When you browse the web on your computer, what browser do you use? I use Google Chrome, and while I have a variety of reasons for this browser to monopolize my webpage consumption, today I’m going to focus on one of my favorite features: extensions. While browser plugins might not be something new, as most browsers have their fair share, Chrome seems to have a heck of a lot more and some of the most useful that I’ve seen. If you think you are browsing the web now, wait until you try some of these.
One of my biggest peeves is the amount of advertising to which I am subjected when browsing the web. There are a wide selection of extensions that can help by blocking the ads, but AdBlock Plus is my choice. In addition to blocking ads, it can block tracking information and malware too. It regulates what can be blocked through the use of filter lists, and of course, you can customize these to fit your needs. One such option can even block those social media sharing icons you see on nearly every site these days. Not only is AdBlock Plus available for Chrome, you can get it for almost every other browser too.
Another extension that I rely upon is LastPass. I’ve discussed LastPass before and having it installed as an extension for Chrome is my favorite way to manage the myriad logins I have to remember for all the websites I visit. Once you create your LastPass account, you can save and recall your login information securely from ANY computer you are using easily with the extension, and you can access your information on their website. The LastPass website can even allow you to use an onscreen keyboard to enter your password in case you’re wanting to avoid any keystroke logging that might be trying to capture your private login information at the hotel business center you’re using.
One of my habits when I’m browsing the web is opening a lot of tabs. I like to keep tabs open so if I need to go back to where I was, it’s still open in another tab. This can get overwhelming and that’s where TooManyTabs comes to the rescue. Once installed, this extension gives you a graphical view of all the tabs you have open so you can easily sift through them to get back to the one you want. You can sort them by name, date, and URL, and there’s even a feature to suspend tabs to reduce the load on system resources.
Like many others, I can get sidetracked while I’m browsing the web or checking out Facebook and having a helper to keep me on track is quite useful. StayFocusd is a great addition to your Chrome extensions in that it will keep track of how long you’ve been spending on a certain page and prompt you to block these sites after a certain limit has been reached. These settings are ultra-customizable and this is where StayFocusd really excels. I am easily distracted and this one is very necessary for me to stay on task.
Whether you use Chrome or any of the other major browsers available, there are many little “helpers” that can really enhance your browsing experience. Let me know which ones you depend on and drop me a line! I’ll give them a try and if I like them as much as you do, I’ll write about them in a future column.