Chrome: YouTube is great, but some of its features are annoying. With the YouTube Options for Google Chrome extension, you can suppress in-video ads, remove comments, disable annotations, and more. The extension allows you to completely change the look and feel of YouTube. 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.
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.
Hundreds of millions of people are now using Google Chrome as their primary Web browser, and a good chunk of those users have probably checked out extensions or Chrome Web apps by now. If you've ever wanted to share your favorites someplace -- like Twitter, Buzz, a favorite forum site, or even via your Gmail account -- there's a new extension out that makes the process dead simple.
Winning points for clarity with the name Share Extensions, the add-in will automatically create BBCode, HTML, Text, and Wiki markup detailing your chosen extensions. Each extension's Chrome Web Store URL is included, as is its name, and you can optionally include the developer's description as well.
I did have an issue sharing via Gmail when selecting several extensions at once, but the pop-up text generator worked just fine every time. Share Extensions also adds a browser action icon, but you can always right click to hide it or resize the action area and slide its icon behind the double-right arrows.
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.
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.
Google has made it clear that it wants to clean up its search results -- eliminating worthless cruft like the content farms which spam searchers with low-value (and often plagiarized) content. Now, the company has announced a new Google Chrome extension which they hope will aid in the fight.
Called Personal Blocklist, the extension allows Google Chrome users to blacklist certain domains when results appear in Google Search. Click the icon in the browser actions area to see which domains you've blocked, unblock a site, or edit its particulars.
At least one other Chrome extension which provides this functionality has been listed in the Gallery for some time, but the difference here is that blocks will be reported to Google. Google, in turn, will look at user data and possibly use that information to improve its search quality.
Install Personal Blocklist for Google Chrome, and start helping fight search spam!
The bookmark sync extension is now available in the Android Market and ready to keep your Dolphin HD favorites marching in step with desktop browsers -- including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, and Safari. There's not much to see in the Dolphin HD version of Xmarks. Enter your login details, choose whether you want to merge your bookmarks or replace your current Dolphin HD data, and enable auto-sync if you desire. If you have multiple sync profiles configured in Xmarks, you'll be able to select which one you want to use in Dolphin.
Take the awesome power of Wolfram Alpha; add the convenience and intelligence of Google's built-in calculator. Now mix them up and serve in a piping hot Chrome add-on: Chromey Calculator.
When you click the extension's humble button, it opens a quick prompt pane (you can also pop it out to its own separate Chrome window). You can then feed it with any expression Wolfram Alpha or Google Calculator understands, and even mix those expressions up.
Chromey Calculator decides whether to use Google or Wolfram Alpha. You can see what engine it used for your calculation by hovering over a result; clicking the logo takes you to the source page (handy mostly for Wolfram Alpha calculations, which usually yield interesting graphs).
The add-on even supports variables. One proposed example goes like this:
@Everest = height of Everest
@K2 = height of K2
@Everest - @K2 in meters
So this basically takes the height of Everest and of K2 (the world's second-highest mountain) and calculates the difference - all within your Chrome window, without opening any other sites or tabs.
This is very powerful stuff; the only limit is your imagination - I would love to hear any interesting examples in the comments.
Back in 2008, Lee covered SiteLauncher for Firefox. It's a simple add-on that provides you with a customizable "shortcut panel" for your favorite websites. SiteLauncher for Chrome provides basically the same service, but for Google's browser. I've been using it for a few days now, and while it's not perfect, it's still very handy.
Pros: When it works, it really does provide single-keystroke access to the sites I need. Ctrl+Space and then d can take me to Download Squad. I like it. It's very customizable. You can create and delete groups, move sites from group to group, etc. The hotkey assignment GUI is well thought-out. You can see at a glance what hotkeys are already used.
Cons: It doesn't always work. Sometimes I hit Ctrl+Space and nothing happens. That's mainly when the address bar ("Omnibar") is in focus, and I suspect it's due to Chrome's limitations. Still, it's annoying. It's one of those add-ons that takes some getting used to, but once you're addicted, you want to use it all the time. Having it work intermittently just keeps the habit from forming.
Okay, that was just one con -- but it's a big one!
Bottom line: Awesome add-on, if only it worked all the time.
One of my favorite Gmail features is the ability to drag-and-drop attachments onto email messages. That's so cool! There's no more browsing for files - the whole thing feels much more like a desktop app.
drag2up is a Chrome add-on that aspires to bring that same functionality to the whole Web. It's super-cool - when it works. I've selected the screenshot above for that exact reason. The imgur.com link is the result of a successful upload attempt. I dragged an image onto a text area, and drag2up uploaded it to imgur.com in the background, and then it populated the text area with the URL of the image. It even wrapped it in forum-friendly [img] tags for me.
The second line (the one starting with Error) is what happened when I tried uploading a ZIP file. No joy, but I guess that might be resolved in time.
