Not many users understood why the Google Chrome development team decided to implement some functionality using startup switches.
Google Chrome supports a number of startup parameters that add, remove, or modify features. Integrating options in the browser natively instead, for instance in the browser's preferences or a separate page for advanced options, would improve accessibility and make those features or modifications available to a larger audience.
Users who wanted to turn on the extension engine had to launch the web browser with a parameter up until now. Google Chrome supports browser extensions, but only if a specific startup parameter is added to the browser's start.
The same is true for adding userscript support, bookmark syncing and dozens of other features that are available as launch parameters.
The reason for selecting this method of implementing new features in Chrome is unknown, as most users would probably prefer that Google would add options to enable or disable these features in the web browser's settings which would make the whole process more comfortable and discoverable.
There are some launch parameters that are used more often than others. The parameter to enable extensions is definitely in the top list especially with the recent increase in extensions that get released for the Google browser.
Google finally made the decision to turn on extensions by default in all Google Chrome dev releases that are released in the future (Google Chrome 4.x). Users of the latest stable release of the web browser (Google Chrome 2.x) and those of the development builds of Google Chrome 3.x are still stuck with either no extension support at all or the need to enable it by launching Google Chrome with the command line parameter.
It is also not clear if the developers will enable extension support by default when they release Google Chrome 3 final.
Update: Extensions are supported by all recent versions of the Chrome browser. It is no longer required to use a startup parameter to add support for them. The same is true for userscripts by the way which are supported by default as well.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.