Chrome Messed Up Extension Icons On Browser Toolbar

Chrome team recently announced a new feature added to the latest Chrome version: Now icons of all extensions would show up on the browser toolbar. This would inform users about all installed and enabled extensions, and allows users to easily control them. Moreover, users can uninstall useless, unrecognized and unwanted extensions right from the toolbar as shown below:

Extension removal GIF.gif

 

This feature sounds good as it helps users to review and control their installed extensions. But, on the other hand, it has completely messed up the default behaviour of extensions’ buttons as described in Chrome Extension APIs.

browserAction and pageAction

According to Chrome Extension APIs, an extension can show up its button in two ways: browserAction and pageAction. Buttons added using browserAction API are shown on the browser toolbar and it should be used when the extension button requires to be visible always. For example, Adblock Plus extension places its icon on the toolbar using the browserAction API.

The pageAction API shows extension buttons inside the address bar as shown in the following screenshot. It allows to show up extension buttons selectively on specific pages. For example, Feedly Subscribe Button extension places its icon inside the address bar using the pageAction API, and only on those pages which offer RSS feeds.

feedly chrome extension

If an extension doesn’t use browserAction or pageAction API, its icon wouldn’t show up anywhere. This option is suitable for many extensions, like this one.

The latest change as announced by Chrome team is forcefully showing up icons of ALL active extensions on the browser toolbar, even for those using pageAction API or not using any API. This has totally killed the pageAction feature, as the icon intended to show up in the address bar and only on selected pages would now appear always on the toolbar. This would also confuse the users, specially on those pages where the pageAction is not supposed to work.

Thankfully, users can hide icons of desired extensions in the Chrome menu as shown below:

chrome-extensions-button-hide

 

chrome-extension-buttons-toolbar

 

To hide any extension icon from the toolbar, right click on it and select the option “Hide in Chrome menu”.

arpit

Posted by Arpit Gupta

Arpit is a web enthusiast watching browsers for long. He maintains several browser-based tools including many popular extensions. Follow Arpit on Twitter, or email him at editor@browsernative.com.
Post last updated on February 18, 2016.

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2 Responses

  1. Mel says:

    How do you get them to show, though? On a computer this is simple but on the browser for the Chromebit I can remove but not add them. For example, Google Keep will not show an icon even though it clearly shows that it should be. Going in to Manage Extensions shows they are enabled but still, some of them, including the Google ones, just dont appear on the icon bar next to the address bar…even if its fully extended and ones I dont want to see are hidden or removed….

  2. Arpit says:

    @Mel: I guess you are confused with the Chrome Apps. Only extensions put their icons on the browser toolbar. Apps don’t offer any toolbar button, you can use them from the launcher on the Chromebit.

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