I’m a big fan of Google Chrome and I believe it has as many extensions as Firefox. I also prefer using Chrome instead of IE, Edge, or Firefox because I use Gmail, Google Photos, Google Drive, and a whole host of other Google products.
There are literally hundreds of great extensions that you can install to improve Chrome in a variety of ways. There are special extensions for developers, music lovers, gamers, bloggers, and a host of other categories. However, there are some extensions that are more versatile and can help just about anyone with their day to day tasks.
In this article, I’ll share a few extensions that I think everyone should install. Even if you haven’t heard of some of them, try them before you stop using them. Having a lot of extensions installed can also slow down your browsing experience, so choose what works best for you, but try each extension. You can easily remove or disable the extension in Chrome.
It’s also worth noting that some of the extensions I’ve listed are based on my heavy reliance on Google, so if you’re not a member of the Google ecosystem, just ignore these extensions.
Speed ??dial 2
One of the first things I like to customize in Google Chrome is the new tab page. By default, this is a boring list of recently visited sites, and that’s it. There are tons of fancy extensions out there now that also replace the new tab with information bars, wallpapers, to-do lists, and more, but I’ve found that the simple Speed ??Dial 2 is perfect for my needs.
When I browse the Internet, I just need quick access to my favorite sites. Speed ??Dial 2 does this by allowing you to organize all your pages and applications into groups. You can also customize the theme and heavily customize the layout. Finally, you can create an account and sync everything across all your devices.
If you’re not already using a password manager, try LastPass If you’re using something like KeePass, don’t worry about this extension. If you are using another password manager like 1Pass, be sure to install its extension. Password managers are essential these days, as the number of compromised companies is constantly growing, and the volume of personal information leaks is even greater.
Password Manager allows you to create complex passwords that are different for each site. You obviously can’t remember them, so you need to store them somewhere. The obvious fear for most people is that one of these companies will be hacked and all of your passwords will be leaked. This is possible and that is why many people use local databases like KeePass. That being said, I’ve been using LastPass for years and they’ve had one incident that didn’t result in password cracking.
HTTPS Everywhere is one of those extensions that you should just install and forget about. It basically tries to use HTTPS security on the site if it isn’t already secured. This is from the EFF, a wonderful organization that stands for consumer protection in the digital world.
The only drawback of this extension that I noticed is that it uses a little more memory than all other extensions. It doesn’t really matter to me since my computer has 16GB of RAM, but if you have less RAM it might be something to consider.
Disconnect is another extension that you can install and just leave. It’s a great privacy tool to make sure every website you visit isn’t tracking everything you do online. In addition, since it blocks tracking, it also saves data and reduces website loading times. Many website requests only relate to tracking cookies, tracking scripts, etc.
Adblock is a plus
Even though a site like mine relies on ads to generate income, I still recommend an extension like Adblock Plus because there are so many sites out there with tons of ads. Not only that, many of these ads contain malware, which means you could get infected with malware just by browsing the site! This is ridiculous.
My site only shows ads from high quality networks, and I try to keep the number of ads to a minimum, which allows me to generate income. The only downside to this extension is that some large sites like Forbes.com detect ad blocking extensions and won’t let you through unless you whitelist their site.
I was a little skeptical about this extension at first, but the crazy amount of good reviews finally made me try it. At the end of the day, I have to say that it’s pretty cool. If you are online, then you have made some purchases on the Internet. If you are like me, you probably buy most of the things on the Internet other than groceries.
Honey will automatically try to find coupons and apply them at checkout. I used to go to RetailMeNot and a lot of other sites trying to find a coupon that I could apply before paying, but now I just use Honey and it finds and tries all kinds of codes. At the moment, there are no ads or anything intrusive and hopefully this will not change in the future. He recently saved me $ 255 on a Dell XPS laptop!
Besides browsing the web, watching videos, and shopping online, my other main activity is typing. Typing emails, filling out forms, typing posts on social networking sites, writing articles for my sites, etc. Basically it is a lot of typing and inevitably a lot of mistakes.
Grammarly is a handy extension that checks your spelling and grammar as you type in a whole bunch of different web applications. Most web browsers like Chrome already check spelling, but Grammarly will offer you Word-like suggestions for sentence structure, correct wording, etc.
The origin of uBlock
Most of the hardware firewalls that companies buy for their organizations have web blockers to prevent users from accidentally visiting phishing or malicious sites. They work by looking at huge blacklists of bad domains and URLs.
uBlock Origin is an extension that does just that, but efficiently and saves memory for your personal computer. After installing it, you select the various lists you want to protect yourself from, and that’s it. It sometimes blocks what it shouldn’t do, but it’s very easy to disable it for the current website you are on. Highly recommended from a security point of view.
Turn off the lights
As I mentioned earlier, I watch a lot of videos while working on my computer. Besides YouTube, I also watch other video sites, and Turn Off the Lights makes watching more enjoyable. It basically darkens everything or replaces everything except the video with a nice background. It’s not really an extension to install, but if you’re watching tons of videos on your computer, it’s definitely a good thing to have.
In particular, for YouTube, you can set to automatically play only the high-definition version of the video. This is convenient if you have a 2K or 4K monitor and need to constantly change these settings for each video.
Shoot a bullet
Finally, sometimes you need to take screenshots of what’s in your browser, and this plugin is much better than trying to use the Windows Snipping tool or something. FireShot can capture full scrollable web pages and save them as images or PDF files. You can write all the tabs at once into one PDF file and upload it to OneNote. You can also edit screenshots and annotate them.
So, these are ten extensions that almost anyone can use on a daily basis when using Chrome. I’ve tried to keep them as general as possible so that most of them do their job in the background even if you haven’t noticed. Enjoy!