Check Out These Top Chrome Extensions
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 — especially as Google adds new features such as a Forced Dark Mode that can convert any website.
But Google's browser also benefits from plenty of useful extensions available on the Chrome Web Store. We've picked the best ones. Just be aware that extensions can slow down your browser, so make sure you stick to what you think will be most useful. Some extensions can be ethically dubious or even malicious, but Chrome announced new restrictions on extension developers that should help mitigate that problem.
CrxMouse Gestures adds useful mouse gesture macros to help with web navigation, with mouse shortcuts for opening and closing new tabs, navigating backwards or forwards in your tab history, and copying links or text. It's a handy addition to Chrome, speeding up many small and common navigation tasks.
FlowCrypt bolts on PGP encryption to the Gmail experience, adding a Secure Compose button that lets you send encrypted email and attachments from the Gmail web app. Users can save encrypted drafts, generate a new Public Key for encrypting or decrypting messages, and even create password-encrypted emails for users who do not have FlowCrypt installed.
Print Friendly & PDF
Print Friendly & PDF is a Chrome extension designed to automatically remove ads, navigation buttons and other web junk whenever you print a web page or article, saving you paper and ink. Users can selectively remove images, reduce or increase text size, and options to email or save the printout into a linked PDF, complete with URLs for the original content.
Google Arts & Culture
Google Arts & Culture turns your New Tab page into your own art gallery, delivering masterpieces of world art right to your browser. Each day brings a new piece of art every time you open your browser, or you can set the extension to deliver a new painting every time you open a new tab. If something sparks your interest, you can click on the image to find out more about an individual piece or artist.
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
Avast Online Security
Computer security firm Avast offers a handy add-on for online security that combines content-blocking and site reputation while helping protect your machine when you browse. Avast Online Security automatically blocks known phishing and malware-ridden sites, as well as many common tracking technologies and cookies. The add-on also includes a web reputation plug-in that provides a quick overview of a site’s security rating when you mouse over a link, including reviews by other users, and known tracking technologies used. If you have the Avast Secure Browser installed, the add-on will automatically open it when you open sensitive sites like online banking portals.
Checker Plus for Gmail
Checker Plus for Gmail keeps your Gmail messages within easy reach, with your inbox and newly received messages just a click away next to the omnibar. You can view your messages without having to leave your current page to launch a Gmail tab, and you can mark a message as read, delete it, or send it to the archive. You're also able to launch Gmail to take more detailed actions. The add-on can be set to display desktop notifications even when a Chrome window isn't open, and can be set to monitor multiple Gmail accounts.
The Great Suspender
Chrome can be a memory hog, and keeping a lot of tabs open can quickly drain your PC's memory. The Great Suspender comes to the rescue by monitoring your open tabs and automatically (or manually) unloading tabs that haven't been used in a while from memory, while retaining the tab's title and favicon on your tab bar. Users can then quickly reload the tab by clicking on the screen, delivering the best of both worlds: lightening your machine’s memory load while keeping a tab within easy access.
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.
Turn Off The Lights
Screencastify works as a browser-based tool for screencasting your browser window or tab, allowing you to easily create recordings (complete with microphone narration, browser audio, and even a webcam view). Annotation tools let you spotlight your mouse cursor, as well as draw with a pen or highlight mouse clicks. Once you’re done with your recording, it then autosaves to your Google Drive account with a shareable link, or you can upload your video straight to Youtube. The free tier limits videos to 10 minutes each with a 50-video limit per month and a watermark; a $29 annual subscription allows for unlimited video length, video editing, and expanded export options.
Wikiwand transforms Wikipedia's bland, serviceable interface into something with more visual punch. The extensions combines clean, readable text columns with an integrated side menu offering the table of contents, an improved media gallery, and other useful quality of life features that make reading through the world's largest crowd-sourced encyclopedia a bit less of a chore.
Rather than focus on feature-packed and granular tab management, Session Buddy is all about simple management of your open tabs, quickly relaunching previous saved sessions or restoring your open tabs after a crash. In addition to the chronologically sorted session display, users can also rename previous sessions and sort tabs into convenient groupings for easy topical relaunching. Search features let you find what you're looking for in open or saved tabs, and export features let you spit out links in email, document or post-friendly formats.
