Google Chrome is my default browser and has been so for more than a year. I use Firefox also because it has some great add-ons that still can’t be beat. However, a lot of plugins that used to only work on Firefox also now work with Chrome, which is great.
In this post, I’m going to mention 10 plugins that I find to significantly enhance my browsing experience when using Chrome. I’m sure you have you have your own favorites, so let us know what they are in the comments.
HTTPS Everywhere is an awesome extension that will encrypt your web connection to thousands of web sites while you browse. It’s absolutely essential if you regularly browse the web from non-secure locations like hotels, airports, Wi-Fi hotspots, etc. It’s also fine to use all the time as it helps prevent identity theft by protecting your online privacy. Since it uses HTTPS to connect to sites, you might run into some problems where some sites break and don’t load properly. If you run into that problem a lot, then you can just enable the plugin when you are traveling or using an insecure network connection.
Privacyfix is a great plugin for those who want to know who’s tracking them online and what they can do to prevent it. It’ll give you reports for Facebook, Google and other websites you visit and tell you what’s being tracked and what’s not. What’s cool is that it even shows you how much money they make off of you with your current settings. Definitely a highly recommended extension that helps you understand privacy on the web a little better.
Drag and Drop Search
Drag and Drop Search enhances an already nice feature of Google Chrome. By default, if you select some text in Chrome and then right-click, you’ll see an option to perform a search on that text. This extension extends that by allowing you to drop the text into search zones, each of which can be customized by you. For example, you can have a zone for Wikipedia, YouTube, Facebook, etc that will perform the search on that site. The plugin also has a feature whereby you can drag and drop links into a zone that is linked to bit.ly, so you can easily shorten links by just dragging and dropping.
SwiftPreview is a cool plugin that I love when it works. It’s been a little flaky on some sites, but overall I would still recommend it. The developers seem to update it fairly often so whatever issues it has will hopefully be resolved. Basically, it lets you preview links on many sites like Reddit, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, etc. This is really useful since a lot of times I just want to see a picture and move on. Saves me time at the end of the day.
Speed Dial 2
Speed Dial 2 is one of the best extensions for replacing the new tab page in Google Chrome. It’s got all kinds of customization options and works like a champ. You can also sync it across all your instances of Chrome for a small one-time fee. The only current downside I see is that it gets rid of the Other Devices option that was on the original new tag page. However, I’m sure they’ll be adding that in since a lot of people have complained about it. Still a great plugin.
KeyRocket for Gmail
KeyRocket for Gmail is one of those plugins I didn’t even know I needed until I installed it! I love keyboard shortcuts, but for whatever reason, I can’t remember them for a lot of sites like Gmail. Maybe it’s time or not visiting the page often enough. Either way, it would still be nice to use them when I am on that page. KeyRocket for Gmail is an awesome extension that will recommend keyboard shortcuts to you while you do stuff in Gmail. So let’s say you type an email and then click Send. KeyRocket will notify you that you could have pressed a keyboard shortcut instead to send them email. Sweet! Great way to learn shortcuts for Gmail. Wish they had an extension for other sites too.
Unbaby.me is a pretty interesting plugin for those who hate looking at pictures of their friends babies on Facebook. It basically replaces baby pictures that have certain keywords associated with them with pictures of cats or other interesting stuff. You can even choose your own picture RSS feed if you want. The extension also lets you add your own keywords so if you want to block pictures of food people keep posting, you can do that too! The plugin is complicated, so it doesn’t always work. Worked fine for me, but your mileage may vary. If it works, it’s pretty darn cool.
Similar to SwiftPreview, Hover Zoom is awesome for pictures. It will let you hover your mouse over an image and see the enlarged full-size picture without having to click on it. Again, works with all the major sites like Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, Flickr, etc. One doesn’t really think they need a plugin like this until they install it and realize how much time they waste clicking on thumbnails! Highly recommended!
I’m not a huge advocate of blocking ads and I don’t myself because my living depends on people seeing the ads on my site. However, since I’m listing “awesome” plugins and this is a post for the readers, not mentioning AdBlock Plus would not be fair. It’s one of the most popular extensions for Chrome and once you use it, you’ll see why. Ads are instantly gone and it does a pretty amazing job. Great for sites with tons of ads, but remember lots of people depend on ads for their living!
It’s sad, but there are a lot of words I don’t know when I read articles from New York Times or Wall Street Journal. Google Dictionary is a great extension that lets me quickly look up a word and hear how it is pronounced. Also it works with quite a few different languages, so if you read Spanish, Russian, French, German, etc websites, you’ll really love this plugin.
Let me know what you think of the list! I know there are many more extensions out there, but I’ve never really seen anyone using more than 5 to 10 extensions at any one time. Enjoy!