As of August 2020, Google Chrome held 65.99% of the global web browser market. Lauded for its speed, security, and power, it’s a solid favorite across demographics. Less tech-savvy users find Chrome easy to operate, which makes sense given that Google put user experience at the forefront of their design from the very beginning. But the browser is equally popular with developers because it displays web pages more accurately than other browsers, truly reflecting what the developers had envisioned.
One way you can make your Chrome experience even better is by installing browser extensions—small bits of software that work in your browser to add features or allow you to customize your internet experience. Adding extensions is as easy as going to the Chrome Web Store, searching for the extension by name, and clicking “Add to Chrome.” And don’t let the word “store” mislead you; many of these extensions are free.
If you’re interested in getting started with Chrome browser extensions, here are a few of our favorites. We’ve selected extensions that have a high number of ratings in the Chrome Web Store and positive reviews from industry leaders like CNET, PC Mag, and Tech Radar.
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The Best Chrome Extensions For Security
We don’t have to tell you that online security is essential. These Chrome extensions are designed to help you stay safe and protect your privacy. Surf the web confidently knowing you’re protected by the best safeguards out there.
- LastPass: Remembering passwords is a thing of the past! Just signup with LastPass, install the extension, and it will remember all your passwords for you. It will even suggest long, complicated passwords for you so that you don’t resort to something unsecure like “1234” or “password.” Get it here.
- Privacy Badger: This handy extension protects your privacy by blocking sites that track you. When you land on a site with trackers, Privacy Badger will send a request that the site not track you. If the site attempts to track you anyway, the extension will block the site. You can whitelist sites using the simple interface. Get it here.
- Unshorten.link: Many websites use shortened links to make URLs look cleaner or take up less space. The problem is, shortened links are often seemingly random strings of letters and numbers and could be used to deliver malware or take you places you weren’t expecting. But with Unshorten.link, you can hover over shortened links to reveal the full URL and true destination before you click. Get it here.
- adBlock and uBlock Origin: We’ve talked about these extensions before, but they’re worth mentioning again. These extensions block annoying ads, tracking cookies, and potentially dangerous pop-ups that can deliver malware to your browser. Enjoy sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch with faster load times, and without giving up your privacy. Get adBlock here and uBlock Origin here.
- HTTPS Everywhere: We’ve actually discussed this extension in two previous posts, one about safe online shopping and another about securing your web browser. But because it’s important, we’re happy to talk about it again. You’ve probably noticed that URLs start with the letters “https.” The “s” stands for “secure.” However, not all websites are secure, and that’s where this extension comes in. HTTPS Everywhere will create a more secure connection for you if you land on an unsecured site, making your data exchange with the site much safer. Get it here.
Handy Productivity Extensions To Help You Get It All Done
From managing your time to organizing your to-do list, these extensions are all about saving you time and helping you get it all done. All of these extensions are highly recommended by productivity experts!
- The Great Suspender: If you work with a lot of open tabs at once, you might notice Chrome slowing down a bit. The Great Suspender keeps your browser moving fast by suspending tabs you haven’t used as frequently (but keeping them open). When you need that tab again, simply refresh and you’re ready to use that tab again. You can whitelist sites you don’t want suspended and adjust how long a tab is left unused before it is suspended. Get it here.
- Pablo: Pablo is a great Chrome extension for you if you work with images a lot. Upload or create images and adjust their size and format to fit sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. You can add text, and you can even snag open source images from the web to work with. Get it here.
- HabitLab: If you find yourself wasting way too much time online, then you might find this extension useful. Just enter your goals for how you want to spend your time and HabitLab will help you reach those goals through reminders. For instance, if you’re on Facebook too long, it may send a prompt to leave the site or hide your feed. It works for other popular sites, too, like Youtube, Buzzfeed, and Reddit. Get it here.
- Todoist: You might have heard of this extension if you use productivity apps. Todoist is a simple but sophisticated to-do list that can help you get everything done. Use it to list your tasks for the day and arrange them in a way that makes sense to you. You can save links or other content from the web to your task list, and you can create recurring tasks, too. It even integrates with other popular programs like Evernote, Slack, and cloud storage like Google Drive and Dropbox. Get it here.
