One of the ways Internet Explorer 9 seeks to "bring the Web to your desktop" is by allowing sites to be pinned to your taskbar, and use jump lists to quickly and directly access specific parts of a website. A handful of big-name sites already offer Windows 7 integration, including Facebook, Twitter, CNN, Flixster, and IMDb.
Microsoft has also shared how this works (and Scott Hanselman has posted an excellent how-to article), so it's possible for other browser makers to implement, too. If you're a Google Chrome user, in fact, you can install an extension (developed by an independent programmer) which adds jump list actions to a drop-down menu on the Omnibar!
Unsurprisingly called IE9 Jump List Tasks, the extension adds a green arrow to the Omnibar whenever you visit a supported site. If jump list actions are detected, clicking the arrow will display a menu like the one you see above. It's not quite as cool as being able to poke your taskbar icons, but it is a neat display of how the feature can be utilized in non-IE browsers. The extension also didn't work for me on all the sites I tried -- Twitter and Facebook lists weren't detected -- but it was still cool to see it pop up elsewhere, like on IMDb and Flixster.
The extension is also very configurable, allowing you to show or hide the search box, move it to the top, limit the amount number of days of history to display, and more. Got another favorite quick-access feature for Chrome? Share it in the comments!
Gmail interface tweaks tend to be all or nothing: you either keep the standard Gmail interface with all its bells, whistles and distractions, or you hide all the links and sidebar doodads at once. The Minimalist Gmail Chrome extension is different: it gives you control over 40+ individual elements of the Gmail interface, from the top bar all the way down to the footer.
Minimalist Gmail is mainly useful for hiding parts of the interface that don't do anything for you: the invites box (why is this still around, anyway?), the legal section in the footer, the links at the top to other Google sites, and virtually anything else you can think of. It's got other perks, too: you can replace the links in the Google Bar with custom links of your own. Mousing over each option will show you the part of the interface it affects, so you can see what you're about to hide.
Lifehacker calls Minimalist Gmail "the best Gmail tweaker for Chrome yet," and they're probably right. With this many individual options for fine-tuning, individual obsessives will find certainly find something to nitpick here, but the average user who's annoyed with Gmail clutter will absolutely love Minimalist Gmail.
Chrome: Adding extra features to Gmail isn't a new idea, but Minimalist Gmail for Chrome is the best tweaker yet: You can hide items, add row highlights, and even change the five Google links at the
Google Chrome has supported extensions, sometimes called add-ons, for some time now. Recently the Google Chrome Web Store was added to the browser which has added web apps to the picture. The terminology can be confusing and this article tries to explain the differences.
Lets take a look first at how extensions and web apps can be installed. The majority of extensions is available at the Google Chrome extensions gallery. Web apps on the other hand are available at the Chrome web store.
But there is more to it than just a different location on the Internet. Web apps, according to Google are “applications you can run inside your browser with a dedicated user interface and, typically, rich user interaction”. Web apps therefor are nothing more than interactive websites at this point in time. Google’s intention is to formalize “the web app concept in a way that will be familiar to anyone who’s used apps on a smartphone”.
A web app basically is a link to an interactive application on the Internet.
Extensions on the other hand often extend the functionality of the Chrome browser and websites viewed with the browser. They are not limited to providing their functionality on a specific website either.
One handy new context menu extension is Apps list, which (you guessed it) displays your installed Chrome Web Apps and lets you launch them without calling up the new tab page. Your apps are listed in alphabetical order, and you can choose to add a disabled apps shortcut -- which zips you to chrome://extensions and focuses on disabled items. It would be nice if the page filtered only disabled apps and extensions, but that's a limitation in Chrome -- not this extension.
Apps list also provides shortcuts to manage your extensions and jump to the Chrome Web Store. If you don't want to clutter your browser actions area with one of the app launchers we posted previously for Chrome, Apps list might be just what you're looking for.
Google's browser is a little over two years old, but it's making major waves on the web. This year, Chrome added extensions, a webapp "Store," stable Mac and Linux releases, and more. Here's what intrigued us all most about Chrome in 2010. More »
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.
Fans of Quora, the web's most useful and addictive question-and-answer site, now have a new way to get their fix: a Quora Chrome extension. Developer Andrew Brown recently posted his spiffy Chrome add-on in response to (what else?) a Quora question. It adds a Quora button to your toolbar, giving you one-click access to the Quora search field, as well as showing your current number of unread Quora notifications.
Brown says that he's working on an option to pop up your actual notifications when you click on the toolbar icon, and he's even posted a work-in-progress screenshot of what those notifications will look like. For now, you can install the extension or follow its development via a GitHub repo.
