Google launched its Chrome browser in 2008. At the time it was fast, secure, stable and a minimalistic alternative to Microsoft’s beleaguered Internet Explorer and Mozilla’s bloated Firefox. However, Chrome was also criticised for lacking any extensions or customisation options. So, slowly Google rolled out extensions, theme support, and even Web Apps. Although we have covered extensions in the past, in this article I will focus primarily on those that help make your browsing experience smoother.
1. AdBlock Plus
AdBlock Plus was for the longest time one of the most installed extensions for Mozilla Firefox. When Google finally started allowing extensions for Chrome, many users cried out for AdBlock Plus to port an extension over to Chrome.
The extension is fairly simple to use: install it, pick a “filter list“, add any whitelisted domains and you are good to go.
Ads are blocked on every website that is not listed in your whitelist and it even blocks ads within YouTube videos.
I will leave it to your judgment to decide whether it is appropriate to use ad blockers on the web.
Most websites and blogs have a Twitter “Tweet” button or a Facebook “Like” button, however what happens if you want to post the contents of that site to a Tumblr blog or Reddit it? If you find yourself in a situation like this, I would recommend installing the Shareaholic extension.
This extension places an icon on your Chrome toolbar that lists your chosen social media and other links allowing you to share, email, print and save the blog post or article that you are reading.
You can login to your own Shareaholic account and tweak the services that are visible on your Chrome browser.
3. Mega Buttons
A large majority of Chrome’s features are buried within the about:plugins, about:flags, about:extensions and other pages. The Mega Button extension places a large green button on your Chrome toolbar that allows easy access to all these and more features.
While the extension is useful, unless you know what each icon refers to, it can be a little difficult to find the right link.
The links (in order) refer to the following features:
4. Clickable Links (Update: no longer exist)
This extension simply converts “unclickable” URLs and Email addresses into clickable ones.
Websites and blogs will often post links such as:
In some cases, they decide not to turn the link into a hyperlink. This extension automatically generates a hyperlink out of the unclickable links. Simply install it and restart your browser for it to work.
This is another extension that is very simple but immensely useful.
Some sites have Email addresses to contact the sites owner, usually these are in the format:
If you click on the Email address it automatically opens a compose window within your default Email client. Unfortunately, most computers have their default Email client set to their desktop client, such as Outlook. After installing this extension, when you click on an Email link, it will automatically open your default email account.
Bonus: Greasemonkey Scripts
On Firefox, Greasemonkey is an extension that allows users to install scripts that make on-the-fly changes to the HTML content of a web page immediately after it has loaded. Unfortunately, Greasemonkey is a Firefox only extension, however most of the scripts that work with Greasemonkey on Firefox also work on Chrome. Furthermore, there is no need to install the Greasemonkey extension. All you have to do, is head over to http://userscripts.org/ and click “Install” on any script you wish to install in Chrome. Some of the scripts will not work correctly, but most do.
Image credit: shauser