Microsoft, partners inch closer toward Windows 10 Edge extensions

A new preview of Microsoft's Edge browser in Windows 10 should be available soon and will support Pinterest, Reddit and possibly other extensions.

Earlier this Fall, Microsoft conceded that it wouldn't meet its original target of delivering extension support for its Windows 10 Edge browser this calendar year.

But it looks like a preview of that extension support is on track to come to a preview build of Windows 10 relatively soon.

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A leak discovered by @h0x0d, aka The Walking Cat, makes it seem Microosft's Edge extension preview is coming relatively soon.

A Microsoft Web page announcing "Extensions are here!" briefly appeared earlier this week touting the addition of Edge extensions. (Microsoft has since removed that page.)

From that not-yet-finalized page:

"Beginning with Build XXXXX in Windows 10 Technical Preview, a selection of extensions are available for Microsoft Edge. Join the Windows Insider Program or upgrade your current build."

The page included references to two preview Edge extensions, the Pin It button from Pinterest.com and the Reddit Enhancement Suite one from Reddit. The page noted that in the preview releases of Edge, extensions will be added manually.

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The Walking Cat also discovered earlier this week that the popular Adblock Plus extension also is being developed for Edge and, according to that company's own site, is "coming soon." Another popular extension, LastPass, also will be available for Edge as soon as Microsoft enables extension support in Windows 10, according to that company's page.

"The LastPass extension can be downloaded to any other browser on Windows 10. Simply visit our download page: https://lastpass.com/download to install the extension in the browser toolbar in Internet Explorer 11, Firefox, Chrome, or Opera," LastPass helpfully notes.

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Extensions are small software programs, typically written using HTML, CSS and JavaScript, that can modify and supplement the functionality of a browser. Google has a store full of extensions for Chrome, as does Mozilla for Firefox.

The Walking Cat managed to download more of the early Edge extensions assets before Microsoft pulled them, and noted that when comparing the Edge and Chrome versions of the same extension, there are very few differences.

"Basically substitute 'chrome' with 'msBrowser', add few minor changes, done," he tweeted.

In October, a Microsoft spokesperson provided this official statement as to the timing of the release of Edge extensions:

"We're committed to providing customers with a personalized web experience, which is why bringing extensions to Microsoft Edge continues to be a high priority. We're actively working to develop a secure extension model to make the safest and most reliable browser for our customers, and look forward to sharing more in a future Windows 10 update in 2016."

The spokesperson said this week that the statement above continues to be the only timing information the company will share.

Back then, I took Microsoft's reference to "a future Windows 10 update in 2016" as being the "Redstone 1" update to Windows 10, which I've heard is targeted for a June 2016 delivery. I don't know if Microsoft has decided to wait until 2016 to release the first preview of the Edge Extensions. My sources have been saying Microsoft's plan was to deliver a Windows 10 preview build to Insiders this calendar year that would include an Edge extensions preview.

Microsoft officials haven't ruled out offering extensions for Windows 10 Mobile, but they also haven't committed to a timeline as to when they might bring extensions to the mobile version of Edge.