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GNOME Web (Epiphany) Gets WebExtension Support, Coming in GNOME 43

GNOME desktop’s native web browser Web gets the much-needed web extensions support and plans for release on upcoming GNOME 43. Here are the details.

Web Extensions allow you to extend your browser functionalities in several ways. We all know it as an “add-on” in popular terminology. There are standards available today (such as Manifest API JSON), which all the popular web browsers use to give users and developers access to the browser pages.

You must have already installed many add-ons in your browser – they are developed using these APIs.

GNOME Web 43 Brings Extension Support

GNOME Web is a WebKit-engine-based browser with minimal features until now. With the new web extension support, GNOME Web can now support add-ons developed for other browsers.

For example, you can download the Add-ons from the Firefox Add-on website and directly import in into the GNOME Web.

As of writing this post, the following API support has been added to Epiphany:

  • Alarm
  • Cookies
  • Downloads
  • Menus
  • Notifications
  • Storage
  • Tabs
  • Windows

Since the above is now supported, you can use those Firefox/Chrome extensions which use the above browser functions.


Just go to the Firefox Addon page and download some extensions as a file (.xpi).

Now, open GNOME Web (installation instructions are present below) and from the hamburger menu, choose Extensions. Then click Add.

Extensions in GNOME Web
Extensions in GNOME Web

You can see the added extensions in the following window and enable them. I tried two Firefox add-ons – “search by image” and “Google Translate” – both of them worked just fine. This is fascinating.

Installed some Firefox Add-ons in GNOME Web
Installed some Firefox Add-ons in GNOME Web

How to try?

As of writing this, this is still under development. And you can try this version of GNOME Web via the GNOME Nightly Flatpak repo using the following commands.

Make sure to create a folder “web_extensions” under ~/.var/app/org.gnome.Epiphany.Devel/data/epiphany (if not present) before running the commands.

flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists gnome-nightly
flatpak install gnome-nightly org.gnome.Epiphany.Devel
flatpak run org.gnome.Epiphany.Devel set org.gnome.Epiphany.web:/org/gnome/epiphany/web/ enable-web extensions true

GNOME Web version 43 will gets this update when released in a few months with GNOME 43. Hence, you should get this feature in Ubuntu 22.10 and Fedora 37 as far as distribution is concerned.

Closing Notes

GNOME Web might not be a full feature compared to Google Chrome or Firefox today, but with these incremental and pivotal updates, soon we all have a WebKit-based browser as an additional option to this never-ending browser war.

So, what is your opinion about this update, let me know in the comment box below.

Via TingPing’s blog!

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