Browser Extensions We’d Like to See

Internet access is perhaps the most popular element of using a computer. While they’re undoubtedly very useful for creating presentations, editing documents and more, the Internet is such a vast and valuable resource that its use has skyrocketed over the past decade.

Browsers are essential for access to the Web, and we have previously covered useful extensions and tweaks to make your browsing experience more efficient and enjoyable. There are thousands of browser extensions, and it is quite possible you have had ideas for more. We certainly have.

The manner in which people share links to their online profiles is different to any conventional website link. The use of full links is rare, and sites like Twitter are often represented with the more straightforward “@username” instead. Sites like Instagram are often abbreviated to “IG” or “Insta.”

We'd like to see an 'Open In' browser extension.

Being able to highlight these links, right-clicking and choosing an “open in Instagram” or “open in Twitter” option would save time and clicks, potentially rendering other ideas like Firefox keywords redundant. An extension like this would also work for either browser while the keyword system does not.

Twitter profile link in address bar.

We'd like to see a ‘Greater Context’ browser extension.

Few web browsers lack a context menu when an element is right clicked. Certainly all of the most popular contenders incorporate this feature as standard in order to hide convenient functions in a position that is readily available.

The idea of a “greater context” extension would expand upon the present menus’ utility, potentially interlinking with the “Open In” concept as well.

Make Tech Easier website.

After highlighting something, rather than having to right click and open the list of available options, a combination of keystrokes could be used. For instance, pressing “Tab + 1” over highlighted text in Firefox would copy the text, given that “Copy” is the first function in its context menu.

Firefox console.

Some experimentation would be needed with regards to specific keystrokes, given that Tab is not in an easy position and Ctrl is already very heavily utilised in most browsers. In situations where the option expands to include others, it could work in a manner such as “Tab + 2 + 2” or allow users to customise things to their liking.

In the example above the combination of “Tab + Q” – already beside each other on many keyboards – is suggested as a possibility for opening the browser’s inspector.

While Firefox and Opera both already have a tab grouping system, more could be done with the idea. Opera’s functionality is more simple: move one tab on top of another, and it will turn them into a group that can be worked with.

Firefox menu.

Firefox, on the other hand, has ‘Tab Groups’ (often known as “Panorama”). The idea behind this oft-forgotten feature was to allow you to split your browsing across a few groups. You could have a group for research, a group for social media, and so on.

Firefox has 'Tab Groups' (oftentimes known as 'Panorama').

Neither really strikes the perfect balance. Firefox has the upper hand for organisation as groups have a more distinct presence with the ability to assign names and adjust their size to emphasize their importance.

Unfortunately, the result is that tabs are isolated. In the above example there are two groups: one containing numerous Reddit links and one with only Make Tech Easier. After clicking the group headed “Social Media,” this is how the tab bar appears.

After clicking a tab group, this is how the Firefox tab bar appears.

No reference is made to the Make Tech Easier group, and it is possible to forget it even exists. While you could open the site in the same group, it negates the benefit of a system of groups.

Ideally, the grouping system could be revamped with Opera’s drag-and-drop system and Firefox’s more substantial organisation to allow the “saving” of groups. These saved groups could then be opened at launch.

StayFocused extension for Chrome.

While similar functionality exists with multiple home pages, they do not have the same context. Sometimes you just don’t want your usual sites to launch. In these instances you could have a pared back group useful for research. Groups could even be restricted to blacklist domains from being opened like some popular browser extensions do.

What are the extensions that you want to see most for your favorite browser?