Top 17 Google Chrome Extensions To Improve Chrome
Chrome is great in many ways, but it also severely lacks in features. Now don’t get me wrong. Chrome pioneered in many new features. BUT Firefox beat’s Chrome without breaking a sweat in the plugins/extensions department. As we all know, Extensions can (and do) add A LOT of needed (and some not) functionality to the browser.
The biggest issue is that Google’s Chrome isn’t mature yet, not as much as Firefox, and some people are reluctant to port their old Firefox plugins to Chrome. Other’s who have ported their plugins, haven’t been able to do it completely. For a variety of reasons, some plugins just aren’t as good in Chrome as in FF.
That being said, I found a nice list of plugins (many far from the standard list of ‘top chrome extensions’) that (mostly) complete the Chrome functionality list.
Update: Looking for the best MegaUpload & RapidShare Chrome Extensions (plugins)? You’re in luck! Click here!
First and foremost, my choice of the single most important plugin for Chrome:
1) Google Chrome Session Management – Session Manager – Version: 0.3
One of the biggest complaints about Chrome that I’ve read was the sloppy session management. Well no more! This plugin adds more control over when you save sessions and can restore them as well! WOOT!
Yes I know, the latest version of Chrome have a “restore last open tabs on open” feature (under the Basics tab in Options) and even if it crashes you can get back all your tabs from the “Last Opened Tabs” bar at the bottom of the home screen … but it didn’t have session “management”. This finally bring it to ya!
This is truly a must have extension for the power user.
2) Block Ads in Google Chrome – AdBlock
Most people don’t like the idea of ads in the face all the time. Especially with the way today’s internet is going, ads are virtually everwhere on every website and ever page. It gets really REALLY annoying after a time.
So, to combat the whole ad problem the good people who brought us AdBlock for Firefox have brought it to Chrome! yey! No more ads!
This extensions is rather interesting because it even blocks the simple .jpg ads on my website. I made the images myself in The Gimp, they are small and cheap … so I’m kinda surprised it blocked em!
So be assured it’ll (mostly) do the job! The latest version can (it’s still in Beta so it might not) prevent the ads from downloading to your computer! How sweet is that?
This is also right up on the top of the list of need to have extensions for Chrome.
2.1) AdBlock Extension Button
This adds the little Ad block button to Chrome. Since theory states that the orginal plugin does not add the button. Very useful and you should install this as well if you install the AdBlock extension.
3) Better Password Management In Google Chrome – LastPass
Browsers for some odd reason have always sucked with password management. I really don’t know why though. Oh well. If you use Windows you have several options open to you, but for the rest of us AND those of us who like a cross-platform solution there is LastPass.
The service free to use, but they also have a paid “premium” version. I’m not interested in that since I’m currently broke. (Any want to donate to the “Piotr Krzyzek Please Buy A Vowel For Your Last Name” Fund 🙂 ?)
Now what exactly is LastPass? It’s a website to store all your passwords safely. So if you do NOT want to send your passwords to a third party, stay with Roboform or KeePass/KeyPass/KeePassX.
Personally I would have MUCH preffered an offline solution (like Roboform for linux), but sadly there is not free nor paid cross-platform solution with auto-fillin and what not. So that really sucks.
The service and extension need a little bit of setup, but it’s very easy. Took me all of 2 minutes (if even that) to do. It can import your passwords from Chrome’s normal password manager, Roboform, Keepass and a bunch of others.
Though from experience (and from what others have said), the password import feature DOES NOT WORK in Google Chrome on Linux (at least not the latest version on x64). Also I have read that people on Mac are having trouble with it.
So this plugin is a hit/miss situation. Though I’m using is because I’m tired of typing my passwords all the bloody time and all these websites. Bleh! Gimmie a break!
Give this extension a try and see what you think. It might not be right for you. You might wanna stay with Roboform (Windows) or well … save em all in KeePass and manually copy over?
Overall I still stay give it a go! You might just like it.
By the way, there is a Roboform for Chrome: https://chrome.google.com/extensions/detail/kidhjpmgjfbkmcfpfakmdddddgfbhahj?hl=en#
4) Increase Security With Website Ratings – WOT / Web Of Trust For Google Chrome
The awesome WOT extension finally on Chrome. This plugin rates each website by community input. If a website was rated good by the majority it will have a green icon by in, or if many people flag it as spam or malware then it’ll have a red symbol.
I don’t actively use this extension, I just quickly give it a glance before I click on any link though. So I find it pretty good to keep myself, and my computer safe.
Probably also a good idea to use it with tighter restrictions if you have kids and what not.
5) Bookmark sync in Google Chrome other than with a Google Account – XMarks
Previously known as FoxMarks, XMarks made headlines as a cross-platform browser bookmark syncing extension. It have finally arrived on Chrome. I used it a lot in Firefox to sync 5 different operating systems and their Firefox browsers to my bookmarks. It kept everything nice and orderly for me whenever I switched to a different OS.
This generally one of the first plugins I install in any OS with any browser that supports it. Love it! <3
If you’ve never used XMarks before, the setup is very simple. You create a XMarks account (required, but totally free), click next a few times and POOF. You’re browser(s) will be automatically synced with the XMarks account all the time.
You can also manually sync! Even better, it can also sync passwords and Tabs (tabs is windows only) in Firefox. For Chrome it’s still in the works, but the bookmark syncing is still just as perfect.
Also, you can do one way sync’s. Meaning, you can download from the server to your local browser overwriting everything. Or you could even go the other way! Your choice.
