What's New in Extensions

This page lists the API and manifest changes made in recent releases.

Google Chrome 33

New APIs

  • sockets.tcp: Use the chrome.sockets.tcp API to send and receive data over the network using TCP connections. This API supersedes the TCP functionality previously found in the chrome.socket API.
  • system.network: Use the chrome.system.network API.
  • sockets.udp: Use the chrome.sockets.udp API to send and receive data over the network using UDP connections. This API supersedes the UDP functionality previously found in the "socket" API.
  • sockets.tcpServer: Use the chrome.sockets.tcpServer API to create server applications using TCP connections. This API supersedes the TCP functionality previously found in the chrome.socket API.

Google Chrome 32

New APIs

Google Chrome 30

New APIs

  • system.storage: Use the chrome.system.storage API to query storage device information and be notified when a removable storage device is attached and detached.
  • system.display: Use the system.display API to query display metadata.

Google Chrome 29

New APIs

  • identity: Use the chrome.identity API to get OAuth2 access tokens.

Google Chrome 28

New APIs

  • notifications: Use the chrome.notifications API to create rich notifications using templates and show these notifications to users in the system tray.

Google Chrome 27

New APIs

  • syncFileSystem: Use the chrome.syncFileSystem API to save and synchronize data on Google Drive. This API is NOT for accessing arbitrary user docs stored in Google Drive. It provides app-specific syncable storage for offline and caching usage so that the same data can be available across different clients. Read Manage Data for more on using this API.
  • power: Use the chrome.power API to override the system's power management features.

Google Chrome 26

New APIs

  • usb: Use the chrome.usb API to interact with connected USB devices. This API provides access to USB operations from within the context of an app. Using this API, apps can function as drivers for hardware devices.

Google Chrome 24

New APIs

Google Chrome 23

New APIs

  • fileSystem: Use the chrome.fileSystem API to create, read, navigate, and write to a sandboxed section of the user's local file system. With this API, Chrome Apps can read and write to a user-selected location. For example, a text editor app can use the API to read and write local documents. All failures are notified via chrome.runtime.lastError.
  • app.runtime: Use the chrome.app.runtime API to manage the app lifecycle. The app runtime manages app installation, controls the event page, and can shut down the app at anytime.
  • mediaGalleries: Use the chrome.mediaGalleries API to access media files (audio, images, video) from the user's local disks (with the user's consent).
  • serial: Use the chrome.serial API to read from and write to a device connected to a serial port.
  • app.window: Use the chrome.app.window API to create windows. Windows have an optional frame with title bar and size controls. They are not associated with any Chrome browser windows.

Google Chrome 22

New APIs

  • runtime: Use the chrome.runtime API to retrieve the background page, return details about the manifest, and listen for and respond to events in the app or extension lifecycle. You can also use this API to convert the relative path of URLs to fully-qualified URLs.
  • alarms: Use the chrome.alarms API to schedule code to run periodically or at a specified time in the future.

Additions to existing APIs

  • Background pages can optionally be non-persistent, using a feature we call event pages. Event pages run only while they're being used, and will unload when idle to save resources.

Google Chrome 21

New APIs

  • events: The chrome.events namespace contains common types used by APIs dispatching events to notify you when something interesting happens.

Additions to existing APIs

  • The types.ChromeSetting.set method now has a regular_only scope.
  • The browsingData.RemovalOptions now has an originTypes property.
  • The management.uninstall method now has a showConfirmDialog parameter.
  • The contextMenus.create method now allows you to specify unique IDs for each item. This is intended to be used with the new contextMenus.onClicked event, to distinguish the clicked item.
  • The browserAction.setIcon and pageAction.setIcon methods now accept optional callbacks.
  • The privacy.websites namespace now has a protectedContentEnabled property.
  • The index parameter to the tabs.move method now accepts -1 to indicate that the tab should be placed at the end.
  • The windowId parameter to the tabs.highlight method is now optional.

Google Chrome 20

New APIs

  • storage: Use the chrome.storage API to store, retrieve, and track changes to user data.