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.
Signal Private Messenger
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.
MailTag provides a series of free, helpful modifications to the stock Gmail web experience, including email tracking to find out when a recipient has opened your message (complete with real-time desktop alerts), and email scheduling so that you can send your messages at the appropriate hours (perfect for multi-timezone communications). MailTag is ad-supported, and comes with a watermark. A premium tier removes ads and watermarks, while also providing expanded "ping sequences" that allow you to automate the email follow-up process.
Rather than optimize your browser, HabitLab challenges you to optimize your online browsing habits. An open source project by Stanford HCI, HabitLab deploys a series of interface interventions in your browsing to try to help reduce time wasted on Facebook, Youtube and other potential productivity sinks. The extension might show a prompt before playing a long video, hide your newsfeed, or display a card showing the time spent on a particular time or service. Users can set daily goals for maximum time spent on a site before interventions begin, as well as monitor the time spent and saved.
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.
The Better History extension augments the built-in functionality of Chrome's History tab, augmenting the traditional vertical timeline with a horizontal calendar for easy jumping to specific dates and even hours. Expanded search tools allow you to search through your history for terms in a page title, domain or within the page itself.
OneNote Web Clipper
Microsoft's OneNote is a great workplace productivity tool, especially when combined with the rest of the Office package. The OneNote Web Clipper extension for Chrome lets users quickly clip all or part of a web page for easy reference and editing in OneNote, synced across your devices. The web clipper is a feature-packed tool that can trim away ads and clutter, adjust fonts, highlight text, or grab select images or videos that you can then refer back to in the OneNote app.
Readability may be gone, but that doesn't mean that you can't get clean and easily readable versions of your favorite webpages, articles, and news anymore. Mercury Reader strips out surrounding webpage clutter, formatting, and advertising, for a clean, easily readable view for your comfort, while also including social sharing features and Send to Kindle functionality.
Link shorteners are an online convenience, making it simpler to deal with clunky URLs. They're also a bit of a security risk, as a shortened link can take you who knows where. Unshorten.link is a Chrome extension that takes you to an in-between page when you click on a shortened link, displaying the URL where the link shortener is redirecting you to, as well as warning you of any known associated malware and tracking cookies.
Any.do is one of our favorite cross-platform to-do list apps, and the Chrome add-on lets you seamlessly sync your tasks and checklists to and from your mobile devices and your desktop. Users can create new lists and reminders, easily organize with a drag-and-drop interface, add notes, share tasks and more, all from your browser and synced across all your devices.
OneTab quickly compresses all of your open tabs into a single tab page with links to all of the Web pages you had open, allowing you to flush all of the tabs from your browser, while still allowing you to go back to them for easy reference right after. Users can then restore tabs one at a time or all at once. Users can also easily export their tabs into a list of URLs or a web page for easy sharing.
The original HoverZoom extension was a useful add-on that automatically zoomed in on pictures when you moused over them, but it was eventually removed from the Chrome store due to privacy concerns. Hover Zoom+ offers much the same functionality, only without the concerns about spyware. The new add-on can zoom in on pictures and videos, and users can set display delays, hotkeys, and site whitelists if there are sites that you don’t want to use Hover Zoom+ on.
Cite This For Me: Web Citer
Properly attributing online articles and research can be a pain for students and writers. Cite This For Me comes to the rescue with a browser extension that allows you to quickly create a properly formatted website citation for the APA, Chicago, MLA, and Harvard citation styles, which you can easily save or copy to the clipboard for use in your documents.
Stylish lets you customize the appearance of various websites and web apps using CSS, allowing you to apply custom themes, change the color scheme of a site to make it easier on the eyes, or even just tweak fonts and animations. Featuring a broad community of users with themes for everything from Facebook to Gmail, Reddit, and more, Stylish lets you quickly apply community-created themes to your favorite sites, or even create and contribute your own for other users to apply.
