Fire Outfoxed: Greasemonkey Creator Builds Native Support Into Chrome

When Google launched Extensions for Chrome in December, they had around 300 of them ready to go in their gallery. A day later, that number was already up to 500. By now, there are a few thousand available, and that number just got multiple by several times as Google has announced that the latest official version of Chrome, version 4, now natively supports Greasemoneky user scripts.

As Google engineer Aaron Boodman (who also happens to be the creator of Greasemonkey) writes today on the Chromium blog, on the popular site there are over 40,000 scripts alone. While he notes that not all of the user scripts written for Greasemonkey will work seamlessly with Chrome immediately (because of the differences between Chrome and Firefox), that should only affect 15%-25% of those over 40,000. He also notes that Google will continue to work on issues on their end to improve compatibility with these Greasemonkey scripts.

While neither side is likely to admit it, this is another big blow to Mozilla’s Firefox browser. Boodman wrote Greasemonkey in 2004 specifically for Firefox, and now he’s just helped a rival browser implement the majority of these scripts natively. And in fact, the native support works so well that Chrome actually treats these user scripts just like regular Chrome Extensions, so you can install and disable them in the same way you do with regular ones.

Boodman cautions users who choose to install these user scripts to be careful, as they can potentially access private data you’re browsing on a website. He notes that you should read the comments and descriptions on a user scripts’ page to figure out exactly what it’s doing before installing it. Still, there are a ton of very useful Greasemonkey user scripts out there, and this makes Chrome even better.

While obviously, Chrome 4 is only officially launched for Windows, the beta versions available for both Mac and Linux are also version 4. And actually, the newer dev builds across all platforms are already onto version 5, so these user scripts should work fine on all of them.