Stephen Shankland, reporting for CNET:

The teams behind the Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge browsers have banded together to improve extensions, the add-ons you can download to customize the software. That should mean your extensions will work better and come with a better security foundation to protect you from malware.

On Friday, the teams unveiled a discussion and development forum at the World Wide Web Consortium, or W3C, dedicated to developing standards for extensions. The forum, the WebExtensions Community Group, gives engineers a place to build a unified and more secure core foundation for extensions.

At WWDC 2020, Apple introduced the WebExtension API for Safari on macOS Big Sur — an effort to enable cross-platform browser extensions. However, I’m yet to see a change in the Safari extensions ecosystem because of that. Here’s hoping this new WebExtensions Community Group brings about a change.

Apple’s New Safari Extensions Gallery

Apple has had an Extensions Gallery for Safari, a place where you could discover and download 3rd party extensions for your browser. With the recent launch of Safari 9.0 along with OS X El Capitan, Apple has now moved the Extensions Gallery to a new place and URL. The Safari Extensions Gallery is now available at and with Version 9.0, Apple has changed the way Safari Extensions are built, distributed and updated. A brief summary of the changes is that:

1. To be able to build and distribute Safari Extensions, you now have to sign up for the Apple Developer Program, which costs $99/year. Previously, you could develop and self-sign your own Safari Extensions. That is no longer possible.

2. Apple now hosts and serves Safari Extensions directly from the above linked Extensions Gallery. The extensions are neatly categorized and are manually approved by Apple. You can download and install the extensions with a single click.

3. Only those Safari Extensions that are downloaded directly from Apple can be updated automatically. This means that the extensions you have downloaded from 3rd-party website, or a developer’s own website, will **not auto-update**. Developers can still sign their own extensions and make them available for download, but users will have no way to updating them.

Popular Safari Extensions like 1Password, Ghostery, Pocket are already available on the new gallery.