The majority of blogs and a lot of websites display social media widgets on their pages. They display Facebook likes, Facebook users, Twitter tweets, Disqus comments and a lot more. Depending on the site, it can add a lot to the loading time of the website.
WidgetBlock offers a way out, at least for users of the Google Chrome web browser. The Google Chrome extension basically blocks the majority of social media widgets on all Internet websites the user opens in the browser.
It removes the widgets from the page so that they are not displayed anymore on the page, or at least replaced with a non functioning place holder.
Here is a screenshot of a Techcrunch article without the extension installed:
And here is the same article with the extension installed and enabled:
And finally how it looks in the Firefox web browser with NoScript enabled:
As you see, there is not much of a difference in page design. WidgetBlock comes with an option page to enable individual widgets, which is obviously helpful if they are regularly used by the Chrome user.
The options page lists several dozen Web 2.0 and statistics sites and services that are blocked by the extension. Among them services that are not shown on the page like Google Analytics or Scorecardresearch.
Chrome users who encounter a lot of those social media and stat tracking widgets and scripts may want to install WidgetBlock in their browser to make the pages that embed the widgets load faster and less obtrusive (via).
Options provided are to open the selected link in a new tab in the same browser window or in the current tab. This works fine in most instances, but not all the time. It is for instance not working in Google Search. An error message is displayed if Safy is used to display a search result in a sandboxed tab.
Then again, it works very well for normal links on most sites. Ideal for opening a link on Twitter, Facebook or blogs in a safer environment.
Safy is available only for the Chrome browser. It can be installed directly from the Chrome extension gallery.
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."