Chrome: Keeping track of everyone in the news isn't easy. Summer is an extension for Chrome that provides short, biographical info on everyone mentioned in a news story without having to leave the page you're reading.More »
Chrome/Firefox/Internet Explorer: Facebook Chat now includes a feature that lets you know when a friend has read your message—or when you've read theirs. If you'd prefer to keep that information under wraps, Chat Undetected will do it for you. More »
Chrome: Twitter is a great source for news, articles, and a good way to stay in touch with friends, but if your friends are obsessed with some annoying celebrity that you have no desire to read about, Purge Twitter Trends is a Chrome extension that strips specific celebrity trending topics from your feed so you can read in peace without being forced to unfollow them. More »
With each update, Facebook has gotten incrementally more cluttered, perplexing, and ornery—and I'm not even talking about all your annoying acquaintances flooding it with inane status updates. Yet, at the same time, it's become a tool few of us can live without. If Facebook has you on your last nerve, here's how to fix some of its biggest annoyances in a matter of minutes—and with only one new addition to your browser. More »
Chrome: If you want to skim through your Facebook news feed without stopping for each YouTube video someone posts, the Facebook Video Player extension will play videos in the upper right-hand corner of your window, allowing you to keep browsing as it plays. More »
Start Google Plus is a great extension for Chrome and Firefox that lets you update Twitter and Facebook from within Google+, also adding feeds from both social networks onto your main page. We mentioned it in our Facebook to Google+ migration guide, but felt it deserved to be highlighted on its own because it's so useful. More »
Parents fret all the time about protecting their kids on Facebook, but many of the products and services I’ve seen that aim to help are intrusive, and inject the parents into the child’s normal, healthy online social life in a way that’s awkward for both.
Tabulate! is a Chrome Extension that allows users to quickly share every tab in their active browser window with a single link. The extension uses the previously mentioned BridgeURL service, and adds a small button to the top bar that automatically copies a BridgeURL link to the clipboard. The BridgeURL link leads to a page with individual links to every page that was tabbed in the original Chrome window, along with an option to open them all at once. More »
The pocket-size, point-and-shoot digital camera was once a standard part of many consumers’ electronic tool kit. But it has been challenged by smartphones with better and better built-in cameras and photo apps. While they lack some photographic capabilities, like physical zoom lenses, phones are carried everywhere all the time. Plus, they are wirelessly connected to email and the Web, where digital pictures often wind up.
Chrome: Facebook has gotten seriously cluttered over the years, and if you'd like to tone it down by removing, say, the Groups button, the Messages dropdown, or the ads, Minimalist for Facebook will let you tweak it to your liking. More »
When TweetDeck landed in the Chrome Web Store, it seemed like an indication that it might eventually evolve into a pure HTML5 Web app. Now it looks as though that's exactly what's going to happen, with TweetDeck announcing that a new, not-just-for-Chrome Web client is ready for beta testing.
It's a natural progression for TweetDeck, especially since its originally Adobe Air app is practically all Web code. TweetDeck Web will sport a feature set which is nearly identical to the Chrome app, with the notable exception of Twitter streaming.
Initially, TweetDeck is targeting Firefox 4 and 3.6, Google Chrome, and Safari. Opera and Internet Explorer 9 won't be invited to the dance until a bit later on.
If you'd like to get in on the TweetDeck Web beta, head on over and register -- or sign up using your existing TweetDeck account.
Windows/Mac: RockMelt, the new Chromium-based social networking browser, updated today to add improved Facebook chat, real-time Twitter updates, a bookmark-and-read-later function, and support for Chromium 10. More »
Those of you who spend a lot of time online discovering and listening to music may want to check out Like.fm, a new app which is designed to automatically track and share what you play. It's a sort of 'discovery aggregator,' pulling in tunes from services like YouTube, Pandora, Rdio, and Grooveshark -- which already offer their own discovery tools.
Like.fm aims to provide one-stop shopping, so you and your friends don't have to remember to follow each other on a dozen different services. By aggregating data from a wide variety of sources, Like.fm hopes to make itself the place to get your new music recommendations. Facebook Connect support is also built-in, making it easy to find and follow your friends as you build out your Like.fm profile.
Chrome: If you're a heavy commenter on other web sites, it can get hard keeping track of it all. Chrome extension Comment Save logs each comment you make around the web so you can check up on them. 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.
AOL has been busy re-tooling itself ever since head honcho Tim Armstrong took the reigns, and one area that has received a lot of attention is social networking and content discovery. Lifestream is, perhaps, AOL's biggest social app, and now there's a second: Offsite.
Currently, Offsite is available as an extension for Google Chrome. Once installed, simply click the icon in your Omnibar (or the folded-over page corner in the top left) to load the Offsite overlay. The page you're currently viewing slides down and to the right, with relevant tweets taking the left column and related posts from other websites appears at the top (image after the break). A stream of trending topics is also shown, and Digg, Twitter, and AOL Mail sharing buttons are provided. Offsite also displays the page's "heat index," giving you a vague idea how popular it is right now.
Unlike AOL Lifestream for Chrome, Offsite loads in a flash. While it's handy in its current state, I'd like to see the sharing options tweaked. Facebook should be an option, and support for other email providers (and even the good old mailto:) would be a welcome improvement.
I'd also like to see this implemented as a bookmarklet so that users of other browsers can use Offsite -- which shouldn't be hard, given the nature of most Chrome extensions.
The Offsite header bar
Full disclosure: AOL is indeed our benevolent overlord. However, Download Squad bloggers are under no obligation to speak kindly of their products or applications.
AOL Lifestream is an excellent app -- and it's certainly a far cry from the clunky, over-designed browser and dial-up software you used to see given away on floppy disks. Ahh, the good old days -- which are gone, and really weren't that great if you're comparing dial-up to DSL, cable, or fiber. Moving on!
Lifestream is a solid social networking aggregator. With support for key social sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr, Digg, Delicious, and now Foursquare, Lifestream presents a clean, simple way to keep tabs on all your friends' activity in one centralized location. While Lifestream might be a bit underpowered for social superstars, It's an excellent choice for average users -- as well as savvy users who don't need a more complex app.
Already available via the web and in the App Store, AOL has now added an extension for Google Chrome. While it's not going to transform Chrome into the super-social browsing experience that Flock 3 presents, the Lifestream extension is still a very handy way to keep your entire stream within easy reach without being distracted by it.
Let's start with my one gripe about the extension: it's slow to load. Pretty much every other Google Chrome extension I've tried out appears instantly after I click its icon. Lifestream, on the other hand, takes between three to five seconds to appear. That needs to be addressed -- users don't like to wait, and they don't like it when UI elements don't respond the way they want them to.
Beyond that, the Lifestream extension is pretty slick. Your stream is presented in a scrollable window with filtering and sharing options. You can post multi-network updates and share URLs, view trending topics, and view your account settings. Currently there's no support for files, so you can't share pictures or videos via the extension -- hopefully that will come later. Lifestream does allow you to comment on/reply to updates that appear in your stream, and retweeting is supported as well.
For users who are looking for a way to keep the conversation going on multiple networks and don't require some of the heavyweight features you find on apps like Seesmic Web, Lifestream is a good option -- I just hope they do something about the sluggish startup.