Update: Google is fading out plugin support in Chrome. Chrome won't support so-called NPAPI plugins anymore at the end of 2015 with no option to get the functionality back.
Big news today for the Google Chrome crowd. A post on the Google System blog outlines a recent change in the browser that affects the Java and Quicktime plugin, and maybe even other lesser known plugins.
Probably the easiest way to demonstrate what has been changed is it show you a screenshot of Apple's popular trailer website. As you may know, trailers on that site work only if the Quicktime plugin is installed in the web browser.
If you visit a trailer like this one in Google Chrome you get a notification at the top of the browser. It reads: The QuickTime plug-in needs your permission to run. Options are to always run the plugin on the site, run the plugin this time, load a learn more page or close the notification.
A similar alert is shown when you open a website that requires Java, for instance to play games or run web apps that require the technology (The Java plug-in needs your permission to run).
The Silverlight plugin is on the other hand not affected by that change. The selection of always run on this site enables the plugin for that site so that the notification is not shown anymore if you open other pages or the very same page on that domain.
Run this time on the other hand enables the plugin for this moment but will display the very same notification if you reload the page or switch to another page of the domain that requires one of the plugins.
The concept is similar to that of the NoScript extension for Firefox with the difference that NoScript does not allow or disallow plugins but only scripts that utilize plugins.
The core reason for the change according to Google is to protect Chrome users from vulnerabilities discovered in plugins that the majority may not use at all. And since that majority seems to be indifferent or unaware of the risks and has those plugins installed, it was necessary to implement a safety mechanism to protect them.
Chrome users who are visiting websites regularly that require one of the plug-ins on the other hand need to enable the plugin for every website that they visit regularly. Depending on how many websites they visit that make use of those plugins, it may take quite some time to get everything up and running again.
There is no option or setting available to enable the plugin for all websites, which is a slap in the face of users who make sure their plugins are up to date.
The missing option to always enable the plugin is a serious issue for users who make use of those limited plugins.
What's your take on the issue?
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.