A recently released Chrome update, Chrome 42, no longer supports Oracle’s Java plugin, bringing to the forefront Google’s decision to completely phase out NPAPI (Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface) by Chrome 45 in September, 2015. NPAPI first came on the scene in 1995 as part of Netscape Navigator 2.0 to allow content not otherwise supported to be viewed in-browser. Basically, Chrome is dumping Java for a new, hotter plugin system.
Chrome’s Flash support is now contained in the new PPAPI plugin system. Since Oracle has failed to provide a PPAPI-compatible plugin for Java, this is why Google has made the decision to no longer support the software. Interestingly enough, PPAPI isn’t yet a standardized technology – it’s only supported by Chrome and Opera – but the decision to no longer support Java by Chrome is having widespread effects.
The changes made by Chrome will quickly bring about the end of Java in the browser. Safari and Firefox already prompt users before running an applet in Java and IE already quickly blocks out-of-date versions of Java software.
Oracle’s solution to Google’s decision and the effect it is having on other web browsers is to release even more rapid updates for the Java Runtime Engine, a decision that has led to widespread criticism because the Java installer bundles the Ask Toolbar by default, an installation in which Oracle receives commission.
Chrome users still have the ability to override the blocked (Java) plugins but by September, 2015 NPAPI programs will no longer be loaded in Chrome. If you will still require the use of plugins that Chrome no longer supports after September, you don’t have to update Chrome and can stay on a version that still supports NPAPI.
It’s not clear as of this time if Chrome-based browsers such as Vivaldi and Opera will follow Google Chrome in completely phasing out NPAPI programs or not, so it is likely that plugins will remain accessible in these browsers for now.