Google Chrome is the most-used Web browser worldwide, according to Stat Counter. With its swift performance, clean interface and easy syncing with mobile devices, that popularity is easy to understand. But Google's browser also benefits from plenty of useful extensions available on the Chrome Web Store. Here are the best ones. Note: Extensions can slow down your browser, so make sure you stick to what you think will be most useful.
Data compression for more efficient browsing isn't exactly something new, as it's being built in to some browsers like Opera. Now Chrome users can also enjoy bandwidth savings with Google's Data Saver extension, a free Chrome add-on that uses Google's servers to compress website data before sending it's displayed, which can lead to large data savings. Users can look up further details as to how much data they're saving and consuming over time. As a security measure, pages accessed through HTTPS or Chrome's incognito mode are left uncompressed.
AdBlocker Ultimate is a free open source ad blocker that makes much of the fact that it's beholden to no corporate sponsors or marketers. As a result, it won't whitelist or let through "acceptable" advertising. The add-on removes advertising such as banner ads, videos and pop ups, while also blocking a variety of online tracking tools. Users do have the option of whitelisting select websites whose ads they want to support.
MORE: Best Ad Blockers
Pablo is a free app designed to help you quickly cobble up artful, social media-friendly captioned images which you can add to social network sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. Designed by the same minds behind the Buffer social media dashboard, Pablo allows for quick highlighting of text snippets and selection of images from local or online sources that you can then customize with fonts, effects, and formatting to match the social media platform of your choice.
Highly is a social sharing and highlighting app for quickly saving text snippets from your favorite articles or writers. You can then quickly share those snippets through social media platforms, or to select contacts such as through email, iMessage or Slack. Users can organize their highlights, follow other users, and also access the service through an iOS app.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Privacy Badger extension was born from concerns about the business models of some privacy tools and ad blockers. Privacy Badger functions similarly to extensions like AdBlock Plus (on which it was based) and Ghostery, observing the various tracking tools that advertisers and other third parties might use to track your online activities and selectively blocking them from executing, with built-in learning algorithms that adapt to the sites you visit as well as any new tracking tools discovered. While not explicitly an ad blocker, Privacy Badger also blocks some advertising, depending on how aggressively the ads track you across websites.
Open Whisper System's Signal Private Messenger has long been a favorite of privacy advocates looking for a secure and encrypted instant messenger style chat app, and now, Signal is available for users on Chrome. The Signal Private Messenger add-on allows you to connect using your existing phone number and address book, with no separate logins, usernames, or PINs. It also allows you to send group, text, and picture messages with the assurance of free, end-to-end encryption.
Abine's Blur service functions as password manager, email anonymizer and credit card masker all rolled up into one convenient package in the Chrome extension. Users can create and store strong passwords, and the service syncs your passwords across desktop and iOS devices for ease of use. Blur also includes tracker blocking for a variety of web trackers. Premium users of the service can also avail of anonymized credit cards to mask their online purchases.