Google Chrome is one of the big three browsers out there along with Internet Explorer and Firefox. It’s very popular but many people don’t know about the kinds of awesome things you can do with Chrome with just a few clicks. Most people already know about the usual stuff like weather extensions so we won’t cover those. Here are a bunch of awesome Google Chrome extensions you should check out.
1. Google Hangouts
Getting the Google Hangouts extension is literally the only way to get Hangouts on your computer without leaving a browser tab open to Gmail or Google+. Most people who have Android devices have a Google account and, thus, already have a Hangouts account they can use whenever they need it. It’s a great replacement for Facebook Messenger or Skype. All you need is a Google account to get started and the extension is free!
LastPass is what is called a password manager. What that means is that it will keep track of all of your username and passwords for your various sites. Now that we’re in the digital age, we all have more and more online accounts to keep track of. LastPass does all that for you and this extension allows it to work on Google Chrome. It’s secure so others won’t be able to get your password and it’s free to use.
Pocket is a fun service that is kind of like bookmarks. Whenever you run into a site, video, etc that you would like to save for later, you can use this extension to put it in your Pocket to bring up whenever you may need it. There are also apps for Android and iOS so you can save things to your Pocket from anywhere and then access them again from anywhere. It’s incredibly useful for pretty much any web surfer.
PushBullet is a Chrome extension with a lot of practical uses. It syncs your clipboard from your mobile devices to your computer and back again. That means you can copy and paste pretty much anything and anywhere. You can also view any notifications you get on your mobile devices on your computer which is nice because that means you don’t have to pick up your phone all the time to see what the notification is. In its most recent update, it’s also added the ability to return text messages. If you want better mobile-to-computer integration, this is a good place to start.
We’ve all been in a situation where Lazarus could be helpful. You just did a big forum post or ranted on your Facebook page. Maybe you were filling out a job application online. Then you accidentally hit the back button or the internet crapped out on your. All that stuff you just wrote is gone forever, right? If you have Lazarus that’ll never happen to you again. Lazarus saves the stuff you’re typing out on various web forms on the internet so you can recover it quickly if you lose connection. I have been using this for years and it has saved even a couple of blog posts I’ve written for this very site when I accidentally hit “back” instead of switching a tab.
Ever since the Edward Snowden thing people have been more cautious about their internet security. With Ghostery, you can very easily see which trackers each website you go to is using. When sites display ads and all that stuff, many of them have trackers (to let people know you’ve been there). However, some trackers go a little too far and get a little too much information. With Ghostery, you can identify trackers, stop them, and see exactly what is tracking your movements across the web.
7. Hover Zoom
Hover Zoom is a Chrome extension that essentially blows up thumbnails so you can see them more clearly. If you browse on Reddit a lot, this is a must have Chrome extension. However, pretty much any web surfer can get a use out of this. A lot of the internet is shown as thumbnails and you have to clean on the thumbnails to enter the site and see the full size. With this extension, all you have to do is hover your mouse over it and the thumbnail will be shown in full size for you.
8. Evernote Web Clipper
Sometimes you may not want to save an entire web page. You may just want to save a piece of it for later use. If you use Evernote (and you really should be, it’s great), then you can pick up the Evernote Web Clipper. Using this tool, you can select any portion of a webpage, clip it, and store it to your Evernote.
TabCloud is a productivity tool that lets you manage your tabs. This may not seem like a big thing but most people surf many, many websites. Using a tool like this, you can manage your tabs and browse more efficiently. For instance, you can create a tab group called “Social Media” and put your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, etc in it. Then you open that tab group and all those websites will open for you so that you can browse them all. It’s great if you browse a ton at the same websites every day.
Todoist is a Chrome extension that helps you plan out your day. You’ll have to sign up for an account first but it’s pretty simple and you can sign in with Google+ if you use that service. Once you’re all logged in and ready to go, you can put tasks in Todoist that you have to do. It can be anything. You can put that you need to go to the grocery store, your work tasks, your home chores, and everything in between. There are also Android and iOS apps available so you can sync your to-do list across all of your devices.
11. Social Fixer for Facebook
Facebook has been on its “throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks” method for creating new features for a long time. It’s obnoxious and browsing Facebook isn’t as fun as it used to be. Thanks to Social Fixer, that can be fixed. Using this extension you can browse Facebook in a manner that makes sense to you. You can apply themes to Facebook, hide posts you’ve already seen (because they keep popping up days later if anyone so much as sneezes on it), and do all sorts of other things. If you don’t use Facebook often, this probably isn’t for you but the avid Facebook users will love this.
12. Hola Better Internet
This one is a little niche when it comes to use-cases but it can be a lifesaver (figuratively). What it does is allow you to go sites that are typically blocked by a regional firewall. For instance, Netflix isn’t available everywhere in the world. Using Hola Better Internet, you can get around that limitation and watch it anyway. It’s easy to use but it may be a bit frustrating to get it to work right sometimes. Nevertheless, if you’re somewhere and an internet service isn’t available to you, give this a shot.
13. Wolfram Alpha (Official)
Wolfram Alpha is an amazing service that can do a lot of things for you. With this Chrome extension, you’ll have unfettered access to the knowledge base of Wolfram Alpha. Once you install it into Chrome, you just type a = into the address bar and hit tab. Then you’re free to search through Wolfram Alpha, ask it to solve problems for you, or all sorts of other stuff. If you’re in school (any kind of school), you’ll be doing yourself a favor by putting this on your computer.
Momentum is what is known as a “start screen replacement” extension. That means you’re going to see it first thing whenever you open your browser. The stock Chrome start screen isn’t terrible but Momentum is way, way better. You can customize it to your tastes, create to-do lists, and they put a quote up every day to inspire you. The images are large, gorgeous, and Momentum is able to discern what time of day it is. That means when it’s night time, it’ll show you darker, night time images. It’s quite nice and worth a shot.
Last up is a Chrome extension called Honey and it’s like having a little coupon book in your pocket. When you go to sites where you can buy things, Honey will browse the site and see if there are any special offers, deals, or discounts you can take advantage of. Anyone who buys things online should have this installed because you never know what kind of awesome deals you may be missing by not having it!
Google Chrome extensions have really come into their own over the last few years. Thanks to Google promoting their own ChromeOS, we can expect extensions to continue getting a lot better and more useful. With these tools, you can start getting the most out of Chrome!
Featured photo credit: Google Chrome Web Store via chrome.google.com