Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Chrome to Drop Support for NPAPI Plugins Including Java, Silverlight, and Unity

Stating that “NPAPI’s 90s-era architecture has become a leading cause of hangs, crashes, security incidents, and code complexity”, Google has announced that it intends to remove the Netscape Plug-in API. Also known as NPAPI, this is the plug-in technology used host application runtimes such as Silverlight, Java, and Unity. They are beginning the process in January by disabling all plugins not a small whitelist. These are:
  • Silverlight (launched by 15% of Chrome users last month)
  • Unity (9.1%)
  • Google Earth (9.1%)
  • Google Talk (8.7%)
  • Facebook Video (6.0%)
Java, used by 8.9% of Chrome users, will not be whitelisted by default because it is already blocked for security reasons. Other NPAPI-based plugins can be enabled on a case-by-case basis by the user.
Effective immediately, the Chrome Web Store will no longer allow new NPAPI applications to be published. Existing ones can be updated thru May 2014, after which they will no longer appear in “Web Store home page, search results, and category pages”. In September 2014 they will be removed entirely from the store.