One of the most interesting thing about Chrome Extension gallery, when Google unveiled it few months ago, was the fact that they were showing the most popular (read: most downloaded) extension right on the front page. This is interesting because two of the most popular all time extensions are also ad blocking extensions. Googles main revenue source, as you might know, is online advertisements.
At the end of last year one of those Ad blocking extensions (AdThwart) became the most popular chrome extensions, so naturally it was on the top of the list on the front page. I checked back few days later to see that AdThwart magically went down from number one to number three most downloaded and all the download count was much lower than it originally showed. (Yes, I was actually interested in popular extension download count.)
I can only speculate here than Google was not comfortable with the idea of an ad blocking extension being the most popular extension, so they manually adjusted it. Even so, AdThwart was still in the top six on the front page, until yesterday. I know this because I check the gallery now and then for try out something new and I was there last night and I saw it right in the front page in the same order as they show in the Most Popular list.
Today, after reading about the official support of Greasemonkey scripts (as extensions) for Chrome I wanted to check out if they were also listing those extensions on the extension gallery. I was surprised to see that the popular list on the main page does not show the most downloaded extensions in the correct order. As a matter of fact it doesnt represent any kind of order in terms of popularity. Every refresh (wait few minutes) shows a new list of extensions. After six tries I got six separate list of extensions and none of them were any ad blocking extensions (Your mileage may vary).
So what does it all mean? For starters, obviously someone in Google doesnt think it is a great idea to give such easy access to ad blocking extensions right on the front page. As of this writing, the Most Popular list still shows two ad blocking extensions on the top ten list. Will it still stay the same when Chrome becomes more popular and ad blocking extension user count rolls in to millions? Whats stopping Google from blocking these extensions in the future when user base reaches a critical mass?
These are some of the tough questions Google will need to face in the future as Chrome becomes more popular.