Chrome: TabRocket is a small Chrome extension that allows you to shuttle open tabs between remote Chrome sessions. If you've ever wanted to send a tab to your home computer or your laptop across the room, TabRocket can help. More »
Fortunately there's a new extension which can do just that. What?! An extension to peek under the hood of other extensions? Yep. It's called Extension Gallery Inspector, and it's pretty slick.
Install the Inspector and head to the Chrome Extensions Gallery. When you browse an extension's detail page, the lightning bolt icon will appear in your Omnibar. Click it, and Inspector will unpack the .CRX file and scan for API calls, permissions, and OAuth support. It also tells you the uncompressed size of the extension and whether or not it has an options page and browser action icon.
You'll obviously need a bit of technical knowledge to benefit from Extension Gallery Inspector as it stands right now. Still, for power users who want to know what an extension has access to -- or developers who are just curious how a particular extension works -- Inspector is a must-have Google Chrome extension.
- The omnibox API allows extension developers to integrate with the browser’s omnibox. With this API, you can build custom search support for your favorite website, keyboard macros to automate tasks, or even a chat client right into the omnibox.
- The infobars API allows extension developers to display infobars across the top of a tab. These infobars are built using normal HTML, so they can be heavily customized and interactive.
Verified authors start appearing in Chrome Extensions Gallery -- but not on Google's own extensions?
The Chromium blog announced the change two days ago, and several extensions are already displaying the verified author stamp. While I've seen everything from more well-known developers like WOT to humble individuals verifying their Tumblr sites, one thing surprises me. Google hasn't verified any of their extensions yet.
It's a bit surprising. After all, it's Google's Gallery and browser -- and a change they dreamed up, developed, and implemented. You'd think stamping your own submissions to the Gallery would have been a top priority -- both to give end users a visual cue that all these Google extensions are the genuine article and to set a precedent with developers.
This is only the third day, of course, and Google will no doubt give their extensions the check mark at some point -- I just find it strange that they didn't have them marked from the get-go.
It's just about that time of year again -- time for millions of students to put their noses to the grindstone and head back to school for another year of academic excitement!
Few learning tools are as versatile as your trusty laptop or desktop computer -- and your Web browser is likely one of the most-used programs on it. If Google Chrome is your browser of choice, there are loads of useful add-on enhancements in the Extensions Gallery which can turn Chrome into a powerful tool for staying focused and productive while tackling your coursework.
Take the jump and have a look at thirteen Chrome extensions I've found useful... and be sure to share your own picks in the comments!
Clip to Evernote
Evernote is a fantastic research and productivity tool -- and it's made even better when you plug the Chrome extension into your browser. Clip, tag, and describe just about any content you stumble across as you browse and retrieve it later from the Evernote desktop app or the equally handy (and far more pocketable) mobile version.
Sure, you can just open another tab or window when you want to look up something on Wikipedia, but you don't have to. The Wikipedia Companion extension lets you do it in a pop-up without having to leave the page you're currently browsing. It's very useful for doing things like looking up some background info about Peter Forsberg while you're browsing TSN instead of finishing an important blog post.
Ultimate Google Docs Viewer
Recent versions of Chrome have a built-in viewer for PDF documents, but the Google Docs Previewer can also handle Microsoft Word and PowerPoint files. Ultimate Docs Viewer keeps an eye out for supported files and zips you over to the online previewer for a fast, lightweight to peruse them.
Want a single extension which adds a whole slew of efficiency-boosting features to Chrome? Check out FastestChrome. It provides useful enhancements like auto-loading the next page in multi-page articles, "linkifying" plain-text URLs, providing pop-up definitions for words you highlight, adding related articles to Wikipedia pages, and a whole lot more. There's a good reason more than 300,000 Chrome users have the FastestChrome extension installed: it's pretty dang useful.
Postponer Adder and Manager
Postponer is a pair of unofficial ReadItLater extensions for Google Chrome. The adder allows you to submit new URLs to your ReadItLater queue while the manager provides a searchable, sortable pop-up display of both unread and read items. It's a nice way to stash pages you want or need to read when you're short on time.
ChromeMilk / Unofficial Google Tasks / ToodleChrome
Google Tasks, Remember the Milk, and Toodledo are all excellent task management apps. Whichever you choose to help you get things done, there's a Chrome extension which helps you stay on top of your tasks while you browse.
If you use Google Calendar to keep your schedule in order, DayHiker deserves a spot in your browser. It provides a slick heads-up display of your upcoming appointments. DayHiker can also display your Google Tasks, has a handy pop-out alarm clock function, and it works with both standard Google accounts as well as Apps accounts.
