Starting in January 2015, Google’s Chrome browser will block all old-school Netscape Plug-In API (NPAPI) plugins. This doesn’t come as a huge surprise, given that Google started its efforts to remove NPAPI plugins more than a year ago.
Over the last year, Google went from recommending that developers move away from this old architecture to actively blocking almost all NPAPI plugins. There was, however, always a whitelist that allowed some of the most popular NPAPI plugins like Microsoft’s Silverlight, Unity and Google’s own Google Earth plugin to continue to run in the browser. Starting in January, even that’s going away and all of these plugins will be blocked by default.
Other plugins that will be affected by this move include the Google Talk and Facebook plugins. Most of the whitelisted plugins saw their usage decline since Chrome started the deprecation program, but according to Google’s own data, Silverlight still remains popular with 11% of Chrome users launching it at least once per month. Most of that usage is probably from Netflix users, but now that Netflix is slowly moving away from Silverlight, too, the impact will likely be less than those numbers suggest.
Enterprises, which may still run some mission-critical NPAPI plugins, will be able to bypass these restrictions for the time being. Come September 2015, however, Google will completely remove support for these plugins from Chrome.