Browser Extensions are Underexplored

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Almost all of (knowledge) work is happening inside a browser and most apps are becoming web apps 1. Operating system functions are largely off-shored to browsers.

Browser Extensions have access and context to the interactions in the browser. They can access any entity (tweets, profiles, articles) and event (liking, sending messages, looking at an image) that a browser enables. That’s most of digital life. There’s many ideas that only work with having that context (eg. claim verification, flagging fake news) and so it seems like the next killer application should be a browser (extension).

So, why aren’t we seeing more innovative and ambitious browser extensions?

My null hypothesis is usually that people don’t have ideas. Also, developing a complex browser extensions, from personal experience, is quite annoying:

That’s a few pointers for why there isn’t much happening.

I still think browser extensions are massively underrated and under-explored.

(1) I haven’t seen good arguments for why this won’t happen, especially with WASM and most of developer tooling focusing on web stacks