On its own, Chrome is a pretty fantastic browser, but extensions increase its potential exponentially.
So, what are extensions, exactly? Essentially, they’re small programs that add extra functionality to your web browser. For Chrome, there are thousands of available extensions which perform a huge variety of functions – everything from extensions that automatically find shopping coupons, to extensions that make your computer run faster. A visit to the Chrome Web Store Extensions page can be overwhelming, so we’re going to simplify things for you.
For Chrome newbies, consider this your extensions starter pack. If you’re a Chrome power user, you’ll no doubt be familiar with some of these, but you might learn about some you’ve never heard of before. Once you try any one of these extensions, you won’t know how you lived without them.
1. The Great Suspender
If you install but one extension on this list, make it The Great Suspender. As great as Chrome is, it’s a bit of a memory hog, which contributes to slower performance and poor battery life for laptop users. This magical extension pauses unused tabs after a user-specified amount of time, saving precious RAM.
If you have a computer with, say, 4GB of RAM or less, this extension will change – and by “change” we mean “speed up” – your life.
The problem with passwords is that you have too many of them. For that reason, you probably make them all the same or similar, which is easier to remember, but less secure. LastPass solves both of these problems. It generates and remembers nearly impossible-to-crack passwords for each site that requires a login, all managed through one master password you choose.
LastPass had a security vulnerability earlier this summer (user passwords are encrypted, though, so those were safe), but until a truly more secure method of authentication is determined (think biometrics), it’s still the best solution.
Like emoji, GIFs have become an essential part of the Internet zeitgeist, but it can be a pain to find the exact one to impress all your friends with your vast internet skills. Giphy makes that a lot simpler by integrating a simple Gif search tool right in your browser.
With the death of Google Reader in 2013, Feedly quickly rose to take up Reader’s mantle. For news junkies and those who need to keep up with a particular subject area, Feedly is essential. It compiles all your favorite sources into categorized feeds and a small icon at the bottom right of each page lets you add a feed to Feedly. It’s RSS, but better.
Grammarly is spell check, but better. It offers contextual spell check and grammar advice, so if you’re the sort to get your “its” and “it’s” mixed up (definitely not this reporter nope no way), this extension will save you scores of embarrassment. If you’re willing to shell out for a premium Grammarly membership, the extension will even suggest better vocab and check for plagiarism.
6. UBlock Origin
Sometimes you just need to turn down the noise. UBlock Origin isn’t the most popular ad blocking extension, but it doesn’t require much memory to run and lets users specify which sites they want ads blocked on and which they don’t. The big power button icon you see when you click on the extension stops ad blocking on the site you’re viewing, but automatically turns it back on when you go to a different site.
7. HTTPS Everywhere
For those who value security – and if you don’t, you should – HTTPS Everywhere is a must-install. This Extension, created by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, switches every HTTP website to load over a more secure HTTPS connection.
Do you ever get the sinking suspicion you’re not getting the best deals shopping online? Honey fixes that. When you go to check out at an online shop, it automatically searches for coupon codes and applies them, saving you precious cash.
9. Save to Pocket
This is one of many “save for later” services, but Pocket is one of the most popular and highly recommended of them all. If you see a great article you won’t have time to read when you find it, a click on the Pocket icon saves it for later. It’s cross-platform, and you can even tag things you save, which is excellent for the hyper-organized.
10. Milennials to Snake People
Because it’s not all about “productivity” – aren’t you tired of the seemingly endless stream of baseless hot takes about millennials? Millenials to Snake People is the extension you need and deserve. As the title suggests, this extension changes any usage of “millennials” into “snake people.” But wait! There’s more: it also changes “millennial generation” to “snake person generation,” “Generation Y” to “Serpent Society” and “digital natives” into “Parseltounges.”