Not too long ago I found that Firefox had become, to me, what Internet Explorer was when I made the decision to shift over to Firefox. Â The bloaty slowness made me seriously consider my options; I’ve never liked Safari so jumped on Google Chrome as soon as beta allowed for the use of extensions. Â Some might argue that it was my use of addons in Firefox that slowed it right down – I’d agree in part; however even without addons installed, when I tested it, Chrome out performed Firefox so the move became a no brainer.
I would expect most users to install a browser and do nothing other than use it. Â Especially given that Microsoft recently pushed out (via Microsoft Update) a tool to allow us to choose our installed browser. Â The more savvy users will look for ways to enhance their Internet use and will be familar with the methods by which we can extend our browser capabilities. Â Internet Explorer and Firefox call them Addons, in Google Chrome they are referred to as extensions.
What follows, are my top 10 Google Chrome extensions I can’t live without:
Wherever possible, YouTube will play the HD version rather than defaulting to a lower quality video.
“Subscribe feeds in Google Reader directly from the address bar! The extension is modeled after the standard Chrome “star” button. Also supports creating new folders and assigning feeds to them.”
“StumbleUpon helps you discover great websites that match your interests. Simply click the Stumble button and see the best websites. There are over 500 topics to choose from, and, the more you use it, the better your recommendations become!”
“Use Internet Explorer to display web pages in a Chrome tab. Some sites can only be displayed using IE, and with this extension you can now see those sites without leaving Chrome. Great for web developers who want to test the IE rendering engine, users who use sites with ActiveX controls, and users who want to use the explorer view for local files (i.e. file:// URLs).”
“By preventing the display of ads, AdThwart makes browsing the web less taxing on both your computer and your sanity. Choose from a number of filter lists, including the continuously updated EasyList, or subscribe to any other AdBlock Plus filter list. You can just install and forget it.”
“The extension automatically blocks flash content on webpages. Â Each flash element is being replaced with a placeholder that allows you to load only selected elements on a given page.“
“With Session Manager you can quickly save your current browser state and reload it whenever necessary. Â You can manage multiple sessions, rename or remove them from the session library. Â Each session remembers the state of the browser at its creation time, i.e the opened tabs and windows. Â Once a session is opened, the browser is restored to its state.”
“Xmarks Thumbnails adds preview images to your Google search results. See a thumbnail preview for each web site before you click. Works on Google search results in all countries. Â You’ll also notice that Thumbnails adds more info to Google’s results, showing you what a site is about and how it ranks in its category.”
“Xmarks is the #1 bookmarking add-on. Xmarks synchronizes across multiple computers, and across web browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer. After you install the add-on, click on the notification to set up Xmarks and start backing up and synchronizing your bookmarks. Xmarks sync profiles give you full control over which bookmarks are synced to which computers, allowing you to keep private bookmarks at home while syncing everything else to your work computer. Xmarks automatically keeps a backup of each bookmark change, making it easy to backup and restore your bookmark sets.“
“Shorten and share links with bit.ly. Preview the full URLs short urls point to. Â Launch the Bit.ly Sidebar with the click of a button. Preview long urls beneath short urls before you click them.“
In conclusion, there are a wealth of extensions out there, some powerful and some pointless. Â I hope that some of these are new to you and will help your enhance your Chrome browser experience. Â I’d be interested to hear from any reader regarding their personal favourites or even better, their own top 10!