2011 was a big year for Google Chrome and all of its users. There are more Chrome users out there than ever before, and tons of great Chrome extensions to add functionality, privacy, and other services to your browser. Here are the most popular Google Chrome-related posts, extensions, and add-ons at Lifehacker during 2011. More »
Chrome/Web: Working all day with only the sounds of the office to entertain you and only the cubicle wall above your desk to keep you company can be stressful. Relaxpls is a webapp and Chrome extension that offers you a quick break with some soothing nature sounds and full-screen images that you can toggle whenever the day is getting a little too rough to handle. Just pop on your headphones, full-screen your browser window, and relax. More »
Have you ever wondered what advertising sites track your web browsing? Sheepish is an extension for Chrome that shows you exactly which companies are keeping an eye on you for every site you visit and blocks them from doing so.More »
Chrome: Sometimes you don't want to deal with bookmarking an article or site for later viewing and you just want a simple nudge to look at it again later. Page Snooze does just that, letting you "snooze" a tab for up to two weeks.More »
Chrome: Now that more of you are using Chrome than ever before, it's also likely you're using more Chrome extensions than ever before. Disable All Extensions, as the name implies, gives you one button to enable or disable all of your Chrome extensions quickly without restarting the browser, or select individual ones to toggle or uninstall whenever you choose. More »
Articles on the web can get a little long sometimes, and it can be difficult to skim them and find the parts that are most relevant to you. That's where Scrollbar of Contents comes in. It's a free add-on for Chrome that adds clickable buttons next to your scrollbar so you can jump right to different sections of the article you're reading. More »
Firefox/Chrome/IE: Swidget is a browser add-on that swaps banner and box ads for useful widgets, like the weather, news headlines, or even your Facebook feed. More »
Firefox/Chrome: When government officials seized ownership of a number of domains last month, a lot of people suddenly found their favorite torrent tracker shut down. Many owners of the seized domains simply moved to new URLs. If you're looking for them, the MAFIAA Fire extension uses a crowd-sourced database of alternative domains to connect you. More »
Have you ever wondered what the Web was like before the Mosaic Web browser? If you were born in the last 20-odd years, or you only discovered your inner geek recently, did you miss out on monochrome monitors and the dial-up BBS era? Well, here's your chance to get a sneak peek at history: grab the ChromeLite extension and marvel as the entire Web is transformed into ASCII characters.
ChromeLite was actually made by Google as an April Fools' joke -- and indeed, an annoying 'you can uninstall this!' message appears at the top of every page -- but we're kind of hoping that Google, or another developer, takes ChromeLite and turns it into a real ASCII browsing extension with configurable settings. If anything, it will provide an easy way to save bandwidth and CPU time.
Google Chrome users, for example, can add playback hotkeys with an extension called keyMazony. Once installed, you'll have keyboard control of your Amazon Cloud Player queue. keyMazony commands will work as long as you're in the same Chrome window as Cloud Player, even if its tab doesn't have focus. The key combinations are customizable as well -- just make sure you don't set up a combo that conflicts with another extension or Chrome's built-in keyboard shortcuts.
Once installed, you simply type the letter s and press space to invoke a Google-powered site search for the domain you're currently visiting. The top five matches load in a flash, and you can also click through to Google via the top link for complete results. It's a fast, simple way to get results which are limited to a specific domain -- and as we know from experience, Google search is nearly always a lot better than most on-site search boxes.
Wikipedia Beautifier is an extension for Google Chrome that removes all the clutter from Wikipedia and lets you focus on the most important aspect of the online encyclopedia: its content. Wikipedia Beautifier has been inspired by Readability, and aims to provide the same amount of article-centered beauty, while also keeping the familiar navigation menus within reach.
Now that Google Chrome 11 has hit the beta channel, you can expect to see extension and Web app developers making use of the new HTML5 speech-to-text API. In fact, there's as least one slick extension you can already install: Speechify.
Install Speechify, and you'll see a microphone icon added into the search box on many popular sites -- like Google and Bing. Click it, and Speechify will convert the words you speak into text. You've still got to press enter or click to search, and an automatic submit option is definitely something we'd like to see added.
If you're a social networking butterfly, or if you have the malevolent aspirations of one day becoming a 'social media expert,' you almost certainly spend a vast amount of time surfing the Web. You probably use a modern browser like Firefox or Chrome, and you almost certainly have a ton of tabs open at the same time.
It can be hard work, keeping track of multiple websites. Hitting F5 is a pain in the ass -- and waiting those few seconds for a page to reload can be mighty frustrating. Then there's the matter of remembering all of your login names and passwords (because you don't use the same password on more than one site, right?)
Wouldn't it be great if there were some add-ons and extensions that could make light work of your surprisingly busy social networking lifestyle? Even if you only use Facebook or Twitter, there are still plenty of annoyances that could be offloaded to add-ons.
Chrome-only: If you often find yourself discovering images and files you want to save but don't really want to deal with them right this moment, Cloud Save attempts to solve that problem. By right clicking on an image or download link, you can opt to send that file to one of many cloud-based services. More »
Chrome: Chrome has some nice quick-access icons on its extension bar, but it only works if extensions put icons there. If you want to toggle other extensions on or off, these Chrome add-ons will help you do it from the address bar. More »
One feature I still miss when switching between Chrome and Firefox is support for bookmark keywords, which make launching sites from the address bar a breeze. Chrome's Omnibar does a fairly good job of finding what we want to launch from standard input (e.g. gmail), but it would be nice to have straight-up keywords (like gm). Sebastian showed you one method using custom search engines -- but those don't sync, so it's not an ideal situation.
Quickmarks is up to the task. Simply install the extension, and then do some manual editing. Any bookmark that you'd like to launch via a keyword needs to have [keyword] appended to its name. For example, you can right click your Gmail bookmark and choose edit, change its name to Gmail [gm], and Quickmarks is now able to launch it.
To open a bookmark using its keyword, simply click into the Omnibar or tap Ctrl+L B [space] and then enter your keyword. The B trigger tells the Quickmarks entension to fire up and watch for keyword input.
Since Chrome can sync both your extensions and your bookmarks, once your [keywords] are sent to the cloud you'll have access to them on all your Chrome installs.
It might only be a couple of years old and its extension interface might not be quite as powerful as Firefox's, but in terms of developers, big-name publishers, and sheer numbers, Chrome already has a very healthy ecosystem of add-ons.
When you factor in Chrome's exclusive selection of Web apps, it's even possible to say that Chrome has a wider variety of extensions -- or at least until Mozilla launches its Open Web Apps later in the year.
Still, as always, the problem with add-ons is finding the right ones. You have thousands of add-ons to choose from, and only a handful that are actually worth using. First-time users haven't got a snowball's chance -- unless they read this list of must-have extensions!
But this list of extensions is for converts, too. With massive defections from Internet Explorer and Firefox, Chrome has grown from just a few million users in 2009 to over 120 million at the start of 2011. Firefox users will be especially pleased to find almost every add-on has a comparable extension -- and IE users... well, they'll just be glad to have any extensions at all.
Whether you are looking for helpers or shortcuts, or full-blown Web apps, you will be pleasantly surprised with the variety and power of Chrome's extensions.