These days, you no longer have to be an esoteric nerd to sport a dual-monitor setup. Heck, many of us use three monitors, and some have been known to use entire walls. Now, when you have such a setup and try to watch a YouTube video in full-screen, you quickly discover an irritating fact: While you're watching a video in full-screen on one monitor, any click on another monitor collapses the video back to its tiny windowed size.
There are ways to get around this by replacing specific Flash DLLs with tweaked versions, but really, who wants to mess with system files like this? Window Expander for Chrome is a far less invasive solution. It adds a button to Chrome's Omnibar which you can click to display a full-screen window with the video you're currently watching. Since Chrome has so little, well, chrome, it's the next best thing to full-screen. Window Expander is simple, and it works. Go give it a try!
Third-party browser tracking -- and how to give users more control over it -- is a hot topic right now. Microsoft and the FCC have similar plans, one former Google employee recently took the wraps off his take, and now there's another Chrome extension which turns the tracking blocker knob up to eleven.
Do Not Track (DNT) ChromeBlock, and it gives you an easy way to shut down around 90 different Web tracking networks. Just about every well-known harvester is listed: Google, MSN, Alexa, Doubleclick, Omniture, Quantcast, Tynt and Cleeki, to name a few. You can choose to block networks as DNT detects their presence on a page, or you can opt out in advance by clicking the show global settings link. The overlay on DNT's browser action button tells you how many networks are detected and how many you've chosen to block.
Do Not Track works nicely in tandem with Disconnect, so those of you looking for as much tracking protection as possible can go ahead and install both extensions. Even if you're not concerned with blocking the connections, it's very interesting to see which sites you browse are sending data to different providers.
The developer of Adblock Plus, long the most popular Firefox extension (both officially and around these parts), has maintained for some time that he wasn't all that interested in the demands of porting his add-on to Chrome. But things have changed, according to TechCrunch, and the developer has teamed up to expand the AdThwart extension into a full-fledged Adblock Plus for Chrome (and then, likely after that, Safari and Opera ports). [TechCrunch] More »
It’s hard to believe, but it’s already been a full year since we launched the Google Chrome extensions gallery.
It’s been a busy twelve months:
- The gallery has grown to over 8,500 extensions and 1,500 themes.
- A third of Chrome users have at least one extension installed.
- Over 70 million extensions and themes have been installed.
On the client side, we added features like:
- New APIs for things like context menus, history, and cookies.
- Integration between extensions and HTML5 features like notifications and geolocation.
- Extension sync, so your favorite extensions are always with you.
- Native support for Greasemonkey user scripts.
Looking forward, we’re very excited about the Chrome Web Store, where developers will be able to easily sell their apps, extensions, and themes.
And we’re not going to slow down on the features, either. The next Chrome release will add API support for the omnibox and pinned tabs. Beyond that, we’re hard at work on popular requests like network interception and download management APIs, as well as new experimental APIs for sidebars and development tools.
Thanks for all your support over the last year, from bug reports to testing new APIs. It’s been a bit frantic at times, but mostly it’s been fun.
Chrome: Browser extension Chrome Time Track is a simple tool to measure the amount of time it takes to complete a task or milestone from inside Google Chrome. More »
Bit.ly recently released link bundles -- a feature that lets you share multiple URLs using the same shortened bit.ly link -- but it's not the easiest feature to use. The Tab Bundles extension for Chrome makes copy-pasting links into bit.ly a thing of the past, by allowing you to bundle all your currently-open tabs with one click.
Tab Bundles works with both bit.ly and j.mp (a bit.ly-owned even shorter URL), and it allows you to create custom filters that automatically tell it which tabs to include in your bundle. Basically, it's a real time-saver for anyone who regularly shares a pile of links on Twitter. Even if you only need to use it once, installing and uninstalling an extension in Chrome might be easier than copy-pasting half a dozen links.
Chrome/Windows Phone 7: Got a new-fangled Windows Phone 7 model? Use Chrome as your main browser? Push web pages and copied text from your big-screen system to your mobile device with one click after installing this Chrome extension. More »
If you're a music lover who browses the Web with Google Chrome, ExtensionFM is really a must-have extension. It allows you to build a library of all the music you discover while sifting through music sites like Spinner, Tumblr blogs, and just about anywhere else you find embedded MP3 tunes on a page.
Dan Kantor and crew have just released ExtensionFM (exFM) v2, and it's a major upgrade. For starters, there's social integration with Facebook, Twitter, and Last.FM -- making it easy to scrobble, tweet, or post songs you enjoy to your wall. If you haven't created an exFM account yet, now is the time. The new version also includes a note function, which adds songs to your public profile page. People can follow you via the exFM to keep abreast of your latest audio finds or simply drop by the page to catch up. Dan's profile page is here, in case you're curious what the exFM frontman likes to listen to.
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.