Fred Wilson recently asked: Can You Build A Business on Browser Extensions?
Alex Iskold tries to respond: Can Browser Add-ons Be Business?
Well, this question has been answered a long time, as companies have been building extensions for Firefox for years, and the Mozilla Suite before that. Yet as mentioned in both articles, the extensions are supplementary to a broader range of services that a company offers, or one of many entry points into those services. Indeed, this is the case with many of my clients, where there is typically a Firefox extension and an IE plugin, interfacing with functionality available on the web site. The multiple pieces are not dependent on each other. There are some flagship products built exclusively as an extension to drive the company. Two examples that come to mind are Foxmarks and Allpeers.
As we are well into the age of RIAs, are extensions becoming irrelevant? I dare say not, because as the browser becomes more important in day-to-day life and in business, adding some customisation to the browser shell gives you an edge. It also provides privilaged access to interact with crucial browser features such as bookmarks, downloads and search that are not available from web pages mainly for security reasons.
Thoughts? Jump in with a comment on Fred or Alex’s posts, or here.