2011-03-02

Two new Chrome dev features: OmniBox extensions, background pages

Google is currently developing two new features for Chrome: extensions for the OmniBox and background pages for webapps.
An OmniBox extension allows you to switch to tabs whose titles contain the text “mot glo”.
  • OmniBox extensions: The OmniBox is Chrome’s address text field which is also used for searches and other things (hence “omni”). A new API allows developers to extend its functionality. A first extension brings Firefox’s “switch to tab” to Chrome: If what you type is found in the title of a currently open tab, the extension gives your the option to switch to that tab.
  • Background pages: allow your webapp to be active before its page has been opened and after it has been closed. It is the headless part of your app, implemented as an invisible web page. Any extension or packaged app can have a background page, which Chrome opens automatically at startup. Use cases for background apps:
    • Show notifications (e.g. when a chat user sends a message)
    • Safely finish a long-running task such as downloading data from a server, uploading data or performing a computation.
    • Play audio.
As long as Chrome is running, background pages are always open.
More information:
  1. Extending the Omnibox
  2. Amping Up Chrome’s Background Feature
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