Chrome extensions kit

Polish your Chrome with this suite of Google tools.

Chrome Toolbox sounds like something you'd be afraid to use for fear of dents and scratches, but it's actually a free extension that adds many useful tools to Google's Chrome browser. It can launch apps, Web pages, and shortcuts quickly; save form data; reopen closed tabs; mute all tabs; and add keyboard shortcuts to its quick-launch drop-down menu, among other neat tricks.

While most Chrome extensions have few options, Chrome Toolbox has several, which we could access either by right- or left-clicking the Chrome Toolbox icon or via the browser's extensions management page. The Options page offers four tabs plus one more that links to other extensions. The first tab, Toolbar/Tab, let us configure the floating toolbar feature and tab behavior. We set our options and browsed first to some images and then to YouTube to try the toolbar, which let us view, magnify, or save the image with a click. The magnifier can enlarge a thumbnail or part of an image so you can see what's in it without opening it: very handy. The Form Data feature let us save filled-in forms by URL to prevent data loss due to crashes or cache cleaning. When it's activated, we could right-click the Chrome Toolbox icon and save, fill, and delete form data from the menu and manage it from the tool's options page tab. We could also set a quick-launch option to open all the bookmarks in a specified folder at once, which is useful; more useful still is the ability to add and remove keyboard shortcuts to the extension's drop-down menu. The configuration tab even let us compare Chrome's shortcuts with those of other browsers like IE, Firefox, Maxthon, Opera, and Safari. We could also quickly clear browsing data, toggle show the bookmarks toolbar, refresh all tabs, and perform other small but useful tasks from Chrome Toolbox's menus.

Chrome Toolbox isn't just a Google Chrome extension; it's a Google extension for Chrome, which may explain why it packs so much more into one download than the usual third-party extension, not to mention why its tools all function so well. We like Chrome; we like Chrome Toolbox, too, and plan to keep it.

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