Support for community developed extensions is arguably the main reason why Firefox has grown to be so popular. It allows the addition of features that have specific or limited appeal, and lets people modify the browser more to their liking. Google knows its Chrome browser is well behind in this respect, but the company has actually been testing the functionality for some time in the latest development releases.
Luckily, it appears that a public roll out isn't far away as they have now opened up an extensions gallery for developers to upload their creations. This gallery isn't yet offering any downloads, but Google says that they will open it to a small group of "trusted testers" in the next few days.
The feature will make its official public debut in an upcoming Chrome 4 beta release. In the meantime, those developers who want to slot their add-ons into Chrome can find all the appropriate information here
and the option to submit their code for review and approval at the developer dashboard
The move should help Google attract more developers and end users at a time the company is working hard to extend the browser beyond its current ~3.5 percent market share. It would certainly make life easier for users coming from other browsers -- primarily Firefox -- which may support extensions "they can't live without."