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7 splendid Chrome extensions

Sven Krumrey

The most widely used browser in the world already comes with a load of features. But that doesn't stop smart developers from enhancing it even further with extensions to make it more versatile, more comfortable - just easier to use. You could spend days digging through the store but I'd like to present 7 extensions you might get used to quickly.

Black Menu - instant access to Google services
Black Menu - for true Google fans

You may criticize Google (as I've done often enough in this blog) but the web site has something to offer. Apart from the classic search engine, there's a translator, the mighty Google Maps, the news corner, Google Drive and more. To access these features, users have to visit the web site, select the desired feature, and then open and - no! There's got to be an easier way! With Black Menu, you get a small icon next the address bar that, when clicked, displays all essential Google services in a small window. Neat and comfortable!

Adblock Plus - say goodbye to ads

Advertisements on the Internet are a constant topic of debate. Yes, web sites rely on ads for financing, I get that. But some pages are so plastered with excruciatingly lowbrow ads ("How to get lean in 3 days!!!") that they drain your mental (and browser!) resources. Adblock Plus filters out about 90% of all ads, provides easy to use configuration settings and has never caused any issues on my system. It also allows you to disable it for individual sites, in case you can live with their ads and want to keep their ad revenue flowing. That's what I call fair web surfing!

Page Monitor - what's new?

In an era of blogs, personal home pages and hobby-driven sites, it's hard to keep track of all the news that happen around your favorite sites. You can either drop by every once in while only to notice that there still hasn't been any changes or use Page Monitor to be notified as soon as a site received updates. Simply visit the site, click the small Page Monitor icon and select "Monitor". Quite well done and especially recommendable for small sites that only receive infrequent updates.

Zoomed images on demand
Imagus - image zooming made easy

Whether your eyesight is poor or not - images on web are often just too small. Imagus provides a smart solution for this problem. Simply hover your mouse pointer for (roughly) 2 seconds over an image to display an enlarged version in a separate window. As soon as the mouse leaves the image, the window disappears. If you enjoy looking at photos, you'll appreciate this great extension that works flawlessly with most pages.

OneTab - open window - close window!

1.) Chrome is a memory hog. 2.) Modern web users love to have multiple windows open at the same time. These two reasons are what brought OneTab to life. Once you click the OneTab icon, all windows will be closed and visited pages will appear as neatly arranged links in a single tab. The effect of this is particularly noticeable on slower systems with little memory that may bog down when multiple windows are open simultaneously - it's like a speed boost. Yet, no page is "lost" thanks to the links. I like to use OneTab when I'm doing extensive research and feel like I'm getting lost in the jungle of open pages.

Quick clean-ups
Quick&Clean - a little more privacy, please

Chrome is certainly technologically advanced but clearing the browsing history or deleting cookies wasn't implemented very well. Quick&Clean takes care of this issue and provides instant access to these features (as always, through the small icon next to the address bar). Personal data, browsing history, cookies, extensions - everything is quickly accessible and erasable - very handy! A privacy test is also included that allows you to find out about the information that is visible to web sites about you (and your system). Important: Once installed, a page will open in an attempt to slip additional software onto your machine - just close it!

To your cellphone and back again - Pushbullet

Exchanging data between your cellphone and your PC can be a hassle. Instead of sending yourself emails or hooking your cellphone up to your PC why not let Pushbullet handle that? All you need to do is install the Chrome extension on your PC and the companion app on your cellphone. Once you log into your Google account on both devices, you can send texts but also view cellphone notifications (incoming mails, calls etc.) in your browser. This software seems to be in an early stage - but it already works better than the much bigger Chrome to Phone project that had a similar goal.

What you need to know: you will find extensions either in your settings menu or under "More tools" in Chrome once you click the three dots next to the address bar. Many of these extensions also exist for Firefox, Opera and other browsers so it's worth looking into that. Once installed, almost all extensions will place a small icon next to the address bar that allows you to start, disable or configure them.

What I would like to know: Can you recommend any other extensions that you've grown attached to?

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