Colorblind - Dalton for Chrome
Up to 1 in 10 people can have some form of color blindness, which can make it difficult to perceive certain colors in pictures, or a website’s user interface. The Colorblind - Dalton for Chrome attachment can provide tests for the most common forms of color blindness, and can dynamically adjust your browser’s color settings to help visualize colors in photos or websites that might be hard to see for the user, making for a marked improvement in user accessibility.
Online shoppers might want to check out The Camelizer, an unobtrusive Chrome add-on that adds product price history information for items displayed in Amazon, Best Buy and Newegg. In addition to viewing pricing trends for any given item, users can also sign up for price drop alerts via email or Twitter.
Tired of tracking down and saving coupon codes and discounts? Then Honey might just be the Chrome extension for you. Honey automatically finds and tests coupon codes for more than 100 online stores in the US, Canada and the UK. Simply go about your shopping as normal, and on checkout, hit the Find Savings button in order to have Honey track down and attempt to apply coupon codes. Heavy online shoppers will save both time and money with this useful addon.
AdBlock Plus (ABP) is among the most popular adblockers online. ABP features a quick setup, loading preset filter lists that allow users to quickly block most ads, as well as the option to filter malware and social media buttons. Savvy users can chose additional block lists, as well as set custom filters or whitelists. AdBlock Plus allows what it calls "non-intrusive advertising" through filters, which may irk some users, though this can be disabled in settings. Be aware that many ad blockers don't block all ads, and that most websites — including this one — depend on those ads to pay the bills.
While Google Translate is already an excellent Web service for translating snippets of text to and from languages, the addition of a Chrome extension allows you to translate entire pages with a toolbar button. The extension automatically detects whether the site you're on uses a different language from your Chrome default, and can offer to translate it automatically. Users can also easily translate snippets of text, as well as listen to the proper pronunciation of translated words and phrases.
Instant Dictionary lets you quickly look up the definitions of words or phrases, either by double-clicking a word or clicking on the extension button next to your omnibar, eliminating the need to type in a search on a separate tab. If the extension can’t supply a definition, it offers a Google search as a quick second option.
Ghostery is a free browser privacy extension that allows users to quickly and easily detect and block Web trackers designed to tag your movements across the Internet. In addition, Ghostery allows you to look up more information about companies and websites using these tracking methods. The extension also provides links to their privacy policies and opt-out options.
LastPass is an online password manager and Form Filler designed to reduce the headache of managing multiple user accounts and passwords, making your browsing experience easier and more secure. LastPass also includes the ability to import and export passwords from major password storage services such as RoboForm, 1Password and KeePass, as well as Chrome, Firefox and IE's built-in password managers. Best of all, cross-platform and device syncing is now available for free to all users, making LastPass a great deal even on the free tier.
Web of Trust
Web of Trust is a crowd-sourced browser add-on that rates websites with a color-coded symbol based on a site's trustworthiness, vendor reliability, privacy and child safety. While any reliable Internet security and antivirus suite can protect you against malware, Web of Trust gives you an extra layer of defense by allowing you to gauge a link's reliability based on the experience of other users worldwide.
Click&Clean is a handy utility that allows you to preserve your surfing privacy by scrubbing away traces of your online traffic in your local system. This includes the ability to scrub your browsing history and cookies, as well as dump your temp file cache. While most of these activities can already be done within Chrome's settings and preferences, Click&Clean puts all of these features in one place, helping you keep hard drive bloat to a minimum while reducing malware risk. This extension is great for the privacy conscious or those sharing a machine.
Awesome Screenshot: Capture & Annotate
A must-have for any power surfer, Awesome Screenshot provides the tools that make capturing and annotating portions of Web pages dead easy. Captured screenshots can be saved right to the user's computer or uploaded to awesomescreenshot.com for easy sharing. Record entire Web pages with ease and save images even over the old 2MB limit.
HTTPS Everywhere is a Firefox and Chrome extension produced as part of a collaboration between the Tor Project and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. HTTPS Everywhere helps encrypt your online browsing and communications by rewriting HTTP link requests to HTTPS when within a whitelist of sites that support HTTPS.