- Evernote Web Clipper: If we turned you into an Evernote fan with our previous post, then you definitely need to check out the Evernote Web Clipper. This handy Chrome extension lets you save things directly from the web to Evernote. You can highlight or clip parts of a page, save a whole page, save information from Gmail, and tag everything as you go. Get it here.
- OneNote Web Clipper: Maybe you prefer OneNote over Evernote, in which case you’re in luck because your favorite note-taking software also includes a top-notch web clipper. Use the OneNote Web Clipper to save images, videos, articles, and PDFs. You can add notes to anything you save, adjust the look of the item you’re saving, and sync it across all of your devices. Get it here.
Chrome Extensions For Making Web Browsing More Customized And Convenient
Whether you go into an office, work from home, or camp out at a favorite coffee shop, you set up your workspace just the way you like it. Why should your browser be any different? Use these Chrome extensions to customize your browser the way YOU want.
- Print Friendly & PDF: Do you ever wish you could print a web page without ads, navigation links, and other distracting stuff? That’s exactly what Print Friendly & PDF allows you to do. Just click the extension icon in your browse and choose what to cut and what to leave. You can also remove images and change the font size before saving it as a PDF or sharing it. If that isn’t awesome enough, the links in your PDF will be clickable and your document will include the original URL. Get it here.
- Minimalist Notepad: Sometimes you just need to jot something down, but taking time to open extra programs or tabs can be a pain. Minimalist Notepad is exactly what it sounds like—a notepad app that hangs out in your browser. It includes simple formatting like font (size, color, and style), text alignment, and code-block. It also supports images and videos. Get it here.
- CrxMouse Gestures: For people who like using gestures to control their phone, here’s an extension that lets you do the same with your mouse! It includes gestures for actions like opening and closing tabs, copying links or text, refreshing pages, and moving forward or backward in your history. Speed up your navigation and enjoy your boosted productivity. Get it here.
- Vimium: Some people prefer the mouse, and others prefer the keyboard. For the latter bunch there’s Vimium, a Chrome extension that enables you to navigate your browser with a series of keyboard shortcuts. You can move between tabs, select links, scroll, and open new tabs. If this sounds confusing, don’t despair; tapping ? brings up a help window with all of Vimium’s keyboard commands. Get it here.
- Grid View For Google Meet: If you use Google Meet for virtual meetings, then you understand the struggle to see everyone on your screen at once. But this handy extension makes it simple by adding a button that enables grid view for Google Meet. Clicking that button will force Google Meet to present all members in your call in windows of the same size. This is especially great if you’re chatting with friends and family. Get it here.
- Pocket: We wrote about Pocket back in February, when we praised it as a great app for people who read a lot on the go. If you’re a heavy Pocket user, you likely already know that there is a handy browser extension that allows you to save a web page directly to your Pocket account without having to visit the Pocket website. Just like pages you save to the Pocket website, pages you save through the Chrome extension will sync across all your devices. Get a Pocket account here and the browser extension here.
Money-saving Browser Extensions For Online Shopping
Shopping online can save you a bundle, which might be why 53% of consumers research products online before making a purchase. However, not every online seller is trustworthy. With these Chrome extensions, you can avoid the scammers and know you’re finding the best deals on your purchases.
- Fakespot: Selling products online can be a competitive business, which is why some online retailers actually pay people to post fake online reviews for their products. These fake reviews can drown out real reviews warning you about faulty items or misleading deals. But the Fakespot extension alerts you to this by grading sellers for their reliability. It can also alert you if reviews for an item are mostly fake. Use the extension on major ecommerce sites like Amazon, eBay, Walmart, and more to avoid scams. Get it here.
- Honey: Clipping coupons is a great way to save money, but it can also be a hassle. Honey simplifies this by automatically hunting for and applying coupon codes for you as you shop. You can also use the extension to track the price of an item over time, which can help you know when you’ll get the absolute lowest sale price. (This will also let you know whether an item is really on sale or not.) Get it here.
- Pricescout: Similar to Honey, Pricescout scours the web to find the lowest prices and best coupons for items and services you’re shopping for. It automatically applies discounts for you, and it can help you find product reviews or videos if you want more information before you commit to a purchase. Get it here.
- The Camelizer: Sometimes online retailers will claim to be offering a sale price when really it is the usual (or a higher!) retail price. But with The Camelizer, you can’t be deceived. Use this extension to show the pricing of an item over time, or set it up to monitor the price for you. If you do your Christmas shopping early, this extension can help you save quite a bit by helping you shop in the off-season when prices are lowest. Get it here.