Staying on task isn't always an easy thing -- especially in your Web browser, where there are so many awesome sites out there where you could be enjoying yourself while you slack off. StayFocusd is here to help! Add sites to your block list and set up time restrictions and StayFocusd will make sure you don't fritter away more than your allotted amount for the day. Once the timer hits your magic number, the site is blocked until the following day.
As stable as Google Chrome might be, there's always the chance you might be victimized by an untimely browser crash. If one happens while you're filling out a form, it's a pain in the butt to have to start from scratch after you re-launch Chrome. That's where Lazarus comes in -- it keeps tabs on forms while you fill them out and saves the data temporarily. If Chrome should happen to crash, Lazarus pops your previously entered data back in. It can be a real frustration preventer.
After the Deadline
Chrome has a built-in spellchecker, but you can bolt on a full-featured virtual proofreader by installing After the Deadline. ATD checks for grammar, syntax, and even common stylistic mistakes and it works just about anywhere you can type in some text (even things like Facebook wall posts). ATD is like having your own private proofreader/editor right inside Google Chrome.
Here's one for the font nerds: there's a CSS declaration called optimizeLegibility that fixes kerning and ligatures in a lot of Web fonts. For the less design-savvy amongst us, that means it makes sure certain letter pairs are spaced properly and combined into special characters where appropriate. Designers don't always use optimizeLegibility, though, so it's time to take matters into your own hands with an extension for Safari or Chrome.
The extensions just insert an optimizeLegibility declaration into the CSS of any page, so they're super-lightweight and won't increase page load times at all. The Safari version is by Chris Morrell, and the Chrome version is by John Michel. Firefox users, don't worry: optimizeLegibility is on by default for text sizes 20px and larger.
Chrome only: Google Chrome extension Foxish Live RSS mimics Firefox's Live Bookmarks feature by creating folders on your bookmarks bar that update automatically from your favorite RSS feeds. More »
For quite some time now, intrepid users have been able to flip a command line switch and enable app support in Google Chrome's dev and canary builds (as well as Chromium). Late last night, however, the switch became unnecessary in Chromium -- apps support has now been turned on by default.
Why is that a big deal? For starters, it means that full-time app support is coming very soon to Chrome -- first in canary and the dev channel. The platform is ready for some serious tire-kicking, and Chrome's cutting-edge users will (as always) be the first wave of testers.
With Google's recently-accelerated release schedule, it likely won't be long before apps make it into the stable channel. Chrome OS is due on tablet devices later this year, and apps will need to be ready to rock prior to their arrival.
This also means that we'll soon witness the evolution of the Chrome Extensions Gallery. It's due to be re-branded as the Web Store and will house not only extensions and themes, but also full-fledged web apps like the ones Google demoed way back when like Plants vs. Zombies, Lego Star Wars, and no doubt some more practical ones as well (if you're into that sort of thing... ).
While you wait for the actual Chrome Web Apps to arrive, why not at least install some of the app tab eye-candy in our previous post? We've got about two dozen .CRX downloads for you, covering everything from GMail and Facebook to Grooveshark and Pandora!
As always, if you're looking for the most recent Chromium snapshot builds for your OS, you'll find them here!
TabSense is a Firefox Tab Candy inspired extension that allows you to group your tabs into separate categories.
Install, click on the icon or simply press Shift+Ctrl+S and you are ready to go.
Future versions are also set to include tab movement, search and other features.
Chrome: Yet Another Google Bookmarks Extension (YAGBE) is an easy to customize Google Bookmarks manager for Google Chrome. If you use both Google Chrome and Bookmarks, YAGBE lets you customize everything from shortcut keys to default labels. More »
Chrome: If you're not enamored with the default Chrome start page, Start! offers a polished and customizable alternative. More »
One feature I like being able to toggle in Firefox is tab thumbnails -- not the ones on the Windows 7 taskbar, mind you. I'm talking about in-browser thumbnails which get displayed when switching tabs. Chrome OS has that snazzy, Cover Flow-style switching interface, but that's not part of the Chrome browser on other OSes.
There are, of course, options available in the Google Chrome Extensions Gallery for those of you who enjoy a visual reminder when looking for that tab you misplaced -- or if you just want a little eye candy!
This one might be the closest the Firefox's built in interface. Tabs Plus presents tab thumbnails in three columns and provides a search box at the top -- which might come in very handy for those of you who open more tabs by the truckload. Multiple windows are supported, and their contents are separated by a horizontal rule. Incognito windows will display as well, provided you've checked the box to allow access.
You can also merge everything you have open into a single window, bookmark everything, and close everything with a single click.
