Tag Archives for " Browser Extensions "

What Are Browser Extensions?

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Each browser has its own extensions and rules in their making. There has been a lot of attention in the media about how specific browser companies are treating their users on the account to what their extensions and browsers have access regarding users’ computers and personal information. There is just a handful of companies that hadn’t made this violation, like the Firefox extension, and that is why they become more and more popular.

A browser extension is a computer program that works in conjunction with a browser and provides it with new features. The terminology may differ in different programs. They may be called add-ons, plug-ins, extensions, but this does not change the essence. There are very popular plug-ins, and there are specific ones that are in demand only for a narrow group of people.

The history of extensions

Although Internet Explorer 5 already in 1999 offered the possibility to its users to install additional toolbars (toolbars) and other small utilities, Firefox was the first browser to exploit the potential of extensions. The ability to customize the browser through extensions, offered to Firefox users since 2004, was one of the factors that led Firefox to become one of the most popular browsers in the world.

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To date Firefox offers almost 3 thousand extensions including Ad Block Plus (to block video ads on web pages), Video Download Helper (to download videos to your computer from websites), Firebug (useful for those who develop and want to check the code in the pages), each used by millions of people.

For example, download Firebug and analyze the code on this page. Look for the following link https://www.amazon.com/ComproGear-Compression-Socks/dp/B07RF5LBHK

Both links point to the same Amazon page about Compression Socks. Now compare the anchor text of the link with the target URL. The anchor text (visible text above) shows the full URL, while the target link (shown with Firebug extension) is a shortened version of the URL. Firebug allows you to see this HTML code.

How are Browser Extensions useful?

Extensions exist for dozens of purposes: to increase accessibility (for example to improve readability), for weather forecasts, to protect your privacy, to manage news, RSS, to manage file downloads, to speed up navigation…

They are also used for shopping (for example price comparators of products that aggregate in a page all the prices of a product), to translate web pages, to increase productivity (extensions to take notes or to manage online calendars), for fun (extensions to listen to music via online radio), to add and customize toolbars, etc.