3 More Ways to Improve Firefox


As far as I’m concerned, there’s not just one reason for the continued rise of Firefox as a popular browser in the web worker world: there are thousands. Of course I’m talking about Firefox Add-ons, which let you tweak and customize and extend the browser in many ways. Recently I’ve added three more to my list that I find handy to have installed.

PDF Download is the simplest of the three. Sometimes I want to save PDF files for later, sometimes I want to read them in the browser, and I’ve always been annoyed at having to decide which way I’m going to set things up on any given computer. Thanks to this extension, I don’t have to decide. It intercepts clicks on links to PDF files and gives you a choice: open them in the browser, download them, or (as a bonus) proxy them through an external server where they can be converted to HTML and then displayed in the browser. Even better, the downloaded files open straight in my external viewer now instead of requiring an extra click.

bookmarker is aimed at heavy users of online bookmarking services – I use it with del.icio.us (where the API offers good support), but digg.com, ma.gnolia.com, mister-wong.de, netvouz.com, linkarena.com, alltagz.de, and memori.ru are also on its list. It moves tag cloud searching and new link management into the sidebar, and offers easy menu access to all of your bookmark services.

CustomizeGoogle went straight into the “how did I live without this?” category (though I suspect heavy GreaseMonkey users already have much of the same functionality). This extension lets you tweak Google’s various sites in many ways (and all of the tweaks are optional). You can remove ads and click-tracking, rewrite the image search links to point straight to images (without the annoying frames and context), add links to other search sites, filter sites out of your results forevermore, show favicons, ditch the contacts box from your GMail page…there are literally dozens of options here. The only downside is that now Google looks wrong to me when I use it on someone else’s computer.



Mike – you’re killing me! You’re still using sites like delicious and magnolia? I definitely was hooked on those sites until I actually wanted to start using my bookmarks instead of just accumulating them. That’s when I switched to Google Bookmarks. The ability to have full-text page searching from within my bookmark list was just too good to pass up. The only drawback is that all of my bookmarks are private so I can’t use them in any kind of social context. But I find that I now bookmark like crazy because I know that I have some super powerful searching tools that I can rely on.

Give Google Bookmarks a try. Yes, they’re ugly and the extension support isn’t as nice (you can grab the Google toolbar or a Google bookmarklet). But if you actually want to use your bookmarks in the future, you owe it to yourself to give it a shot.

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