When I tried using drag2up with another edit control (CKEditor running in a heavily-customized environment), it couldn't even modify the text shown in the control. But it did work with a simple text area control.
Bottom line: It's really, really cool, when it works. Let's hope it'll gradually start working with more and more files and editors.
Not everyone uses Google Reader; some people (a dying breed, perhaps) like to consume their RSS feeds locally, using a desktop feed reader. Firefox has long had a Live Bookmarks feature that gave it some of those "desktop feed reader" powers: Live Bookmarks understands RSS, and it can always show you a list of a website's most recent headlines.
RSS Live Links brings just that sort of functionality to Google Chrome, along with a nice extra feature: instant notifications.
Whenever one of the feeds you've subscribed to updates, you get a nice sound effect (a human voice going "Boing!"), the icon shakes, and an unread count appears. When you then click the icon, you can see a list of the unread items in each feed, and hover over them to see a preview. Naturally, clicking an item opens it in a new tab.
This is a powerful add-on; it has a very rich configuration interface, with no less than 20 different options (I counted!). You can also configure the color scheme, select one of several different notification sounds, and customize it in a myriad other ways. Slick!
I am not sure about you, but every time I came across a great tutorial on the Web, I will convert the content to a pdf file and keep it for future reference. Some of you might be pondering why I am wasting my time converting it to pdf since I can just bookmark the site. There are several reasons for this: firstly, I am not always connected to the Web, so if I need the information immediately, I won’t be able to access it. Secondly, there is no guarantee that the site will forever be there for me. It could be available today and disappear the next day (we’ve seen too much of this, don’t we?)
If you are like me, and are also using Google Chrome, you are in luck, here are several PDF extensions that you can use to make the whole conversion process much easier and faster.
1. Save As PDF
This is my favorite extension for pdf conversion. In my experience with several other extensions, this is the best, in terms of the speed and quality of conversion.
After installing the extension, you will see an icon at the toolbar. When you come across any webpage that you want to convert to pdf, simply click on the button and it will start the conversion immediately. The conversion is fast (typically less than 5 seconds) and it runs in the background without disrupting you from your work.
Instead of an icon in the toolbar, the PDFmyURL icon appears in the URL bar. Similarly, on a page that you want to be converted to pdf, just click on the icon and it will do all the work in the background.
The speed of conversion is rather fast, but it is not able to convert images properly for sites that are using lazy loading. In addition, it seems to add an extra margin to the four sides of the page, which make the file size bigger.
Web2PDFConverter is yet another pdf converter extension for Google Chrome. One of its unique feature is the ability to view your converted PDF files in Google Docs. You can then choose to save the pdf file in your Google Docs and free up storage space on your computer.
One annoyance with Web2PDF is that during conversion, it takes control of the browser and prevents you from doing any other things. You won’t be able to switch to other tabs, or even other applications. Doing so will terminate the conversion process. In term of user-friendliness, this is definitely the worst in my opinion.
If you are looking for a pdf conversion tool for your Google Chrome, I would strongly recommend SaveAsPdf. What other tools do you use to convert your stuff to PDF?
There are a ton of add-ons that dim the screen while you're watching a video or playing a Flash game. Heck, some Web sites even have this functionality built right in, no add-on required.
Reading Glasses for Chrome does the same, but for text. As you can see in the screenshot, with Reading Glasses, only the post text is dark, while all other page elements are grayed out. This is accomplished by highlighting some of the text of the post, and clicking the "glasses" icon which appears next to the address bar once the add-on is installed.
I wish the add-on could make the page background dark and the text light. Also, it would be nice if it could make the text a tad larger. Then again - this is what Readability is for. Then again, Reading Glasses is a bit more lightweight and it doesn't impact the site's look-and-feel at all, except for fading it out a bit.
NotScripts is one effort to create such an add-on, and it seems to be fairly well advanced.
The whole thing feels like a giant workaround. It works "by cleverly using HTML5 storage caching to overcome the timing issues," and it requires you to set a manual password by editing an external file so that sites cannot view the extension's white list of "allowed sites."
Mozilla has recently released the fourth beta of the Firefox 4 browser. I have been testing it since the first beta and I am happy to see the progress and the addition of new features with each beta. I have held on the review of Firefox 4 because most of the features are still unstable or not in place. With the release of beta 4, things are becoming more stable and plenty of new (and revolutionary) features are added to it, so it would be a great time to do up a review. There will probably be another one or two more beta before we see the release candidate and the final version.
Firefox 4 has gone through a big design change. The first thing that you will notice is the replacement of the menu bar with a menu button (currently only available in WIndows and Mac version). The new big orange menu button is located on the very top left corner of the browser, and when clicked, will open up a compact menu window. While I don’t really like the orange color and the location that it is situated, I do welcome the idea of replacing the menu bar with the button. It makes the browser more clean and compact.