Google Says Goodbye to Netscape Plugin API!

September 26, 2013 | By Kevin Judge

Chrome Beta

Google has announced that Chrome will end support for the Netscape Plug-in API architecture, starting with ending support for most plugins in January 2014. This architecture was first introduced in the 1990’s and is no longer viable for today’s internet. According to Google, it has become “a leading cause of hangs, crashes, security incidents, and code complexity. The Chrome browser is expected to become much more stable to use with minimal crashes with these changes.
The announced changes will be rolled out in multiple stages so that the transition isn’t drastic. All plugins will be blocked starting from January 2014 including Google Talk, Java and API. Many apps that use NPAPI will be removed from Chrome web store in the near future.

Developers will have the freedom to change their existing apps on the browser until May 2014 before it joins the removal process. Existing installations will continue to work until full support ends.
Internet companies like Google and web publishers are transitioning to supporting an increasingly mobile world and the Netscape API does not support mobile devices.

Google, Mozilla and Opera have already dealt with this issue by requiring user confirmation to execute plug-ins. Google has also been working on a long-term solution, a new plug-in architecture called Pepper Plugin API (PPAPI). Pepper, as it is also called, runs plug-ins in a sandbox area. A sandbox is an isolated, secure system area where it cannot crash the system or do other harm.

Last year, Google updated the Adobe Flash Player plug-ins bundled with Chrome for Windows and for the Mac OSX from NPAPI to PPAPI.

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