Additions to existing APIs

  • The chrome.contextMenus contextMenus.create and contextMenus.update methods now have an enabled parameter.
  • The privacy API's privacy.services object now has a spellingServiceEnabled setting.
  • The chrome.tabs tabs.executeScript and tabs.insertCSS now accept a runAt parameter.
  • The sendRequest() method has been deprecated in favor of the sendMessage() method for both the runtime.sendMessage and tabs.sendMessage.

Manifest changes

  • Manifest version 1 was deprecated in Chrome 18 and will be phased out according to the Manifest version 1 support

Google Chrome 19

Additions to existing APIs

  • The window API's windows.Window object now has an alwaysOnTop property and supports the fullscreen state.
  • The chrome.tabs tabs.query method now has the currentWindow and lastFocusedWindow parameters.
  • The browser action API has the following new getter functions: browserAction.getTitle, browserAction.getBadgeText, browserAction.getBadgeBackgroundColor, and browserAction.getPopup.
  • The page action API has the following new getter functions: pageAction.getTitle and pageAction.getPopup.

Google Chrome 18

Additions to existing APIs

  • The chrome.tabs tabs.create and tabs.update methods now have an openerTabId parameter

Manifest changes

  • The new manifest version field specifies the version of the manifest that your package requires. As of Chrome 18, you should use manifest version 2.
  • The new Content Security Policy (CSP) field is used to define an extension's policies towards the types of content that can be loaded and executed by the extension.
  • Most background pages only include a list of script files. For these background pages, you can use the new background.scripts property and Chrome will generate a background page for you.
  • The new web_accessible_resources field specifies the paths of packaged resources that are expected to be usable in the context of a web page.

Google Chrome 17

Additions to existing APIs

  • The management API's management.ExtensionInfo object now has a disabledReason property.
  • The omnibox API now works in split incognito mode.

Manifest changes

  • Permissions can be optional for the content setting API, the web navigation API, and the new web request API.

Google Chrome 16

New APIs

  • permissions: Use the chrome.permissions API to request declared optional permissions at run time rather than install time, so users understand why the permissions are needed and grant only those that are necessary.

Additions to existing APIs

  • The new tabs.query method gets all tabs that have the specified properties or all tabs if no properties are specified.
  • The new tabs.reload method reloads a tab and includes the option to preserve the local cache of the reloaded tab.
  • The management API's management.ExtensionInfo object now has an updateURL property.
  • You can now limit the supported locales for an external extension by adding the supported_locales attribute to the external_extensions.json.
  • The methods getAllInWindow() and getSelected() have been deprecated. To get details about all tabs in the specified window, use tabs.query with the argument {'windowId': windowId}. To get the tab that is selected in the specified window, use chrome.tabs.query() with the argument {'active': true}.
  • You are no longer required to specify the tabId for the tabs.update method. When not provided, the tabId defaults to the selected tab of the current window.
  • External extension files on Mac OS can now be owned by users within a wheel group (or an admin group).
  • The experimental permission is no longer required for the panel type. By default, the panel type creates a popup unless the --enable-panels flag is set.

Manifest changes

  • The new requirements field allows you to declare extension requirements up front. For example, you can use this field to specify that your app requires 3D graphics support in order to use features such as CSS 3D Tranforms or WebGL.

Google Chrome 15

New APIs

  • webstore: Use the chrome.webstore API to initiate app and extension installations "inline" from your site.

Additions to existing APIs

  • You can retrieve permission warnings using the new management API methods management.getPermissionWarningsById and management.getPermissionWarningsByManifest.
  • The management API’s management.ExtensionInfo object has a new field, offlineEnabled.
  • You can now internationalize content script CSS files by using __MSG_messagename__ placeholders.
  • The callback for the tabs.update method is passed null instead of the tab details if the extension does not have the tabs permission.

Manifest changes

  • The new offline_enabled field lets you specify that your app works well even without an internet connection.

Google Chrome 14

New APIs

  • tts: Use the chrome.tts API to play synthesized text-to-speech (TTS). See also the related ttsEngine API, which allows an extension to implement a speech engine.

