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Browser Extension And Add-on-Deeply Explained

Browser Extension

Hello Friends, today I’ll be talking about browser extension. I’ll take examples and tips from two popular browsers the first one is, of course, Google Chrome and the second one also my favorite browser Firefox. So, let’s gets started.

An Extension is an extra feature or you can say a plug-in that improves your internet surfing experience. In this post, we will be talking about What is an add-on or extension? How does it work? What are the benefits or risks of using extensions? I have tried to answer all basic questions about an extension in this post. Ok then let’s get started by a very basic question that arises in every mind that

Q. What a browser extension is?

According to Wikipedia “A browser extension is a plug-in that extends the functionality of a web browser”. As I mentioned above an extension is a plug-in or an extra feature program that enhances your online browsing experience and protect you from being traced, data steal and many more cyber attacks. It’s like software that you install on your PC or smartphone to perform different jobs.

Q. How does it work?

It works as a supplement or secondary feature for the browser to do a job that is not included in the main feature of any browser. It’s same as we install many applications on our PC or smartphone to do many different-different tasks.

Q. Is extension different from add-on?

No, both are same only their names are different. In Google Chrome it is known as an extension but in Firefox, we call it an add-on and same is with other web browsers.

Q. From where can I get an add-on or extension?

Each web browser has its own store and from that store, you can get an add-on. They have their own platform to develop the add-on and can be totally different from each other. You cannot install a Google Chrome extension into Firefox if it the developer has not developed it for Firefox. It’s almost same as you install any app from any app store on your smartphones.

   Firefox:

1. In Firefox click on Open Menu in the top right corner.

2. Now click on Add-ons. There, it will show all installed extensions and you can install the new one from the search box.

BrowserExtension

3. Or, you just type ctrl+shift+A to go directly.

Chrome:

1. Click on Customize and Control Google Chrome (Three Dots) in the top-right corner.

2. Select More Tools option.

3. Click on Extensions.

Browser Extension-Chrome

 

Q. Are they free or paid?

Most of the add-ons are freely available but there are some add-ons that are paid. You get very limited access to the tools with free extensions and sometimes it is just trial version. Paid extensions give you full feature advanced tools in their fields.

Advantages and risks

   Q. What are the advantages of using an add-on?

There are many advantages of using an add-on in your browser if you use any web browser on the regular basis. Here are some advantages that you should know.

  1. By using add-ons you can increase your browsing security.
  2. You can block some parts or scripts of any website.
  3. An extension can block tracking tools of a website that will help you to keep your information private.
  4. With the help of Cookie manager extensions, you can manage your cookies.
  5. By using add-ons you can manage your saved passwords.
  6. You can block annoying ads on any website with ad-blocker add-ons.
  7. By using add-ons you can you can even do something extra things on websites you visit. There are many add-ons available to work with Facebook.
  8. By using add-ons you can easily translate things in different languages and even many add-ons provide to monitor the grammatical and spelling mistakes that can help you especially if you are an active social media user or a blogger.

  Q. What are risks of using an add-on

“Every coin has two faces” We all know this phrase, same is with add-ons. Using an add-on is same as hiring security guards and servants in your house so, the risks are also similar to a large extent. You cannot hire a thief as a guard. Similarly, you cannot install any add-on that can steal your data. Here is a list of risks while you install any extension.

  1.  An extension can do all the things that you can do on your browser.
  2.  Extensions can access your data into your local drives.
  3.  If you install the wrong extension, It can steal your credential information and give you a big loss.
  4.  It can access your user IDs and if it is a malicious extension it will definitely misuse them.

  Q. How can I decrease the risk?

Not 100% but if you are aware while installing any exertion, you can save yourself to a large extent. Here are some tips that you should follow when you install a new extension.

  1. Never install any unknown extension.
  2. Always see the ratings of the extension. Higher the ratings lower the risk.
  3. See the user’s review before installing any extension.
  4. Search for a review of your trusted blogs or other sources.
  5. If you have installed an extension and then found any suspicious activity then uninstall it as soon as possible.  And report it so that others can be safe from it.
  6. In one of my articles, I have created a list of Firefox extensions for safe browsing and that I personally use. You should try if you use Firefox browser.