But this is one of the most highly recommended plugins by me.
If you’re serious about Web development or just want to get a handle on things, here are some plugins which are finally making their way from Firefox. But I’ll say this already, if you want the best SEO/Web-development browser go with Firefox because it has the widest array for extensions and the most mature (and stable) extensions for exactly this. Google chrome is just playing catchup right now.
6) Performance Test and Speed Test Your Website … How Fast Does Your Site Load? – Speed Tracer
This plugin is actually made by Google, so that’s nice … I guess. It’ll tell you how fast your site loads and what loads when. Simple as that. It also gives you pretty pictures of everything. Very good to know what you gotta optimize on your site!
7) Check How A Site Looks As a Specific Resolution – Resolution Test
As the title says, it’ll test a specific screen resolution for your website. All you do it click on the icon and select the screen size you want to test, and poof! You’ll insta-see how it’ll appear to people who use a screen that size/resolution. Nifty aye?
I really wish they had it a while back though, woulda saved me a lot of grief!
This is also more aimed at the hardcore programmers and designers. If you’re the average Joe-type person, you probably won’t need to bother with this.
8) Inline LIVE CSS/HTML/DOM editing of Website – Firebug Lite
Sadly no ‘full’ version of Firebug for Chrome yet. So we’ll made do with this lite version. Plus, if you are doing heavy web-dev, you should probably be using FF anyway.
Anyway ……… This plugin is an ABSOLUTE MUST HAVE for any web developer. It’ll allow you to change practically anything on the site without ‘actualy’ editing the files. Kind of like a live preview.
Also makes it easy to find any element on a page and debug. WOOT!
9) Get SEO and PageRank Statistics – Chrome SEO
There are a few extensions for this, but this one has a nice built in feature that allows you to see the current pages RANK on most of the useful statistics sites. It’s also rather fast, which is good 🙂
From the description: ”
The Google Chrome SEO Extension provides easy access to Search Engine Optimization Tools that can help you with Competitive Analysis, Keyword Research, Backlink Checks, PageRank Checks and other daily SEO tasks."
Now for some useful plugins. Not really needed, but rather helpful at times.
10) Improve Intra-Window Tab Management – Tab Manager
This makes the tabs a bit easier and faster to work with especially if you have many chrome windows open. So, if you really only use one Chrome window at a time, it’s not really for you.
11) Change Google Accounts Quickly In Chrome – Quick Google
If you have multiple Google accounts then you know how annoying it can be to keep switching between them!
You either have to have different browsers open, or keep logging in and out. It sucks. This extensions solves this exact issue. Just set it up and POOF. Click and switch! That easy 🙂
12) Watch Videos In A More Cinematic Way – Turn Off The Lights
This is a simple idea: why keep the whole webpage so bright and distracting when watching videos? For example, Youtube is white themed and very bright. It’s rather annoying to watch, especially if you watch a series or something.
So this extension, when enabled, with isolate the video (hopefully) and darken the rest of the webpage. It’ll just leave the video nice and bright to watch! YEY!
13) MegaUpload Download Helper
If you download a lot from MegaUpload you know it has those pesky timers, time limits and it’s easy to forget to come back to the page to download it after a minute of waiting and stuff.
So this plugin will do the waiting for you. It won’t auto solve the Capthca (however it’s spelled), but it will ‘wait’ and download for you.
14) RapidShare Download Helper
Same as #13 except for Rapidshare
15) Automatically Write Signature In Google Chrome – AutoPen – Email Signatures
This is a recommendation by Rob at MidLifeOp.com so thanks Rob 🙂
What this does is add a nice signature for you anywhere text is. Particularly useful in Gmail and google apps (so the description says). Check it out!
and last but not least:
16) Fastest And Best Proxy Wwitcher In Google Chrome – Proxy Switch!
Suffice it to say, if you use proxies then this is the plugin you want. It’s easy to use and works very fast. It has a very pretty interface and easy to understand.
This is what I have been using and I have never looked back because this plugin has the EASIEST proxy switching feature of any extension. And it was first I think.
Though it’s not perfect, it’s annoying to configure if you have a bunch of proxies and there is not bulk setup feature. Also backuping up the proxy list is not possible … so that really blows.
But other than that it’s my fav.
So that’s it. 17 awesome plugins which will help you in your day to day Chrome life! I’ve missed a few I’m sure and I intentionally skipped a bunch. The ones I skipped I skipped because I think they are rather useless (as features) or the extensions seems to be poor quality.
Things I skipped:
- RSS extensions – because I think for a real RSS reader you should not be using a browser to handle it. Just get a real RSS reader application. Or use the Google reader thingy, I hear it’s actually pretty good (I’ve never used it so I can’t vouch for it)
- Youtube ‘addons’ – Go to site. Watch a video. Done. I don’t see any need for other ‘features’. Except for maybe a double-size button. Other than that, everything else seems like a waste.
- Google app addon apps – never use google apps, so I never tested em.
- Website capture extensions – Useless waste of resources. If you use windows: Use Jing. It’s great. Even as a Linux user I pray to the higher powers that we Linux people will get something as great as Jing (free version). Mac, you’ve got plenty. In Linux, use KSnapshot … it’s the best one out there.
- Facebook/Twitter/Social stuff – … why? just go to the site or use a real social app like TweetDeck or FriendFeed. It’s a browser people not a Jack-in-a-box + addons!
You get my drift 🙂
With that all said, what are you favorite useful addons? Lets me know in the comments, hopefully I can learn something new and then spread the awesome knowledge!