With almost 60 percent share of the browser market, Chrome is around three times more popular than its closest rival, Internet Explorer. But if you want to improve the Chrome experience further, you'll need to install some killer extensions. There are hundreds available in the Chrome Web Store, but if you were ever wondering what are those two or three really useful extensions you should be using, here are five of the very best.
Pro tip: If you are not a Chrome user and prefer to use Firefox or one of the many Chromium-based browsers like Opera, odds are most of these are also available for your browser of choice.
Here's one I’ve been using for a long time. Once Hover Zoom+ is installed, hovering the mouse pointer over images in supported websites will automatically expand them to their full size. It sounds simple, but after using the add-on for a while, you won’t want to go back.
Plenty of sites support Hover Zoom+, including Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Google Images, and YouTube. It’s an open source version of the original Hover Zoom, which a lot of users abandoned due to concerns about privacy and adware.
YouTube is the second biggest site on the internet in terms of traffic, so it’s no surprise that there are countless Chrome extensions dedicated to enhancing your video-viewing pleasure. At the top of the pile sits Magic Actions, an add-on that lets you customize YouTube the way you want it.
The extension’s functions range from minor (but helpful) stuff like mouse wheel volume control, color filters, and night/day viewing modes, to automatically playing videos in high resolutions, taking 1-click snapshots, extensive video info, and much more.
It’s a fact that many people on the internet still use terrible passwords. Even those that prefer something harder to crack than “123456” often have the same login credentials for several sites, which as Mark Zuckerberg will tell you, is a security risk. There’s also the problem of forgetting which passwords go with which websites. These days, a password manager is an almost essential Chrome add-on, and LastPass is one of the best around.
Once installed, the only thing you’ll need to remember is the master password; LastPass takes care of the rest. It generates complex logins and stores them, autofilling passwords whenever you visit a site. Other features include account syncing across multiple devices like smartphones and tablets, fingerprint support, and even two-factor authentication for that extra layer of security. This extension is an essential addition to Chrome.
There will always be those instances when you find something really interesting on the internet, be it an article, video, or whatever, but you just haven’t got the time to check it out. Sure, you could bookmark it but an even better option is to use Save to Pocket; the best 'save it for later' Chrome extension / service available.
Over 22 million people use Pocket, and it’s easy to understand why. Once installed, a simple click on the icon will save whatever your viewing for later. And not just on the current device, but across multiple linked machines; I often Pocket items on my PC and read them later on my iPad. There’s also a social element to it, where you can follow friends, and see recommendations based on your interests.
In the age of multiple screens and devices, an extension that links them all together can be incredibly useful. That’s where Pushbullet comes in; an add-on that lets you move anything from one machine to another with ease, pushes your phone’s notifications to your PC, and receives/sends SMS messages straight to and from your computer.
The extension brings a popup whenever someone sends an SMS message or you receive a phone notification (everything can be customized). Once it’s installed, you may never again reach for your phone while at the PC. While other extensions offer the same features, Pushbullet brings them all together in a single package.
More Great Extensions
There are a handful of other extensions we've already covered and are worthy of mention.
For example, the Gmail Offline and Boomerang extension for Gmail to improve Google's webmail platform, Chrome Remote Desktop for secure remote access, Buffer for all your social media needs, and Data Saver to help conserve your precious data allowance by optimizing pages.
5 days, 5 killer tech tips is a TechSpot monthly feature
On the third week of every month, we'll publish 5 killer tech tips, one for each day of the week for a given app, service, or platform.
This week we are covering great tips and tricks for the Google Chrome browser.