10 Google Chrome extensions worth checking out

Improve your Chrome browsing experience by adding extensions that provide custom functionality.

A while back, I put together a list of 10 Firefox extensions you can't live without. Since writing that article, I have converted to Google Chrome for much of my work. Naturally, I wanted to add extensions to Google Chrome to extend its usability as well. Thankfully, the developers of the newish browser recognized the importance of extensions and created a framework for developing the little gems... and developed they were. In no time, plenty of extensions were created, bringing extra functionality to the Google Chrome browser.

Here are 10 Google Chrome extensions you should try out. Most likely, you will keep a few of them around.

Note: This article is also available as a PDF download.

1: Google Mail Checker Plus

This extension is a must-have for anyone who uses Gmail extensively. It gives you an at-a-glance notification of how many emails you have in your inbox, and it provides a drop-down listing of the top email subjects/senders. You can read, delete, mark as spam, or archive those emails. There is also a link in the popup that will take you directly to your inbox.

2: XMarks

XMarks allows you to keep your bookmarks in sync with Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Internet Explorer. There are slight differences between XMarks for Firefox and XMarks for Chrome, although they function in the same manner. When syncing XMarks in Chrome, the browser doesn't become as unusable as Firefox does.

3: Flashblock

Flashblock does exactly what its name suggests: It blocks all Flash content from loading in your browser. It also lets you add sites to your white list on the fly by clicking Ctrl + Shift + F. Flashblock will block the following content types:

  • Macromedia Flash
  • Macromedia Shockwave
  • Macromedia Authorware
  • Microsoft Silverlight

4: Shareaholic

This extension allows you to share links to your various accounts, such as Facebook and Twitter. Just click the Shareaholic button and use the drop-down list to specify the service you want to share the link with. Shareaholic also lets you add personal notes to shared links. For those of you who share your online work with your Twitter followers, this makes life much easier.

5: Forecastfox Weather

This one is similar to the Firefox extension of the same name, with one major difference: Instead of placing the forecast in the notification toolbar, the Chrome version places a button in the Address bar (along with the other extension buttons). Clicking the button opens a pop-up window that displays the forecast. You'll see a week's forecast as well as current weather details.

6: Tab Menu

Tab Menu is essential if you tend to have Chrome open with so many tabs you can't read what each tab is. It offers a drop-down listing of all tabs you currently have open and allows you to switch back and forth between them.

7: Session Manager

This extension allows you to save the state of your browser so that it will be reloaded whenever you need it. But it's more than just a single-session save. Session Manager takes it to another level by allowing you to save multiple states, name them, and open any of those states by selecting them from a drop-down list.

8: WOT

WOT (Web of Trust) offers instant ratings for sites. These ratings let you know whether a site can be trusted. But WOT doesn't just use an algorithm or function to rate these sites. Users provide ratings and/or warnings to unsuspecting users. Ecommerce sites are among the targets for WOT ratings.

9: iMacros

This power-user tool takes much of the repetition out of browsing. You can use iMacros as a form filler and encrypted password manager. You can even use it to combine extensions. If you perform a lot of tasks over and over, this extension will quickly become your best friend. Upon installation, be sure you hop on over to this site and check out some sample macros you can run right away.

10: Remember the Milk

Many users already have this venerable tool on their phones. It adds a task list to the browser, even linking to your Gmail account so tasks can be converted to email. These tasks can be synced with all your other instances of Remember the Milk, no matter what platform they're on. You will need a Remember the Milk account to use this extension.

Other favorites?

If you've tried any of the above tools, would you give them a thumbs-up? What other Google Chrome extensions have you come to rely on?

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