The Chrome browser is already a handy doorway to Google's cloud-based services, from Google Drive and Photos to the Docs editors. But through Chrome extensions you can customize the popular browsermore
The Chrome browser is already a handy doorway to Google's cloud-based services, from Google Drive and Photos to the Docs editors. But through Chrome extensions you can customize the popular browser by adding tools and notifications to make your browsing life easier and more productive.
With tens and tens of thousands of extensions to choose from, you can find extensions that do anything from watching for shopping deals to putting cats on new browser tabs.
Chrome extensions are small pieces of software that extend what Google's browser can do. An extension often adds an icon to Chrome's toolbar, in the area to the right of the address bar. Extensions can show you everything from the number of unread Gmail messages to which trackers a webpage is using. Extensions can monitor prices on retail sites, watch your grammar, send web content to your Kindle, help capture screenshots, and manage passwords.
You can search for and install extensions through Google's Chrome Web Store. The store organizes extensions into 12 categories, including photos and productivity. Find the extension you want, and then click the "Add to Chrome" button to add the extension to your browser. The store also offers browser themes and apps, including games.
Once you've added an extension, you'll see its icon displayed to the right of your address bar. Rearrange extension icons by clicking and holding on one and then dragging it to a new location. You can also hide an extension by right-clicking its icon and selecting "Hide in Chrome Menu." You can view hidden extensions by clicking the three vertical dots at the far end of the row of extensions. You can also remove an extension by selecting that option when you right-click an icon.
And finally, when you click an icon, you can choose Manage Extensions to see a complete list of the extensions you've installed. You can also see all your extensions by clicking the three vertical dots over to the right of the icons and selecting "More Tools and Extensions."
Shopping extensions help you track deals and hopefully save you some cash.
The Camelizer extension hooks into the cryptically named camelcamelcamel.com website to let you track prices, see price-history charts, and receive price-drop alerts for products sold on Amazon.
Save a bit of cash with Ebates, which offers coupons and cashback from over 2,000 online retailers.
If you are wondering whether you are getting the best deals on Amazon, check out Wikibuy, which looks for lower prices at other retailers as you shop on Amazon and then displays deals it finds.
Accessibility extensions can convert text to speech, for example, or enlarge text.
If you prefer to use gestures to move around Chrome, then check out Gestures, which lets you use your mouse to navigate webpages, open new pages, and move between tabs with Gestures.
Communication extensions can keep an eye on email and messages.
Google Mail Checker displays how many unread Gmail messages you have. Click the icon to go to Gmail. Simple.
Productivity extensions range from grammar checkers to password managers.
If you want to save a webpage to read later, click the Pocket icon to save the page to Pocket for later viewing on any of your devices.
With the free version of LastPass, you can generate, save, and fill in passwords in Chrome. A $12 annual subscription lets you share passwords with family and friends and unlock applications.
The 1Password extension handles your passwords and log-in information, giving you access to secured accounts and services with one master password.
Open a new tab, and Momentum keeps you focused on the task at hand with an inspirational quote, your to-do list, and the current time.
Grammarly keeps an eye on your writing, making grammatical and spelling suggestions as you type. It's like having your freshman composition teacher with you, always.
If your Chrome tabs breed like rabbits in captivity, The Great Suspender can suspend them, reducing the stress on memory caused by open tabs. You can suspend tabs after a set period of time or manually take them offline. Reactive a tab by clicking the page.
Speed Dial 2 makes new tabs more useful by letting you add items to an empty tab, including favorite pages and apps, bookmarks, browsing statistics, and more.
OneTab takes a different approach to conserving tab-filled memory by letting you place unwanted tabs in a pop-down list. Once the tabs are there, you can reorder them or click one to view it as a tab again.
Photos extensions let you view and even edit images.
This extension does one thing pleasingly well: Each time you open a new tab, the extension displays an interesting Satellite image from Google Earth. In the bottom-right corner, you can check out where in the world the photo is from.