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Google to kill NPAPI support in Chrome browser

Google is going ahead with its plans to end support for the NPAPI protocol in the Chrome browser which will in turn end support for the Microsoft Silverlight plugin. Business critical apps will have until the Autumn of next year to migrate. The Microsoft runtime depends on an ageing protocol called Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface, or NPAPI for short. Google is currently phasing out support for this protocol in Chrome.

Google explains that continuing to support Netscape causes unnecessary lag, which obviously isn’t good as demand for faster browsers continues to rise. Google has already been removing reliance on NPAPI in certain applications like Google Hangouts and Google Earth. However, sites that rely on Silverlight will soon become unavailable, including proprietary software for businesses.

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This might not have a huge impact on every day users though as currently NPAPI plugins are disabled by default in Chrome. However, this will kill off the loophole that allowed Linux users to unofficially watch Netflix in Chrome, which was unable to render until version 37 released on the OS.

Extensions currently using NPAPI will be removed from the Play Store in April next year, while mission critical apps will be given more time via a manual override. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like Microsoft is planning on making any changes to the Silverlight plugin to allow it to continue working with Chrome, speaking with The Inquirer, a Microsoft spokesperson said that “Several other browsers, including IE and Firefox, offer an alternative to Chrome that continues to support securely the wide variety of multi-media formats offered on the web.”

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KitGuru Says: Google is removing support for NPAPI, which will in turn have an effect on all plugins and applications that rely on it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like Microsoft is willing to make any changes to Silverlight in order to remain compatible with Chrome. How big of an effect do you guys think this will have?

Source: Chromium Blog

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