Jesse and I took part in Germany’s GTUG Chrome Extension Battle back in March. GTUG stands for ”Google Technology User Group” and the Extension Battle was a hacker competition to create some kind of Extension for the Google Chrome browser. This is rather simple to get started with and very similar to creating web-based widgets.
We had been playing around with gameQuery and some CSS3 hacks back then, so we decided to use what we had and created a Space-Invaders clone as a Chrome Extension. The outcome is called ”CSS3 in Space” and it can be downloaded in the Chrome extension repository. Too bad I never found the time to finalize the multiplayer part :( But the game works pretty well as it is - especially given the few days we used to hack this together.
In the battle, we won 2nd place in Germany and scored Ogio Neoprene Laptop Sleeves…that’ nothing compared to 1st place and Nexus Ones but better than nothing, right? Currently we are at 1443 total and around 400 weekly installs, which is not too bad. This includes a “Top Picks” placement during the first few days which was part of the winning prize, so it will go down. It is actually strange how the “weekly installs” are calculated - the Extension is available for 10 weeks now so you should really see 144 installs per week.
Still, if we manage to stay at around 100 installs per week, we will be at 5k users in a year - that’s not bad and it makes me conclude that Chrome extensions, along with other browser Extensions such as the ones for Firefox or Opera can be considered a good channel for web-based apps and widgets. Monetization is tougher than in app stores, but that’s a whole other story.