13 Google Chrome extensions you should know about

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Google Chrome is a great browser made even better by options for customization. What makes Chrome a really personal browser is the huge catalog of extensions that you can add to it, making your web experience even better.

The Chrome Web Store features thousands of apps and extensions for the Chrome browser. There are tons of apps for leisure and for a more productive workday. Here’s a sampling of extensions that you probably haven’t heard of before, but that are likely to become must-haves for you.

Improve security

Online security is a major concern for individual users and corporations. Avast Online Security blocks malicious content and trackers, prevents phishing and notifies users about a site’s reputation. The interface lets you customize your security preferences, in case you need cookies or other services to comfortably browse a given site.

Avast Online Security

Avast Online Security

HTTPS Everywhere layers the Hypertext Transfer Protocol on top of the SSL/TLS protocol, adding the security capabilities of SSL/TLS to standard HTTP communications. Despite the ambiguous explanation, it works quite simply: Click on its icon and add the site you’re currently visiting to a HTTPS list. Voila! Though some sites don’t work with this extension, it’s still great to have an additional defense line between you and hackers.

If you want to go for a security overkill, consider using an alternative security-oriented browser, like WhiteHat Aviator, and add the above extensions. Better safe than sorry.

Make Chrome faster

One of [company]Google[/company] Chrome’s early selling points was the sandboxing — each tab is a separate process, so if one tab crashes you don’t have to restart the whole browser. Unfortunately, the more tabs you have open, the more RAM will be occupied, slowing down your computer. The Great Suspender is a nice solution for users with dozens of tabs open. As the name implies, the extension suspends tabs that you don’t currently need. They can be restored with a click. And yes, this really helps to reduce the occupied RAM.

The Great Suspender

The Great Suspender

Be more productive

A lot of things may distract you from your work. That’s a pain, especially when you have a deadline to meet. The Write Space extension creates a customizable, yet minimalistic environment for your writing. It works offline and saves your progress locally with each keystroke so you don’t have to worry about losing your work. It also has a live word and character count, so you’ll know if you’ve hit your writing goal for the day.

Write Space

Write Space

TLDR (stands for “Too Long; Didn’t Read”) automatically summarizes a web page for you. When you don’t have much time to read, but need to know the essence of a story, this extension can help a lot, even though it doesn’t work with every site.

TLDR

TLDR

Text Mode is another anti-distraction app that removes all pictures from a site, leaving only text, without messing up with its layout. Text Mode helps you concentrate on the power of words, letting in pure information and no visual garbage.

Text Mode

Text Mode

Usually, optical recognition software is a separate program that you have to pay for and install. Project Naptha brings an OCR tool into the browser and lets you copy text from pictures and scanned documents. Users can highlight previously inaccessible text and copy it wherever it is needed. (Like most OCR software, Project Naptha isn’t perfect and you may need to do a little proofreading.)

Naptha Project

Naptha Project

Improve downloads

Chrono Download Manager replaces the standard Chrome download manager, giving you more control over the process while removing the standard Downloads Shelf. With this extension, you can pause, resume or make a queue of your downloads. A batch downloads option lets you download all the files present on a webpage.

Chrono Download Manager

Chrono Download Manager

Another option is Downloadr, which eliminates the need to go to the Downloads page in Chrome. All the necessary control buttons are available from within the pop-up window. In other ways, it’s very similar to Chrono.

Unfortunately, none of the existing add-ons can make your files download faster, so heavy downloaders and users with slow internet connections should consider an overkill method for big downloads. Citrio, an alternative Chromium-based browser, has its own download manager. With files downloading multiple times faster and an ability to download torrents and magnet links without leaving the browser window, Citrio is an interesting solution for media junkies.

Improve interface

The default version of Chrome lacks a “speed dial,” the popular feature of the Opera browser that displays your favorite sites rather than simply those you visit the most frequently. So try Speed Dial 3, a highly customizable speed-dial panel that makes your favorite sites available from the Chrome home page.

Speed Dial 3

Speed Dial 3

MovieTabs takes a different approach. Each time you open a new tab, it will present you with wallpaper from a movie, giving you not just aesthetic pleasure but an idea for what to watch this evening.

Movie Tabs

Movie Tabs

Have fun

You probably wouldn’t want to install the nCage extension, which substitutes all the pictures on a webpage with photos of Nicolas Cage, but adding it to your friend’s browser is good for a laugh.

nCage

nCage

Ever heard of typoglycemia? It’s a phenomenon which demonstrates that readers can understand the meaning of words in a sentence even when the interior letters of each word are scrambled. Word Welter proves that it’s true by reshuffling the letters on the page that you’re currently reading. What for? To prove the unlimited and wonderful abilities of the human mind.

Word Welter

Word Welter

 Victor Clarke is a tech enthusiast, gadgets fan and software explorer. He likes to go beyond conventional ideas and question the facts. He previously wrote about alternative web browsers for Gigaom.

12 Comments

5 STAR VAs

Some great extensions there Victoria.
I shall certainly be using some of these.
Thanks

Bobbie Seacrist

I really love speed dial 2 so I am very much looking forward to speed dial 3! That will teach me to comment when I am seriously tired, lol.

Bobbie

I really love last pass 2 so I am very much looking forward to last pass 3!

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