The idea is to allow users to customise Safari in ways that make web surfing more efficient and fun.
The gallery, a curated collection of extensions submitted by third-party developers, is similar to the company's App Store for iPhone and iPad software. As in the App Store, Apple picks which extensions get listed in Extensions Gallery based on how well they perform and the functions they add to Safari. Any developer can submit one, but if you look through Extensions Gallery, you'll notice many come from major media outlets or social networks.
Unlike the official Firefox and Chrome extension sites, the Safari Extensions Gallery doesn't have a separate page for each extension. Instead, they're all listed on a single gallery page, which is divided into several categories including News, Shopping, Productivity and Social Networking.
Like the App Store, Extensions Gallery features a simple one-step installation process. Click the Install Now button below an extension you want to try, and the extension is automatically downloaded, installed and activated. If the extension provides buttons, a toolbar or some other always-visible item, you'll see it immediately. If an extension doesn't work for you right out of the gate, try quitting and restarting Safari, but in most cases you won't need a restart.
If you want to delete or disable an extension, simply open Safari's Preferences, click on the Extensions tab, and locate the extension in the list box. You can click a checkbox to simply disable it - leaving it installed for later use - or click the Uninstall button to get rid of it entirely. You can also disable all extensions at once, leaving Safari in a clean state.
For many extensions, you can also specify preferences or settings. These vary depending on the extension and can involve anything from adding a username and password for a site to defining what information the extension displays and how it looks in Safari.
NEXT PAGE: Beyond the Extensions Gallery
- Apple follows in Mozilla and Google's footsteps
- Beyond the Extensions Gallery
- More tab, toolbar and navigation tweaks
- Privacy and security
- Blocking annoyances
- More social networking add-ons
- Reference, search, translation and more
- Instapaper, Google Reader and Gmail
- Final thoughts