google's finest soon become even more tricky?"

At least let us pretend you have the tiniest bit of impartiality still remaining.

Ignoring the browser that has 75% of the market does you no credit, but I guess anyone who uses IE is just plain stupid.....


May 16, 2009, 12:45 am

@Gordon: Can't argue with that. I think Steve is merely using humour to voice his exasperation at the level of attention that the 'Browser War' receives in general. Odd, seeing as all browsers essentially do the same thing and generally do it pretty well, even (*shock*) IE8.


May 16, 2009, 2:10 am

@justinh - you got it!

@chris - you don't got it ;)


May 16, 2009, 3:04 am

*Hi-5 @Gordon* Excellent retort - so good Ed should honour you with Trusted Review Award for comment of the month!


May 16, 2009, 4:33 am


Sorry but as a user of the big four Chrome comes out bottom. Speedy and attractive but it has a crap install for multi users, is low on personalisation and I wouldn't trust google an inch with privacy.

1. Opera

2. IE8

3. Chrome

4. Firefox

I agree with Steve it's ONLY a browser and if you are benchmarking browser speeds, fine I have much better things to do in life.


May 16, 2009, 5:29 am

@hank so why have you placed it 3rd?

PS - "low on personalisation" - surely that what this article is all about?

For me it goes as follows:

1. Firefox (for now)

2. Chrome

3. Safari Beta 4

4. Opera

5. IE8


May 16, 2009, 5:31 am

PPS - asking why browser speed is important is like asking why PC speed is important. Same pros and cons. I'd also advise Chrome on a netbook - very handy.


May 16, 2009, 6:27 am

I can't believe someone put IE 8 above Firefox...


May 16, 2009, 6:28 am


'@chris - you don't got it ;)'

Yes. Pithy. :)

You may be mistaking me for someone who actually thinks that IE8 is better than the competition, which it plainly isn't. My point is that it's actually, well, good, and to most of the population that's enough, just not to those who know better. In fact I think this phrases my perspective rather well...

'For the record, we do actually like Internet Explorer 8, just a whole lot less than we like Firefox... or Opera.

Or Safari 4...

Or Google Chrome... '


May 16, 2009, 6:58 am

@Chris - that's fair. The thing is your "good, and to most of the population that's enough" argument will never meet a harsher critic than someone working on a reviews site ;)

Our motto is the exact opposite: it's about differentiation. We are into comparisons, spec run downs, and nitpicking the finer details. In an ideal world we want to be able to help the world rid themselves of the 'good enough' philosophy and arm them with the knowledge to find the best solution for their budget and needs.


May 16, 2009, 3:14 pm

hehe, sorry didn't mean to cause offense to TR, but it's always fun to stir things up a bit.

Chris understood what I was getting at. I just fine the whole browser war thing a bit tedious at times. I'll try and explain why.... I use Firefox as my default choice, but I am forced to use IE6 on my work laptop (corporate standards, pah!). The thing is, for most of what I use the Internet for, IE6 doesn't bother me that much. It still lets me view all the sites I need to and speed isn't an issue either. Of course it is not as convenient, etc, etc...

Clearly, the good thing about the browser war is that it helps push forward innovation and forces the likes of Microsoft to up their game. This has to be good for everyone in terms of expanding the possibilities of what can be achieved with the Internet.


May 16, 2009, 3:37 pm

I don't consider Chrome a browser, maybe something that'd do for an internet cafe, but at home.. It lacks many features, does weird things reading disks (when it's on it's like hrr hrr hrr hrr hrr hrr forever, shucks!). No single-user profile, its installer is just crap, no customizing, zero flex... Good for nothing but 'speed'. I look forward to see the new Presto, wee!

1. Opera

2. Firefox

3. IE

(some Maxthon-like monsrosities)

9. Safari (that un-off-switchable anti-aliasing--what a stupid thing!) and Chrome


May 16, 2009, 11:51 pm

I'm not gonna say too much on this issue as i tend to use firefox a lot now; but i'll give my reasons why...

Firefox instead of Safari - Firefox loads pages faster to my eye; lets me manage my heavenly bookmarks toolbar more effectively, and doesn't ask me to use keyboard shortcuts where a button will do

Firefox instead of IE (all versions since FFx came out) - The application loads faster, browses faster, again with the bookmark management, extension variety & support seems better, my processors seems less stressed (i use both desktop and lapintop machines, and IE seems to love hogging the power), the key browsing buttons are very well arranged ergonomically (i guess IE just decided to be different for the sake of it after IE5/6??)

Firefox instead of Opera - Now, this is a funny one.. No matter how i install or customize Opera, it always seems a bit sluggish compared to firefox although it always seems faster than IE. I even did a double-check and used it for 2 solid weeks on Xp, Vista Ultimate and OSX a few weeks ago just to be sure, but yeah, well.. Otherwise there is nothing else about it that bugs me.

Firefox instead of Chrome - I haven't used chrome a lot to be fair, but i would only say it seems about as fast as firefox on my installations, with less ease-of-use built in than Firefox to suit MY browsing habits.


I feel sorry for developers sometimes; they have a tough job of creating something that will stand out from the rest, deliver on expectation, and still work at least as well as that which people will compare it with.

My browser usage habits have not changed that much in the last 5 years; if a certain way of doing things works for me i tend to stick to it. I become efficient at it in my own way, and anything that doesn't compliment that efficiency is unlikely to appeal to me. This is why i use firefox - it compliments my idea of how to surf the net the way i like, enjoy and can do without having to think about it :)


May 17, 2009, 1:57 am

Opera is effing slow on my Ubuntu notebook. I don't know why exactly, it took over a minute to load cbc.ca. Too bad, because SwiftFox is kind of slow because of all my extensions. And yes, I do use each and every one of them.


May 17, 2009, 2:19 am

Why is everyone so keen on Safari? It's severely lacking in options, it even forces you to use a US search engine!

@mjaffk: Thanks for mentioning Maxthon, back when 1.5 was the only version availible they were the only browser that actually had good ideas but unfortunately they rather lost their way after they broke the classic version and took ages getting 2.0 up to scratch. I've just checked and they've now got a 2.5 version out now so I may finally be switching back to a decent browser if it's up to scratch (Opera has been a decent substitute, but things like the lack of persistant undo get very annoying at times).


May 17, 2009, 4:20 am


Firefox LOL - yeah I score it low on bloatware, terrible crashes, and a hideous habit of running ghost processes, which is cured faastest by a restart. I make my own judgements I have no wool to listen to internet advisors. I'm sure Mozilla lose money on comission whisperers.

It's not safer, it's not faster and thanks to "add ons" it's buggy as hell. With IE I have NEVER had to restart.

I want ONE browser it would make my life a lot easier.


May 17, 2009, 11:06 am

I agree with an earlier poster in that ie8 has advanced enough now to meet the needs for the majority of computer users aswell as being a whole lot safer and as such negates the need for installing any of the above browsers. And extentions seem to apeal to only but the most hardcore of web users and are pretty much a novelty to the rest. And not only that but they also carry the disadvantages of slowing down an already bloated browser aswell as having some of the most hidiously designed interfaces.


May 18, 2009, 4:49 am

For me, the killer feature in Firefox is search engine keywords:


Lastpass also carried a lot of weight for me:



May 18, 2009, 5:00 am

@ Gordon, I've used Lastpass for a while now, it's great.

And I had no idea about the search engine keywords. I just tried it and it works beautifully! Thank you so much.

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