Extensions are one of Chrome’s best features. Any functionality missing in Chrome can usually be found in an extension. The only problem is that there’s so many extensions that it’s hard to find the best of the best.
In the following article we’ll look over some of the most useful extensions. The rankings will focus on overall usefulness for the average user. These are the types of extensions which almost everyone should install in Chrome.
8. Checker Plus for Gmail
Checker Plus would rank higher if everyone were using Gmail. The fact that not everyone uses Google’s mail service makes this useful for only a subset of overall users. However, people who use Gmail will quickly find themselves depending on Checker Plus.
Checker Plus will usually sit as a small icon on one’s toolbar. Checker Plus will notice any new mail arriving within one’s Gmail account. It can create a rich notification on one’s screen with a few lines of the email’s text. Or if one desires, it can simply put a small number next to itself to show how many messages are currently unread.
One can also click on the notification icon to get a concise list of unread messages. It only takes seconds to sort through email with Checker Plus. In fact, it’s far faster to sort through email using the extension than it is to use Google’s Gmail page.
The Internet’s entertainment value is usually a good thing. But people sometimes find themselves wishing that they could be a little less distracted when trying to do research online. StayFocused does exactly what the name suggests.
The extension helps people stay focus by blocking sites which might distract someone from getting work done. By blocking social networking sites and the like one can stay properly focused on work. StayFocused is a rare case where one of the best Chrome extensions works by making the Web less fun.
Chrome is a remarkably stable browser. But even the most stable browser will crash on occasion. And when a browser crashes it can take a large amount of work with it. The Lazarus extension makes sure that Chrome keeps track of everything a user enters into the browser. Most importantly, Lazarus keeps track of text that has been entered but not submitted. If Chrome crashes midway into filling out a long form than one won’t need to start all over again.
5. Chrome Remote Desktop
It’s quite common for people to own multiple computers. People tend to have a powerful desktop at home and a laptop that they can take with them. The only problem with this setup is that desktops tend to be far more powerful than laptops. It’s not at all uncommon for someone to need something from his desktop while he’s away from home. Laptops usually aren’t able to match the challenges of tasks like multimedia editing or 3D gaming.
Chrome Remote Desktop gets around the problem by essentially mirroring a remote computer. After signing in with the extension, Chrome opens a window that shows whatever’s on the home computer’s screen.
The extension does have some limitations. Most importantly, the quality of the experience is dependent on one’s internet connection. Slower internet speeds will result in degraded performance within Chrome Remote Desktop. But even a tethered phone connection is usually enough to do some quick work on the go.
4. Google Translate
The internet has done an amazing job of making the world seem like a much smaller place. It’s easy to connect to websites from all over the planet. At the same time language barriers will quickly become a limiting factor.
Google Translate is a fantastic first step into computer aided translation. People can use the extension in one of two ways. The easiest method is to simply highlight a word or phrase within chrome. A translate icon will appear over the highlighted text. From there one simply needs to click the icon and it should translate the text into one’s native language. This is by far the most reliable way to use the Translate extension.
Google Translate works best with a single word or two. But it can try to translate an entire webpage. It will sometimes notice a page isn’t in one’s primary language and offer to help. Otherwise one simply needs to click on the Translate icon to tell it to translate the current page. It’s far from perfect, but it’s usually enough to make foreign language websites usable. Opening up a world’s worth of websites most certainly qualifies it as one of the best Chrome extensions.
3. Notes in Google Keep
Google Keep might seem like a simple note taking app at first. But using the extension for a while will make one realize just how impressive it actually is. The extension places an icon on one’s toolbar. One can simply click that icon at any time. The extension will then note the webpage one is on and ask for some extra text. The extension saves the note to Google Keep after users enter some text.
The real power of the app shows itself when used on a smartphone. People can access links saved through the Keep extension using any device with Keep support. This includes all of the major smartphones.
For example, one might see a great recipe online. The user could then use Keep to save the page along with a note to pick up the ingredients. The next shopping trip will have all of that information readily available on their phone. It’s one of the best Chrome extensions because it can actually change how one goes about common activities.
2. Easy Auto Refresh
People often find themselves sitting at their computer while tediously hitting the refresh button. Some sites use active web designs which provide real time updates. But the vast majority of sites require users to reload the page any time they want to check for updates. For example, someone waiting for a sale to go live will end up having to continually refresh a page in hopes of catching the deal.
Easy Auto Refresh earns a place as one of the best Chrome extensions because it takes on that responsibility. It’s also extremely easy to use. One simply needs to install the extension, click on the icon, and enter a number. From that point on the extension will reload the page in the specified number of seconds. One can leave the extension to reload pages while just giving it a quick glance every now and then.
1. Ampare Time Travel
Everyone’s experienced the disappointment which comes from a dead link. Someone is searching for information and finally finds an answer. But on clicking the link it turns out that the site or post is long gone.
The Ampare Time Travel extension takes the currently loaded site and runs it through the Internet Archive. One will usually see a list of archival dates to choose from. Chrome will load the appropriate backup copy after one clicks on a date. The extension essentially gives people the ability to see a website as it existed at almost any time in the past.
The high ranking among the best Chrome extensions relates to the purpose of the Internet as a whole. Like the Translate extension, Ampare Time Travel opens up areas of the Web which would normally be inaccessible. The best Chrome extensions can help link people to content in a similar way to the best search engines.
In conclusion, one of the most notable features of these extensions is the sheer diversity. Some of the best Chrome extensions function in a similar way to applications. Other extensions help users access content that would otherwise be hidden.
But one common feature is how easy they are to install and test out. New extensions are showing up all the time. People can help each other out by sharing experiences with these and any other Chrome extensions.