For most people, a web browser is where you spend most of your time when on your computer. Especially now, with more and more productivity apps and services coming to browsers, or even being browser exclusive, it sometimes seems that all you need is a browser. Hence, Chromebooks! But, if you need a little bit more out of your browser to work even more efficiently for you or to make your day a bit easier, you might want to check out some extensions.
In case you aren’t familiar. Browser extensions, as the name suggests, extend the functionality of your web browser to perform new tasks. Although many browsers have the option to add on extensions, many would consider Chrome to be the leader in this category with its expansive library and broad compatibility. There are tons of extensions to look through in the Chrome Web Store, so here’s a quick look at what we would consider some of the best Google Chrome extensions.
Betternet made our list of the best VPN apps for iPad, and its security and ease of access doesn’t stop there. Having a reliable VPN app is crucial if you access the internet frequently in public locations and especially on any public network. On top of that, a VPN app will let you mask your browsing location so you can access content like Facebook, Twitter or Netflix that you otherwise would not be able to due to regional restrictions.
The Betternet Free VPN Google Chrome Extension is the easiest way to enable and disable the service anytime you need to. Using the extension is pretty self explanatory and simple, but the feeling of security when using this extension is why it lands itself on this list.
If you’re a heavy social media user and like to share content with your friends or followers on a consistent basis, Buffer is definitely something you should check out. Basically, the app (available from a browser or iOS and Android apps) lets you schedule your social shares at pre-determined times throughout the day. When you find something you want to share, you can head to Buffer and insert the link. Usually, Buffer will find images and text from the page to complete your post.
The Buffer Chrome extension performs the same basic task but with one click instead of having to open up a new tab and visit the site each time. When clicking the extension icon, Buffer detects the link, images on the page and text to formulate a post. From there, you can proceed to schedule the post using the same schedule you would use from the tradition experience. This is extremely handy when trying to build a good bank of content to share.
Grammarly may be the most useful Google Chrome extension available. Everyone uses computers to type at some point or another, and everyone makes grammar and spelling mistakes. I can’t count the number of times that I’ve wished an application or web interface had some for of spell check – especially when writing emails to colleagues. Yes, most email clients have their own spell-check, but Grammarly goes beyond that with true grammar suggestions, such as when to add words, when to be more specific, etc.
No matter where you are typing, Grammarly is always double-checking your work and will place red or green underlines to alert you to suggestions or corrections. I can’t say enough how useful this extension is.
The Chrome Web Store is full of tools that provide help day-to-day for everyday users as well as professionals. Something we all find ourselves needing to do at some point is take screenshots. Modern operating systems have screenshot tools built in, but they’re limited in their capabilities.
Full Page Screen Capture allows you to exceed what Mac or Windows screenshot tools can do by taking a full-length screenshots of any page on the web. Better yet, it happens with just one click. There isn’t much to this extension really. All you need to do is click the extension icon and watch the Pac-Man like character chomp away at your page until it is complete. The screenshot is taken relatively quick and you can easily save the image to your computer in the location you prefer.
If you’re out looking for extensions to add to your Google Chrome, one huge category you will find is extensions that enhance you New Tabs. Momentum fits into that bucket as well, but stands out for its simplicity and beautiful design. After you have installed the Momentum Google Chrome Extension, any time you open a new tab, you are greeted with a custom home page complete with your name, a gorgeous background photo, the time, weather and more.
Momentum’s settings allow you to customize a little further – letting you choose what to include and not include, and you can also upload your own images. However the surprise of the new photo each day is pleasant. Overall, it’s the simplicity and minimal design that attracted me to this extension.
Speaking of building a bank of content, say hello to Pocket! You’ve likely heard of Pocket in the past, as they are well known for their mobile apps. The app makes saving articles to read later incredibly simple. It also does an excellent job when presenting you with the content you have saved. Their web interface is easy to navigate and find what you want to look back on quickly.
With the Pocket Chrome Extension, you save a ton of time when avoiding the copy and paste into Pocket. As you might expect, you simply have to click the Pocket Chrome Extension icon when on a page you would like to save, and viola! The page will be added to your Pocket account. And, right from the extension you can assign tags to the page you saved.
Pushbullet serves many functions. It acts as a superior desktop texting client, while at the same time, helping you transfer files from your mobile device to your laptop or desktop. In my honest opinion, there is no better desktop texting client available at this time outside of iMessage if you are an iPhone and MacBook user.
The Pushbullet app gives you instant desktop notifications as soon as your phone receives them, and from within the extension you can act on notifications and reply to incoming text messages. The design is simple, and once you get used to it, it becomes hard to imagine your life without it.
For me, sitting at a computer for the biggest part of the day, stopping to pick up my phone to check and reply to text messages consumes a lot of time and removes me from focus. With Pushbullet, you maintain focus on your computer and saves time from having to physically check your phone. It is worth noting that Pushbullet’s texting service is only free up to 100 sent messages for each month. But, you can receive unlimited number of notifications throughout the month.
There are a lot of apps out there to help you record your screen, but many of them are quite complex and have a steep learning curve in order to get the hang of it. ViewedIt is an extremely simple Google Chrome Extension that makes it as easy as a couple of clicks.
Screen recordings are ideal for sales professionals that do the majority of their selling over the phone, as it allows them to give demos of software, websites etc. This technology is also applicable for anyone who needs to share an online experience, troubleshoot an issue, etc. The possibilities are endless.
With ViewedIt, all you have to do is click the icon and then choose what you would like to record. What makes this even easier is the ability to choose between recording your entire screen or only the tab you are viewing. You can also have the extension capture video from your webcam as well as audio to make full-featured videos.
Any of these simple Google Chrome Extensions can significantly improve the browser’s functionality and make it an even greater tool than it already is. Did we miss any of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!