Chrome Will Ditch Its Plug-In Support In 2014

Chrome Will Ditch Its Plug-In Support In 2014

From an IT management point of view, browser plug-ins are a nuisance: they’re one more thing to maintain and deploy. So from that point of view the news that Chrome is going to drop its support for NPAPI, the plug-in architecture originally developed for Netscape, can only count as a welcome development.

The official blog for Chromium (the open-source project upon which Chrome is based) makes the point well: “NPAPI’s 90s-era architecture has become a leading cause of hangs, crashes, security incidents, and code complexity.” Given how many functions once handled by plug-ins are now natively supported, this shouldn’t cause too much drama.

But what does this mean for users? From January 2014, plug-ins will automatically be blocked by Chrome. Six plug-ins which are still widely used will be automatically whitelisted as exceptions: Silverlight, Unity, Google Earth, Java, Google Talk and Facebook Video. Administrators will also be able to whitelist other plug-ins, but that feature is scheduled to be dropped by the end of 2014.

The change also means Google won’t allow NPAPI-based plug-ins in the Chrome Web Store. Existing plug-ins can be updated through until May 2014, but will be dumped from the store in September 2014.

Saying Goodbye to Our Old Friend NPAPI [The Chromium Blog]


  • I take it Apps and Plug-Ins are totally different? Will Chrome apps still be supported? I’m not the most tech savvy 🙂

    • Apps are different. Also presumably extensions and plug-ins written using Google’s PPAPI which they wrote as a replacement for NPAPI.

  • What does this mean for things such as LastPass?
    Will I have to go back to Firefox as my primary browser?

  • plugins for Chrome provide support for media content, such as Adobe Flash Player, Adobe Reader, Sun Java, Windows Media Player, Real Player, Apple QuickTime, Microsoft Silverlight.
    personally I think it will be great to rid the web of all of that and make everything run on HTML5 instead — but for every major site like YouTube gradually adapting to HTML5, there are thousands more like banking, government and webgames sites that are still stuck in a timewarp.

  • easily one of the most popular type of addon, but the type that Google would most love to cut off. however, all those users of AdBlocking tools will immediately jump to Firefox or Opera, if that ever happens.

  • Hahah, the article just confused way too many people. I think we need to distinguish apps and plugins first.

    Apps are things like lastpass and Adblock, which are unaffected.

    Plugins are things like Java and Flash, which are going away (Sorta).

    On the whole you probably won’t notice anything when it does happen (unless you fall into the ~<1% using obscure plugins), so stop worrying.

  • Wait… So this is it? The end of Adobe Flash?

    EDIT: Damn, party cancelled. Flash doesn’t use NPAPI…

  • Can somebody give me an example of plugins that won’t work once this sets in?

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