Chrome/Firefox/Internet Explorer: If you need a bit of help sifting through your Google search results, browser extension Google +Like will direct you toward the most popular pages by telling you which results have the most "Likes" on Facebook. More »
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 install a lot of extensions in Chrome, you may be annoyed that the Extensions page doesn't have a keyboard shortcut for quick access.
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.
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.
Certain extensions—like Gmail notifiers, for example—are great when your browser is running, but can't run when it's closed. Chrome's added a new feature that will let extensions stay open, even if you don't have any open browser windows. More »
If there's one single thing that truly sets Chrome apart from its herd of rivals, it's the Omnibar. Chrome users already know and love this feature, but Google's just made it possible for developers to create extensions that will push it even farther ahead of the competition by providing an API for it. Now, there are already huge numbers of extensions available for Chrome -- many of which we here at Download Squad couldn't live without -- but none of them have thus far been able to make full use of the Omnibar.
As an example of how the API can be used, take a look at Switch to Tab, shown above. It allows users who leave ridiculous amounts of tabs open to use the Omnibar to search them all for the specific tab they need to find. It only shows up to 5 results right now, but the concept is pretty decent just the same -- and there's no telling what kind of goodies that devs will come up with now that they can treat a browser's address bar like a command line.
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.
One of the most powerful aspects of Google Chrome is the omnibox, also known as the address bar. You can type URLs and searches into one unified place and it all just works. With the new omnibox API, extension developers can make the omnibox even more powerful.
The omnibox API lets extension developers add their own keyword command to the omnibox. When the user types a query prefixed by this keyword, the extension can suggest potential completions and react to the user's input.
For example, this extension lets you search and switch between your open tabs from the omnibox:
Keep an eye out for cool new extensions as developers get their hands on this API!
CueThat is a slick little browser add-on that lets you add any movie you happen upon while browsing the Web to your Netflix queue. Just highlight a title, right click and choose CueThat from your context menu, and voila: it's added to your list. It even works with movies that are still only screening in theaters.
CueThat is offered as an extension for both Firefox and Chrome, though the bookmarklet works just as well and is usable in any Web browser. It's well worth adding to your bookmark toolbar if you're a Netflix user who hunts for movie reviews or recommendations while browsing the Web.
Chrome only: One of the many things new users learn about Chrome, fairly quickly, is that right-clicking on images doesn't offer a "Properties" option. Get back your simple image information window with the Image Properties Context Menu extension. More »
Just install SpellBook and use Chrome's bookmark manager to drop your bookmarklets into the folder the extension creates. Now when you want to fire up you favorite marklet, you can simply click your right mouse button, hover over SpellBook, and then click the one you want to execute. The extension also adds two-click access to the Chrome bookmark manager.
Looking for some handy bookmarklets to install, too? Check out our list of favorites -- and remember, they'll work in practically any Web browser!
Google, always out to improve their search engine to allow for maximum efficiency, has released
the Personal Blocklist extension for Chrome which allows users to block certain sites from showing
up in their search results.
What this extension intends to do is give users of Chrome the ability to weed out content
farms (sites that boast data of questionable quality). As users do this, Google will collect
such information in order to provide better search results in the future by no longer allowing
such sites to show up.
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!