The 13 Overall Most Useful Extensions for Google Chrome

The 13 Overall Most Useful Extensions for Google Chrome

by Gary Oldwood on 2 January 2017 · 2640 views

A huge advantage of modern web browsers is their support for extensions, which can add countless features that can be of great help. In this article, we gathered some of the most notable extensions for Chrome.

Note that we will not include Chrome extensions that block ads, and we will also not refer to very specific extensions, which target a very specific class of users.

What are browser extensions?

Extensions are small programs that are typically created by independent developers, which can be installed in the browser and add various additional features to it. There are multiple categories of extensions, for virtually any task that you can imagine.

In fact, FireFox extensions are more than 18.000 currently.

Google, on the other hand, does not give a total number for Chrome extensions. However, usually, extensions developed for FireFox browser are also developed for Chrome as well (and vice-versa), it is therefore reasonable to thing that there is a similar number of Chrome extensions available too, and perhaps more.

How to install and manage Chrome extensions

To install a new extension in Chrome, you will have to visit the Chrome Web Store, the depository of all extensions, apps, games, and themes for personalizing Chrome.

You can navigate to the different categories from the pane on the left side, or add various filters to the results displayed.

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Clicking on an extension will open up a window with screenshots and information of it. To install the extension, simply click on “Add to Chrome” button.

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Next, a small notification window will appear at the top of the screen asking you whether you’re sure you want to install the extension; you need to confirm that notification as well.

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To manage your extensions, navigate to the chrome://extensions page. You can either type it in the browser’s address bar, or find it under the More tools submenu in the Settings menu.

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From there, you can view and manage installed extensions in Chrome.

To disable an extension (not to delete) simply click on the checkbox next to it, and use the Trash icon to complete remove it. Some Chrome extensions might have an "Options" menu too.

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(Almost) all Chrome extensions, when installed, also add a new icon on the right side of the toolbar, next to the address bar, from which you can access the extension’s various settings or features.

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Also, by right-clicking on an icon, you can get directed to the extension’s page Chrome Web Store, change its settings, delete it, hide it, or go to the extensions management screen.

The best Chrome extensions

In Chrome Web Store there are countless extensions for you to pick, but in this guide we only picked a handful of them, which are quite useful and widely used.

Website ratings with Web Of Trust

Web Of Trust displays a special icon next to search results, as well as next to the toolbar, indicating the reliability of a website, based on the ratings of the Web Of Trust service users.

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Instant translation with Google Translate

While Chrome has built-in translation capabilities, the official extension of Google Translate allows you to rapidly translate any unknown words you come across with on the web.

Just highlight a word and click on the Translation icon that appears next to it, or click on the extension’s icon located on the toolbar- then you can see the translation in the desired language.

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From the extensions options menu you can also choose what happens when you select a word or phrase.

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Password management with LastPass or Dashlane

LastPass is one of the best password managers available. In essence, what it does is store strong passwords for all your accounts, so that you don’t have to remember them. What you only need to remember is a “master password” which unlocks LastPass itself.

Thus, you can increase significantly your digital security, since one of the biggest mistakes users make is the use of the same or similar password for all accounts, in order to have less trouble remembering or typing them.

However, Dashlane is an equally functional and reliable app. For a more in-depth comparison of the two apps, check out our D3K article below:

LastPass vs Dashlane - Comparing the Top Password Managers

Magic Actions for YouTube: YouTube Tools in an extension

All useful YouTube tools are packaged in this extension. These include automatic HD video quality, auto repeat, various video effects, increase/decrease audio level by scrolling, night mode, screen captures, and more.

These options can be found in a toolbar below YouTube videos.

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You can configure all the settings from the Options menu of the extension.

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Improved new tab

The following Chrome extensions improve Google’s new tab page, replacing the classic new tab page, which has a simple Google search function and frequently visited sites.

Momentum

Momentum has about 1.5 million users, and changes the new tab page with a minimalist design and beautiful background images.

The first time after you install the extension you will be asked to enter your name and email.

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If you do not want to create an account, just click on the "Stay logged out" button located on the lower right corner.

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You can set a goal that you have for the current day or reminders for tasks that you need to complete, as well as set pages that you visit often. Of course, you can also search for things on Google. Additionally, at the top right corner you can see the weather in your location, and at the bottom you can read a quote.

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Infinity

Infinity offers beautiful background images as well, allows you to perform Google searches, add shortcuts to various websites, apps and others. You can also add your own shortcuts by clicking on the "+" button.

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Start

Start has beautiful background images too, and it also allows you to perform searches and view the weather, but you also have faster access to websites and applications like Facebook notifications, Gmail messages, and your top websites.

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If you find Start’s new tab interface a bit crowded, you can always change the number of panels from its settings menu.

The Great Suspender

The Great Suspender is one of the most useful Chrome extensions, especially for computers with limited RAM.

Its job is to suspend the operation of open tabs which haven’t been used in a certain time period, thereby reducing memory usage.

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To re-enable a tab that is suspended, simply click on it to reload it.

Email tracking with MailTrack

It’s true that Gmail lacks delivery or read reporting features, but MailTrack can reveal whether a message you sent has been opened, or whether the recipient has clicked on a link it contains.

After installation, you will need to connect it with your Google account first, then choose whether you’re going for the free or paid version. In essence, the difference is that the free version displays a signature under each new email sent, which says that the email was sent with MailTrack (which can be manually erased though).

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Emails that have been read display a double-check icon (✔✔).

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Internet macros with iMacros

iMacros is a very powerful tool that helps you take care of time-consuming and repetitive processes. You can record macros to automate processes such as data extraction and others.

You can view useful tutorials for iMacros in its official website.

Fast image and website sharing with Viber

With the official Viber extension you can share directly images through Viber, by clicking on the icon displayed in the corner of the image.

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You can also share a link by clicking Viber’s icon on the toolbar while you are at the desired site, or even send selected text by clicking on the Viber icon that appears next to it.

Note that it is necessary to have the latest version of Viber installed in your computer.

Instant image editing with pic2pixlr

Pixlr Editor is one of the best PhotoShop alternatives. It is an online service and provides several advanced tools for editing photos.

The Pixlr suite includes Pixlr-O-Matic, an app for adding effects easily, and Pixlr Express (Android, iOS), which has various easy to use tools for the average user.

The pic2pixlr extension adds new options in the right-click menu and can directly send a picture to any of the aforementioned programs for editing.

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Additional scripts with Tampermonkey

Chrome extensions are good, but true freedom is provided with the use of scripts with Tampermonkey, the corresponding Greasemonkey extension for Chrome.

This extension allows you to run custom scripts and add expanded functionality to many websites. In fact, especially for YouTube and Facebook, you can find thousands of ready-made scripts. Also, there are plenty of scripts for online games too.

Your favorite Chrome extensions?

From the endless sea of extensions, which ones do you have installed and use often? Let us know in the comments section below!

Bonus: 23 Chrome Hidden Features, split into part 1 and part 2 of the series.

Comments (1)
littlebanksy's profile
littlebanksy on 17 Mar 2017
I use a free alternative to Mailtrack, Chrome extension Deskun. You can find it here: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/deskun-help-desk-system-i/iiliegbpolacldlgjkoconoljdkaaoao/reviews?hl=en
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