I spend many hours browsing the web using Google Chrome everyday. I don’t know about you but if I invest a lot of time in doing something, I like to make the best out of it. If you use Chrome as your browser of choice, there are many ways to make your life easier. Google offers tons of extensions for Chrome that enhance your browsing experience in different ways.
Because of the huge number of options out there, it is hard to figure out which ones you should give a try without overloading Chrome with extensions and, therefore, slowing down its performance. Below I listed 15 extensions that are my personal must-haves for a better browsing experience. Some of them are already featured in our post about the best productivity extensions for Chrome which you should definitely check out as well.
This great extension is my absolute favorite. AdBlock blocks all the annoying ads that you normally come across while browsing the web. It takes even care of ads on Facebook, YouTube and Hulu. The best thing is that you don’t have to set it up in any way. Installing it is already enough.
Although this extension is making your life online much more convenient, I ask you to unblock the ads on smaller websites that you use frequently. Those kind of sites depend on the income on ads much more than bigger ones do. So, if you do this with your favorite blogs and websites, you help the people behind them make some cash with the hours they invest in delivering you a great experience.
If you’re spending (or wasting) tons of time on Reddit everyday like I do, then I can only recommend the Reddit Enhancement Suite extension (RES). With all its functions, it enhances your browsing experience on Reddit.
RES allows you, for example, to view images and videos within the page so that you never have to leave Reddit website. Other great features are infinite scrolling, keyboard navigation, easy account switching and displaying all images on the site.
Hover Zoom basically enlarges images while your mouse cursor hovers over an image thumbnail or an image link. You don’t have to actively click on an image link again which is great. Hover Zoom should work on any site which uses direct image links, so Facebook, eBay, Flickr, Reddit and many more sites are supported.
Hover Zoom also offers some customizations, such as disabling zooming for specific websites and delay time.
UPDATE: It has been discovered that Hover Zoom is infected with malware. It has been removed from the Chrome Web Store and I urge you to delete this extension in case you installed it.
With Awesome Screenshot, you can easily make screenshots of a complete website, the current view of it or a rectangular part of it. Once captured, you can edit the image, make annotations and blur sensitive information.
After editing the shot, you are offered multiple options to save the image. For example, you can save the image locally on your computer or save it temporarily (3 days) on awesomescreenshot.com and get a direct link to the image. This makes sharing screenshots incredibly easy and fast.
A must-have for everyone using Gmail! This awesome extension informs you about incoming mails via a subtle pop-up in the bottom right corner of your screen. Within this pop-up you can mark the incoming mail as read or delete it without having to visit your Gmail account. You also have the possibility to click on the Checker Plus icon next to your address field to reach an interface showing your newest mails which you can mark as read, delete, archive or open it inside Checker Plus.
The extension is very customizable so that you can adjust the on-screen time for the pop-up, notification sound and much more.
Whenever you come across an unknown word or term, you can get an instant definition of it with Google Dictionary. After selecting a word, the extension gives you a simple explanation.
You can also click the dictionary icon in the top right corner to get a more detailed description. In case you need the definition of a word that is in your head but not in a website, no problem. Click on the dictionary icon and type it in the text field.
If you want to add more spice to your “New tab”-page, then Speed Dial 2 is an extension you should consider. It replaces the original new tab page with a clean design with your favorite pages and fast access to recently closed sites and your bookmarks.
You can either let Speed Dial use a screenshot of the page as a thumbnail or use an image of your choice. There are many options so that you are able to customize your page the way you want.
Pocket is a great tool to save great webpages and blog posts so that you can view or read them later in your browser or mobile app. This extension basically places an icon to Chrome which adds the current webpage to your Pocket with one click. Saving great web content for later use was never easier.
If you aren’t using Pocket yet, you are missing out on something. Head over to their page and sign up. Check out the video below to get a better idea about Pocket.
What’s the best thing to do if you end up having tons of open tabs that you need later on or you simply want to do something else on the web? Saving all your open tabs is the best way to go. Making countless bookmarks or other methods are just too time-consuming and too much of a hassle. Session Buddy is a great extension that allows you to save as many browser sessions as you like. Saving sessions and closing many tabs will also increase Chrome’s performance since it doesn’t have to handle a ton of tabs anymore.
Hola Better Internet
This extension is especially interesting for people living outside the U.S. Hola gives you access to sites and web content that is blocked in your country (company or school). Basically, Hola is a free VPN proxy service. It is also available on Android.
This extension enhances your YouTube experience in many great ways. It gives you the option to play all videos automatically in HD (if possible), block ads and control the volume with your mouse wheel. You can also activate its Cinema Mode which shades the whole YouTube page for a more immersive viewing experience. There are many more features to discover, which makes Magic Actions for YouTube the best all-in-one YouTube extension.
There is this odd phenomenon where you really want to be productive and work as you never worked before but within minutes you magically end up on Facebook, Reddit and YouTube and hours of wasted time go by. That’s probably the #1 time killer when you want to get something done.
StayFocusd is the bouncer you need that keeps you from entering time-wasting websites. This extension allows you to restrict the time you are allowed to spend on specific sites. Once your time is up, you get kicked out and aren’t allowed to visit it for the rest of the day.
StayFocusd is highly customizable which makes it an amazing tool to increase your productivity. You can, for example, only block certain in-page content such as videos or images.
Lazarus: Form Recovery
I am pretty sure you were at least once in a situation where you filled out an online form with a lot of text and, all of a sudden, the site crashes or your session timed out. After saying a prayer and reloading the page, you only see empty text fields and you feel like throwing your computer (or modem) against your wall. Lazarus keeps you from ever experiencing such a nightmare again. It autosaves everything you put into a form so that you can always retrieve it should something go wrong. For the privacy-concerned ones, Lazarus gives you the option to encrypt the saved content and to protect it with a password.
In case you use multiple accounts on the same website (Twitter, Facebook …), then this extension is something for you. Multi-Account Login allows you to open new incognito tabs in which you can log in to a site, already opened in a normal tab, with a different account. You no longer need to use an incognito window or multiple Chrome accounts to do that. Staying in the same browser window for that is much more convenient.
I am sure I missed a couple of great extensions in this list, so please help me and post your favorite extensions in the comments!