Additions to existing APIs

  • Context menu items can now appear even in documents that have file:// or chrome:// URLs. Previously, they were restricted to documents with http:// or https:// URLs.
  • An optional drawAttention field in windows.update's updateInfo object lets you specify that the window should entice the user to change focus to it.
  • The new bookmarks.getSubTree function lets you retrieve just part of the Bookmarks hierarchy
  • The tabs permission is no longer required for tabs.remove and tabs.onRemoved.

Manifest changes

  • The new content_security_policy field can help prevent cross-site scripting vulnerabilities in your extension.
  • The new nacl_modules field lets you register Native Client modules as content handlers for MIME types.

Google Chrome 13

New APIs

  • types: The chrome.types API contains type declarations for Chrome.

Additions to existing APIs

  • Content scripts can now make cross-origin XMLHttpRequests to the same sites that their parent extension can, eliminating the need to relay these requests through a background page.
  • You can now use @run-at in an imported Greasemonkey script to control when the script is injected. It works the same way as run_at in content scripts.

Manifest changes

  • A new exclude_matches item in the content_scripts field lets you target your content script more precisely. For details, see Match patterns and globs.
  • New clipboardRead and clipboardWrite permissions specify capabilities for document.execCommand().

Google Chrome 12

Additions to existing APIs

  • Two new chrome.extension methods—extension.isAllowedFileSchemeAccess and extension.isAllowedIncognitoAccess—let you determine whether your extension has increased access, which the user specifies using the extensions management page (chrome://extensions).
  • The windows.create method can now take a focused value. Previously, all new windows had the keyboard focus; now you can create windows without interrupting the user's typing.
  • If the manifest specifies experimental permission, your extension can specify panel as the value of the type field in the windows.create method or the windows.Window type.
  • The cookies.onChanged event of chrome.cookies now has a cause parameter.
  • The chrome.contextMenus contextMenus.create and contextMenus.update methods now let you specify a context value of frame

Google Chrome 11

Additions to existing APIs

  • For security reasons, you can no longer call tabs.captureVisibleTab on just any tab. Instead, you now must have host permission for the URL displayed by that tab. To get the previous behavior, specify for the host permission.
  • The management API's management.ExtensionInfo object now has a homepageUrl property.
  • The management API now lets you get the icons of disabled apps and extensions. Also, you can now modify the regular icon's URL to get its disabled equivalent. See management.IconInfo for details.
  • The cookies API cookies.set and cookies.remove methods can now take callbacks.

Google Chrome 10

Additions to existing APIs

  • The windows.create method now has a tabId field. You can use it to move a tab or panel into a new window.

Manifest changes

  • The new background permission extends the life of Chrome, allowing your extension or app to run even when Chrome has no windows open.

Google Chrome 9

Additions to existing APIs

  • The tabs.Tab object now has a pinned property that's reflected in various chrome.tabs methods. For example, you can tabs.create a pinned tab.
  • The windows.create method can now take a list of URLs, letting you create multiple tabs in the new window.
  • The new management.get method lets you get information about the specified extension or app.

Manifest changes

  • The homepage_url field lets you specify the extension or app's homepage.

Google Chrome 7

Manifest changes

  • Introduced split incognito mode as the default for installable web apps (also available to extensions).
  • The tabs API create() and update() methods no longer require the tabs permission, removing one common cause of scary dialogs.

Google Chrome 6

New APIs

  • idle: Use the chrome.idle API to detect when the machine's idle state changes.
  • contextMenus: Use the chrome.contextMenus API to add items to Google Chrome's context menu. You can choose what types of objects your context menu additions apply to, such as images, hyperlinks, and pages.

Additions to existing APIs

  • The extension.getViews method can now return popup views.
  • A new windows.WINDOW_ID_NONE constant identifies when focus shifts away from the browser.
  • The new tabs.getCurrent method returns the tab associated with the currently executing script.

Manifest changes

  • The geolocation permission gives an extension access to the user's physical location.
  • Match patterns can now select all schemes or all URLs.
  • Access to file:/// URLs no longer triggers the access to your machine security warning, but now requires user opt-in from the extensions management page.

Google Chrome 5

New APIs

  • i18n: Use the chrome.i18n infrastructure to implement internationalization across your whole app or extension.