Chrome Extensions To Help You Stay In Touch
Our relationships with family and friends are important, but it can be tough to be together as much as we’d like. These extensions are about finding creative, convenient ways to connect more often.
- Pushbullet: Replying to texts and social media messages is easy with Pushbullet. Simply install the plugin, sync your accounts, and receive notifications at the top of your browser. Click the extension and you can reply without having to navigate away from your work or grab your phone. You can also share links or files between your computer and other devices or with friends. Messages you send are protected with end-to-end encryption, and you can receive messages from apps like Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, Kik, and WhatsApp. You will need to install the Pushbullet app on your phone or tablet if you want to sync notifications with them to your browser, but once you sign into the app and browser extension, they sync up automatically. Get it here.
- Google Hangouts: For those who don’t know, Hangouts is a free instant messenger with extra oomph. Besides sending messages, you can use Hangouts for voice or video calls, and share photos, links, emoji, stickers, and gifs. Group messages can include up to 150 people, and video calls can include up to 10. As an added bonus, everything syncs across all your devices, even iOS devices. The Chrome extension will send you notifications in the top right corner of your browser and allow you to open Hangouts in a window on top of your current tab so you can reply quickly without navigating away from what you’re doing. Get it here.
- Houseparty: Unlike other video chat tools, Houseparty doesn’t make you call users or send them an invite. Instead, users can join and leave whenever. It goes beyond video calls as well, including quizzes and games you can share with other callers. The Houseparty Chrome extension lets you see who’s online so you can connect with them whenever they’re free and you never risk missing out on the fun. Get it here.
- Netflix Party: We featured this extension in our post on boredom busters for quarantine back when it was new, and since then it’s gained quite a following. Simply start up a show or movie, click the extension icon in the top right corner of your browser, and choose “start party.” You’ll receive a plugin you can send to your friends. Once they click the link, they’ll be taken to the same content you’re watching. Your browsers will stay synced so you watch everything at the same time, and you can even chat as you watch. Caveat: your friends must also have a Netflix account for this to work. Get it here.
- Battle Tabs: Sometimes you just need a five-minute break from work to do something silly, and Battle Tabs has you covered. Open a browser tab, tap the extension, and enjoy exciting, fast-paced games with your friends. Lead your Viking warriors into epic ship battles with engaging multiplayer action. Battles are designed to be very short, although there is a casual mode for when you have more time. Match up with friends or play with other available online users. Get it here.
Chrome Extensions For Developers And Other Advanced Users
Lists like this are usually targeted at general users with basic web browser needs, but this last group of extensions was specifically chosen by our web developers and application developers here at TracSoft with more advanced users in mind.
- Chrome Remote Desktop: Developed by Google, Chrome Remote Desktop allows a user to remotely control a computer. You can do this using your phone, tablet, or another computer. Simple navigate to the Chrome Remote Desktop site to create an account. Then download the Android or iOS app to your mobile devices or sign in on the computer you want to control remotely and you’re ready to go. Use the Chrome Extension to pull up all of your Chrome Remote Desktop tools without have to navigate to the software’s website. Get it here.
- IE Tab: While Chrome is the world’s favorite browser, there are still some things hanging around that were designed specifically for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. With this handy Chrome extension, you can emulate IE and test web pages in different versions of IE. You can also use Java, Silverlight, ActiveX, and Sharepoint. Get it here.
- Tampermonkey: A simple userscript manager, Tampermonkey lets you customize your web experience by enabling and disabling scripts on a page. You can even search userscripts.org or use tags supported by Greasemonkey and Scriptish. Get it here.
Endless Extensions Mean Endless Possibilities
As of April 2020, the Chrome Web Store listed more than 200,000 extensions. While not all of them are winners, there are many more hidden gems than we could fit in this list. Recently, Google has been taking measures to remove suspicious or broken extensions, but it’s still important to check reviews for unfamiliar extensions before installing them.
If you’re looking for other ways to improve your productivity, why not check out TracSoft’s custom business application development? We create software tailored to your needs. Whether it’s creating a system to manage your data more efficiently or an app to track trucks, we’ve got you covered. Contact us today and learn what our custom app development can do for you.