The Google Chrome browser has supported extensions for quite some time now. Most extensions are installed directly from the Google Chrome Extensions Gallery website, while a handful are installed from other sources.
Many Chrome users, especially those familiar with the way the Firefox browser handles add-on updates, want to know how Chrome handles extension updates.
Chance is that Chrome users have never seen a prompt that extension updates are available, even if updates of installed extensions have been released by extension developers.
The reason for the absence of update notifications is this: Google Chrome handles most extension updates automatically in the background. That's a big difference to Firefox where the user is notified of updates and gets an option to install or block them.
Chrome does not offer that feature. Google Chrome checks every few hours if extension updates are available. All extensions offered at the official Extensions Gallery, and most that are offered at third party websites, include update information. These information are used by the browser to check if updates are available.
From what we were able to gather, all extensions offered at the official Chrome Extensions Gallery include an update url. This however may not be the case for extensions that have been installed from other sources. They may contain the update url and information, but it seems as if they do not have to. The only option to update those is to visit the homepage regularly to check for updates.
running the Dev build can force Chrome to check for extension updates manually. This is done by typing chrome://extensions/ in the Chrome address bar, or by clicking on the menu icon, then More Tools > Extensions.
A click on Developer Mode on the right side of the window opens developer options, among them the option to Update extensions now.
A click on that button performs a manual extension update check.
Extensions that update automatically whenever a new version becomes available are controversial. On the positive side, they improve the user experience by handling everything in the background so that no one is bothered by notifications and prompts when that happens.
Depending on how many extensions are installed in the browser, you would get these prompts fairly often which can be disruptive and even outright annoying.
Advanced users on the other hand may prefer to have control over updates on their system, considering that updates may break features or other extensions that are installed on the system.
What's your updating preference? Do you like the automatic background updates, or the semi-automatic updates of Firefox with options to block updates?
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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.