Extensions and add-ons

We’re featuring an article about extension security this week in the newsletter, and I wanted to make sure that everyone is familiar with the term. It’s one of those terms you might have heard bandied about quite a bit, but maybe you weren’t sure what it means.

Extensions are small programs that can be added to your browser to perform certain functions. It could be ad-blocking, spelling, and grammar checking, or it could be a toolbar.

For Chrome, Opera and Safari these programs are called extensions. For Firefox and Edge, they’re called Add-Ons. But it all means the same thing.

Most often, you find these programs by going to the Extension or Add-On store for your particular browser. By store, I’m not referring to a store that you visit. I’m talking about a special web page where you can download these programs for your particular browser. Sometimes you’ll find them on other sites, especially toolbars.

Sometimes these programs are sneakily tacked on to other downloads, so I always prefer to get them from the actual store for your browser.  Sometimes, they are included with a program or service you purchase. For example, Norton Security offers special extensions that subscribers can add to the browsers they use.

drop-down-menu-get extensions.jpg

Downloading an extension only applies it to your browser. It doesn’t function separately from that browser and it doesn’t add it to other browsers. So, if I added the Grammarly grammar checker to Chrome, I’d have to install it separately on Firefox to use it there. But not all extensions are available for all browsers. Some are exclusive to only one browser like Google Chrome.

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