Each browser, like Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Edge, tries to win people over with unique themes and special features yet when you get right down to it, most popular browsers share many similarities and few differences. While they all have a unique flavor, they aim to fulfil a wide array of requirements so our browser of choice becomes an arbitrary decision.
Regardless of just how unique a browser is, the biggest burden of the customization department falls on extensions, the tiny services that can seriously change how browsers are used by adding unique features, tweaking existing ones and allowing anyone to add their personal touch to the browser.
Today we will take a look at a number of extensions in Chrome which are aimed at both the average Joe and the experienced user who may have missed a few of these before. This is merely a starting point and you may not even need all of these extensions. Similar extensions also exist but the ones presented in this article have been selected based on a number of factors including ease of use so that anyone can take advantage of them. If you want to recommend an extension, feel free to drop a comment down below and share it with us!
The Great Suspender
When Chrome was originally released, it was a refreshing alternative to a Firefox that had slowly grown more and more troubled. Google provided a sleek, fast answer and the world flocked over. As unfortunate as that may be, it seems that today’s roles are reversed and Chrome’s memory hogging has become a well-known joke that everybody confirms.
Despite its other virtues, there is no denying that Chrome eats up resources like there is no tomorrow and this can be particularly troublesome for some PCs. This extension aims to fix an important part of the problem by automatically suspending tabs that you do not actively use. You can manually configure the amount of time it takes before the extension suspends a tab so you can customize the extension to your browsing habits.
We gave talked about password managers in the past but services like LastPass should never be missed. These days, most websites and other online services require you to set up an account before you can do much. As a consequence, most people end up reusing one or two passwords as they cannot be bothered to create and remember new ones.
LastPass can automatically generated passwords for you while it will also store every single password you have, both those you created through the device and the ones you crafted yourself. The extension is available across multiple platforms which also means you can keep using your passwords securely no matter which device you are browsing from.
For the longest time ever, I used to visit a certain group of websites every day by opening them through their bookmarks. I had never used an RSS feeder before and my way was convenient enough that I simply couldn’t be bothered with it. This went on until I found Feedly, a service that refreshed the way I read my news in the morning.
Feedly comes in many forms, including apps on the web and mobile. This extension will allow you to add websites to your feed, save them for later, share them via email, Twitter, or Facebook and send them to Evernote. Get started with the main website at Feedly.com and this extension will quickly become second nature.
As far as ad-blocking extensions go, AdBlock and AdBlockPlus remain the most popular choices but that does not mean they are the best ones too. A little extension called uBlock Origin has been proven to use far less memory than both previous tools and its ad-blocking capabilities are equally fantastic.
As with most ad-blockers, uBlock is enabled by default for every website that you visit. To turn it off, click on its power icon. This will turn the extension off for that particular website only so you can support a few pages with ads.
When you type away furious replies to those incessant brats on whatever gaming forums you frequent, there is a good chance that your (justified) rage will result in grammar mistakes and that is the last thing you want in an online battle.
Grammarly is a pretty simple extension that can detect spelling errors and grammar mistakes and help you correct them on the spot. At the very least, your online rants can finally become presentable.
Animated images provide a quick and effortless escape from reality into a world of endless wonder and impossible situations. Conversely, there is no escape from animated images as you can pretty much spit GIFs anywhere you go.
Mobile devices are now seen as the main market for GIFs as you can see by the increasing number of such images found on popular social networking sites. However, people on the desktop can still enjoy GIFs and what better way to find them than the biggest repository in the world? Click on the extension, find any GIF in the world and use one of the many available options to share it with the rest of the world.
This extension is not nearly as flashy as the rest of them but it may just be the most important one. HTTPS Everywhere was created by the Electronic Frontier Foundation with the aim of easily shielding you against unsecure websites. This works by forcing the websites to open via HTTPS instead of the less secure HTTP. Many modern browsers and online services are now pushing hard for HTTPS connections to be available everywhere so this extension will let you jump a bit further in time.
HTTPS Everywhere should work in pretty much every website as it does not actually change in them. The only thing it does is establish secure connections in place of unsecure ones so the average user will hugely benefit from being automatically protected against a portion of online attacks.
Save to Pocket
Browse the internet for long enough and there is no doubt you will hear something about Pocket, the service that lets you save stuff so you can consume it later. The Save to Pocket extension allows you to save pretty much anything you run across on the Internet, either by using the Save to Pocket extension itself or the context menu entries that you will find across the web.
As a service, Pocket is a fantastic way of introducing online articles to people who dislike doing any reading on their computers and it can also go much further than that. If making websites easier to read is your only goal, you can also try out Readability which will instantly remove everything but the text in any given website.
The Internet is an amazing place but one must never forget that most of the things you see online are meant to generate cash. Advertisers are always lurking around the corner, ready to ambush and shower you with offers for things you may never need. And while blocking actual advertisers that physically enter the virtual world may work as a movie, blocking them right now is as easy as installing Disconnect.
This extension will automatically block tracking from thousands of websites with detailed information on how, why and what. Each page you visit will be analyzed and offending background content will be blocked without you lifting a finger. Even better, Disconnect’s developers claim that the extension can help you load webpages up to 44% faster and with up to 39% less used data.
Some people are pillars of productivity as they are able to laser-focus on the task at hand and forget about everything else until said task is done. Since I am not one of those people, StayFocusd is a necessary extension as it can automatically be configured to block certain websites so that you can remove distractions and focus on what you are doing.
StayFocusd offers a lot of customization options so you can pretty much configure it however you want. Its main appeal is that it can easily block distracting websites like social networks so you will have to spend your time somewhere else, even if you do not want to. Of course, the extension is merely there to help you so staying productive is up to you.