Useful Google Chrome extensions

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Google Chrome has several browser extensions that can make daily browsing more efficient and productive.

AtlasVPN’s report shows that Google Chrome is the world’s most popular browser, with more than 3.3 billion users in April 2022.

StatCounter puts Chrome’s desktop browser market share at 75.78% in South Africa, with Microsoft Edge coming in second with 10.89%.

Although users are spoiled for choice when it comes to expanding their browser’s functionality, they should exercise caution when installing extensions.

In February 2020, security researchers discovered that over 500 popular browser extensions uploaded private browsing data to malicious parties.

Similarly, a previous analysis showed that websites could track users’ Internet activity by detecting which Chrome extensions they have installed.

As a safety precaution, Chrome users are advised to keep track of their installed extensions and uninstall those no longer in use.

However, if users investigate an extension thoroughly on the Chrome Web Store by taking reviews and the extension authors into account, they can mitigate the risk of installing malicious software.

Below are some of the most useful Google Chrome browser extensions to augment your daily browsing.

A password manager — LastPass, Bitwarden, 1Password

As a basic step everyone can take to improve their safety online, computer security professionals recommend using a password manager.

Password managers allow you to create and store unique passwords for every online service. You then only need to remember one strong master password to unlock your credentials.

This helps avoid the pitfalls of password reuse. If a data breach or leak compromises your password for one online service, it won’t impact any of your other credentials.

Good password managers encrypt your credentials to ensure they guard against the potential damage of a data breach of their systems.

Many browsers like Chrome come with their own built-in password managers. Google also recently announced that it was expanding the functionality of Chrome’s password manager outside the browser.

However, using a stand-alone password manager ensure your credentials are not bound to a particular operating system or browser.

Pushbullet

Android smartphone users can install Pushbullet to receive notifications on their desktop instead of pulling out their smartphone every time.

By installing the Android application and linking it to the browser extension, Pushbullet can display all your notifications in your browser.

You can also dismiss or respond to these inside your browser, including replying to WhatsApp and SMS messages.

Tampermonkey

Tampermonkey lets users alter a website’s appearance and behaviour by running user scripts.

User scripts are bits of JavaScript code that run in your browser as if it was retrieved from the web server storing the web page.

Considering this, Tampermonkey cannot run scripts that require more than user access privileges to the server.

Examples of user scripts include automatically closing YouTube advertisements, adding Google search functionality, and automatic reCAPTCHA solving.

Marinara: Pomodoro Assistant

Marinara is a time management assistant offering users customisable focus and break timers to maximise productivity.

The Pomodoro technique splits work into 25-minute intervals separated by 5-minute breaks, with a longer break following the fourth work period.

The extension tracks the time spent on work to give users a snapshot of their productivity during the day.

Honey

Honey automatically applies promotional coupons to your online shopping cart across over 30,000 e-commerce websites, including Amazon, Udemy, Apple, and Microsoft.

While this extension primarily supports US-based and international ecommerce platforms, users can suggest that Honey add online retailers.

If you regularly shop on Amazon, Honey compares a product’s prices from different sellers to list the lowest option.

Users can track a product’s price by adding it to the extension’s droplist, alerting them with an email when a price drop is detected.

Shortkeys (Custom Keyboard Shortcuts)

Shortkeys lets you create custom keyboard shortcuts to use within Google Chrome.

This extension is handy for improving productivity and automating actions that usually take several mouse clicks.

For example, you can set shortcuts to close all other tabs, switch to the last used tab, open an application, close a tab, and hard reload a page.

Return YouTube Dislike

As its name implies, this extension returns the ability to see the dislikes on YouTube videos inside Chrome.

It combines extension users’ likes and dislikes with the historical like and dislike data to show the most accurate ratings.

Before YouTube removed the dislike count in December 2021, it was a useful measure to tell whether the public viewed a video as valuable or not.

YouTube said the removal was to help protect creators from harassment and to reduce dislike attacks.

Tab Wrangler

Tab Wrangler closes inactive browser tabs automatically after a set time to prevent Google’s memory-hungry browser from eating into your computer’s performance.

The extension keeps a list of all the automatically closed tabs in a “corral”, which you can access to re-open tabs as required.

You can also configure Tab Wrangler to prevent your favourite websites from getting auto-closed.

It does not save a web page’s state, so any web application and web form content will be lost when a tab is automatically closed.

Google Translate

The Google Translate extension is ideal if you quickly want to access web pages written in other languages, like international news or foreign-language announcements.

Users can highlight or select text to quickly translate without navigating to Google Translate in another browser tab.

Google Keep

Google Keep’s Chrome extension lets users take notes from within their browser and synchronises these across the other versions of the note-taking application.

This is ideal for users who struggle with staying focused on a task when switching between different application windows to take digital notes.

Dark Reader

While many websites and web applications have started implementing a dark mode, Dark Reader enables it for unsupported sites and applications.

The extension enables night mode by inverting websites’ bright colours and lets users customise the brightness, contrast, sepia, and grayscale settings.

Users who prefer a site in light mode can add it to the ignore list.


Now read: We installed ChromeOS Flex on an old laptop — with impressive results



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