While Tabs Plus is nice, it's static. If you're really jonesing for that animated Cover Flow action, you've got a couple options. The three mentioned here all work the same way: click the browser actions button and a popup window lets you arrow through your tabs.
I don't usually pick on apps for memory usage, but I might make an exception for Visual Tabs. With a modest 13 tabs open, Visual Tabs wolfed down a supersized 240MB memory. That's actually more than Chrome, my tabs, and all my other extensions were using at the time.
The Light version keeps things simple: it's a more lightweight version of what Visual Tabs does with no extended options -- just six background colors to choose from.
TabsPreview, on the other hand, is loaded with options. You're not limited to a simple horizontal flow for your tabs: choose from a grid view, Vista-esque diagonal layout, carousel, or a simple horizontal display with zoom effect. Tabs Preview can also show your closed tabs, and you can set any background color you want and add a linear or radial gradient effect.
There's also a search option and a grouped display which limits the preview display to tabs from a specific domain. Tabs Preview is a very good visual switching extension, but I would like the option to use a popup instead of its own tab -- and I'm also not so keen on the bouncy effect on the toolbar icons in the bottom left.
...And we were excited to find ourselves listed! Alongside other great blogs like CNet, PC Magazine, and Lifehacker, you'll find Download Squad. That's pretty select company, and we're all grateful for being included.
So thank you, josorek, for your hard work and for making us part of your extension. Keep up the good work!
Apparently, the Google Chrome team has been circulating a list of awesome Chrome extensions around Google, and everyone there liked it so much that they published it on the Official Google Blog. You can see the whole list there, but here are a few picks I wholeheartedly agreed with:
Readability: Great for removing ads and extra cruft from articles, paring them down to highly-readable text.
Turn Off The Lights: Darkens video pages to highlight the video you're watching. Works on YouTube and many other video sites.
After The Deadline: The ultimate spelling and grammar checker, brought to you by Automattic, the company behind WordPress.
There are more where those came from, to pump up your browsing experience. I'll say this for Google: they have great taste in extensions for their own browser. It's nice to see them encouraging their developer community, too.
It does exactly what you'd guess it would from the name: park your mouse above a thumbnail, and an enlarged version quickly appears. There's nothing to configure -- if you're browsing a supported site (theoretically any site which uses direct links to images), Hover Zoom just works. Hover Zoom's developer has built in a plug-in system, so adding additional sites should be a snap if you're up for a little code hacking.
This is one extension you might also want to enable in Incognito mode -- for those times when you feel like doing some track-free browsing on /b/ or with the safe search filter turned off on Google, for example. Not that you're doing that kind of thing, of course...
Once you sign in, the extension icon in your Omnibar will display a small, green dot to let you know it's ready to store your notes. When you're on a conversation which warrants a note, simply click the icon and enter your text into the pop-up and click save. You're limited to one note per message at the moment, but it's still a handy way to add a reminder to your conversations.
They're saved into your Google Docs storage, so you can access your raw notes from there as well. They're not very useful without the context of your Gmail conversation of course, but it's certainly a logical place to store the data.
I’ve been branching out to try and pick up some “real” programming skills. The more I delve into Firefox or Chrome extensions, the more I realize I need a solid understanding of fundamental coding. So, I’ve decided to learn Python. To help me reinforce what I’m learning, I’ve started up a new site called “Let’s Learn Python,” in the hopes that others will benefit as well. Come learn it with me.
First, add some command line switches to your Chrome shortcut:
--enable-apps : turns on extension apps, otherwise you'll get an error when you try to install them.
--apps-panel : (optional) instead of loading the new tab page, Chrome will display a floating panel above the current tab
If you need help adding command line switches to Google Chrome, check our how-to post!
Now, on to the good stuff: installing the trio of Google apps!
Here's a (not-so-well-kept) secret: Google Chrome has been shipping a handful of extension/web apps for quite some time. They're hiding in a folder called resources -- which you'll find in your Chrome profile folder. On Windows, look in %localappdata%\Chromium\Application.0.428.0\Resources. Linux users can check in /opt/google/chrome/resources/.
Mac users, feel free to share the path in the comments! Scroll to the end to see the Mac version, contributed by Spenser Jones! Our thanks!!
Remember that path... you're going to need to browse to it three times (assuming you want to install all three apps).
Head to your Google Chrome extensions tab (chrome://extensions) and make sure you see the developer mode buttons above. If you don't, click the plus next to the text to reveal them.
Now click load unpacked extension... and drill down to the folder you located above.
Click into the folder of the app you want to install (like gmail_app), then click OK. If the install is successful, Chrome will refresh your Extensions page and you should now see the icon for the app.