Useful Google Chrome Extensions

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

AtlasVPN report shows that Google Chrome is the most popular browser in the world, with over 3.3 billion users as of April 2022.

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

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

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

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

To be on the safe side, Chrome users are advised to keep track of their installed extensions and uninstall any that are no longer in use.

However, if users thoroughly research an extension on the Chrome Web Store considering the reviews and authors of the extension, they can mitigate the risk of malware installation.

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 anyone can take to improve their online security, computer security professionals recommend using a password manager.

Password managers allow you to create and store unique passwords for each online service. Then all you need to remember is one strong master password to unlock your credentials.

This avoids the pitfalls of password reuse. If a data breach or leak compromises your password for an online service, it will not affect your other credentials.

Good password managers encrypt your credentials to ensure that they protect against potential damage from 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 extend the functionality of Chrome’s password manager outside the browser.

However, using a standalone password manager ensures that your credentials are not tied to a particular operating system or browser.

Push-chip

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

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

You can also ignore or reply to them in your browser, including replying to WhatsApp and SMS messages.

Tampermonkey

Tampermonkey allows users to modify the appearance and behavior of a website by running user scripts.

User scripts are pieces of JavaScript code that run in your browser as if they were pulled from the web server storing the web page.

Given this, Tampermonkey cannot run scripts that require more than user server access privileges.

Examples of user scripts include automatically closing YouTube ads, adding Google search functionality, and reCAPTCHA auto-solving.

Marinara: Pomodoro Assistant

Marinara is a time management assistant offering users customizable focus and break timers to maximize productivity.

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

The extension tracks time spent at work to give users insight into their productivity during the day.

Honey

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

Although this extension mainly supports US-based and international e-commerce platforms, users can suggest Honey to add online retailers.

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

Users can track the price of a product by adding it to the extension’s drop-down list, alerting them via email when a price drop is detected.

Shortcuts (custom keyboard shortcuts)

Shortkeys lets you create custom keyboard shortcuts for use in Google Chrome.

This extension comes in handy for improving productivity and automating actions that typically require multiple 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 reload a page.

Return YouTube Dislike

As the name suggests, this extension helps to see dislikes on YouTube videos in Chrome.

It combines the likes and dislikes of extension users with historical likes and dislikes data to display the most accurate ratings.

Before YouTube removed the dislike count in December 2021, it was a useful metric to know if audiences viewed a video as valuable or not.

YouTube said the removal was to help protect creators against harassment and to reduce aversion attacks.

Wrangler tab

Tab Wrangler automatically closes inactive browser tabs after a period of time to prevent Google’s memory-intensive browser from affecting your computer’s performance.

The extension keeps a list of all automatically closed tabs in a “corral”, which you can access to reopen tabs if needed.

You can also configure Tab Wrangler to prevent your favorite websites from automatically closing.

It does not save the state of a web page, 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 want quick access to web pages written in other languages, such as international news or foreign language announcements.

Users can highlight or select text for translation quickly without having to access Google Translate in another browser tab.

Google Keep

Google Keep’s Chrome extension allows users to take notes from their browser and sync them with other versions of the note-taking app.

This is ideal for users who find it difficult to stay focused on a task when switching between different application windows to take digital notes.

dark reader

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

The extension enables night mode by inverting bright website colors and allows users to customize brightness, contrast, sepia, and grayscale settings.

Users who prefer a lightweight site can add it to the ignore list.


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