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Plug-in checker

Keep your browser plug-ins secure and up to date with this free Chrome extension.

Secbrowsing is a free extension for Google Chrome that automatically checks for updates for your plug-ins. Calling this simple program "compact" hardly seems to do justice to its tiny footprint; at a mere 2.47 KB (yes, kilobytes) it's probably close to some software equivalent of the quantum realm, beyond which programs are simply too tiny to exist in the Windows universe. It does the job well, so there's no reason it should be any bigger. In the world of browser extensions, smaller is better. Keeping Chrome lean and speedy is one of the open source browser project's overarching goals, and extensions that add useful capabilities without too many "calories" make Chrome competitive with IE and Firefox but without the bloating that slows them down. By keeping your plug-ins up to date, you're keeping your Chrome polished. And that's where Secbrowsing takes over.

Secbrowsing installs like other Chrome extensions, quickly and without requiring you to restart it. It places a small red icon at the right end of Chrome's address bar. Secbrowsing checks your plug-ins regularly and notifies you when any become vulnerable, but you can also check them any time. We clicked the red icon, which called up a Chrome page displaying the Browser Plug-In Check's results. The Summary indicated we had two vulnerable plug-ins and three that were up to date. Clicking How Can I Fix This? redirected our page to the vulnerable plug-in's Web site for updates. Secbrowsing also listed three additional plug-ins that it didn't track because no security errors had been reported for them. That's why Secbrowsing has a button labeled Send to Server: It transmits data about your plug-ins so that developers can improve Secbrowsing's performance. The extension's Chrome page also linked to the latest related blog entries and provided Blog and Twitter links as well as buttons to embed Secbrowsing in a Web site, obtain the source code, and more.

Secbrowsing is a great example of a Google Chrome extension: Minuscule yet effective, it's a model of efficiency and collaborative innovation. Anyone who uses Chrome with extensions needs it.

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