The best Google Chrome extensions 2012

The best Google Chrome extensions 2012

We like Google Chrome and Version 19 features an amazingly responsive browsing experience, security to prevent crashing, synchronisation of bookmarks and preferences between Chrome browsers on other computers, great HTML5 support, and built-in Flash and PDF readers.

But even all of that isn’t enough for true browser aficionados. We need extensions.

Google Chrome’s support for extensions kicked off just three years ago and has exploded since. After last year’s Chrome Web Store facelift, the collection now rivals Firefox’s.

Rather than stumble through the almost endless number of entries in the store, we bring you our choice of 61 extensions just about everyone should consider for extending and improving your browsing experience, sometimes in ways you didn’t even think possible.

There are a lot of extensions specific to Google and its services, which isn’t surprising considering Chrome is Google’s browser. They work across operating systems and best of all, every extension mentioned here is entirely free, so there’s no harm in giving them a try. If you don’t like one, just type chrome://extensions into the browser’s address bar. From there, you can disable or remove any or all of them. You can also right-click an extension’s icon in the toolbar to remove it.

In this feature, we cover extensions for Blogging, Screen Capture, Google Services, Images, Interface Enhancement, Productivity, Security, Shopping, Social/Sharing, Tabs, and Video.

If we’ve included your favourites or if we’ve missed the best, let us know in the comments section.

BLOGGING

1. ScribeFire Never leave Chrome again when writing up your latest pithy post. ScribeFire is a full app for blogging that works only within the browser. It opens up a tab with all the info on your pre-set blog or blogs, with a big editing space for creating the content.

2. Zemanta Zemanta is a blogger’s best friend. This extension, available for multiple operating systems and browsers, supports many blogging systems to help insert images and related article links. It sources them from big image sites like Flickr, and content sites like Wikipedia, IMDB, and many more.

SCREEN CAPTURE

3. Awesome Screenshot Capture & Annotate Don’t limit yourself to basic screenshots. Make them awesome by annotating them with shapes, arrows, and text comments. One click will then upload the image to AwesomeScreenshot.com for sharing.

4. FireShot There’s no lack of screenshot tools in Chrome, but FireShot is a favourite. It captures an entire page (even what you can’t see), the visible portion, the whole browser window, or just what you select. It will then send the new image to an editor, save it (even as PDF), upload it, print it, copy it, or email it.

GOOGLE SERVICES

5. Attachments.me for Gmail Attaching items to an email, no less a message in Gmail, is easy – if the file is on the desktop. But if it’s stored in the cloud, it can be a pain. This attachment makes it simple to access files on your Google Drive, Dropbox, or Box accounts and attach them to a message, without even leaving the Gmail interface.

6. Chrome Toolbox (by Google) Google created this toolbox extension to make it easier to access all the hidden settings of the Chrome browser. Reach it via the Settings page of Chrome, and you’ll get options that impact tabs, short cuts, and quick-launch buttons for bookmarks.

7. DayHiker DayHiker puts all the online goodness of Google Calendar in your Chrome toolbar. You can do the major things like check your schedule and tasks, plus it will remind you about events. If you’re a Google Calendar user, you almost have to use it.

8. Docs PDF/PowerPoint Viewer With this extension installed, when you click a link to a PowerPoint presentation (a .PPT file or the like) or a PDF file, you’ll be shunted directly to Google Docs/Drive to view the file. You won’t even have to download it and open it in actual PowerPoint or Adobe Reader, or re-upload it to Google Drive first.

9. Google Dictionary (by Google) Load it up, double-click any word on any web page, and you’ll see a pop-up with the definition. Or search for words from the toolbar. (Brits be warned – it appears to only support US English).

10. Google Reader Notifier If you’re addicted to reading RSS feed subscriptions in Google Reader, you owe it to yourself to use the Reader Notifier. The icon in the toolbar informs you of unread posts, and gives you fast access to them.

11. Goo.gl URL Shortener Google’s own URL shortener service can be accessed via the Chrome toolbar with this extension. It will instantly shorten the URL you’re visiting and copy that new address to the clipboard for use anywhere. It’ll even generate a QR code of the URL.

12. Google Voice (By Google) Google’s voicemail service utilises this software to extend right into the browser. It offers on-the-fly access to your messages (with transcriptions), and can initiate VoIP calls over Google Voice. Every phone number you see on a site becomes clickable for calling.

13. Offline Google Mail Web-based email doesn’t have to be exclusive to an Internet connection. This extension ensures there’s a cache of your messages for reading when you’re offline, and you can compose new messages and “send” them, synchronising everything once you reconnect.

14. Google Quick Scroll When you search on Google and then skip to a page in the results, sometimes it’s hard to tell exactly why Google thought the page was even relevant. Quick Scroll appears only when needed and highlights the bits of the page that are pertinent to your query.

NEXT: Images and Interface Enhancement Extensions

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