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15+ great Google Chrome extensions

We've already mentioned other ways to power up Google Chrome. Before extensions arrived on the developer channel, Userscripts and bookmarklets were your only options. Both are still great ways to add some kick-ass functionality to Chrome. If you're running the stable or beta builds, you may want to stick to them for now.
Now, onto the extensions!

If you have a favorite that I left off, feel free to share it in the comments!
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The big three
AdBlock+ [click to install]
Probably the most frequent reason users say they won't switch from Firefox is "No ABP for Chrome." Check again. It's available, and while it doesn't have quite the same amount of element-blocking-fu that the Firefox version does, ABP for Chrome is still awesome. There are two things you need to know:
  1. The button may be blank. As you can see in my screenshot, there's no visible icon. If this happens, just mouse around to the left of the wrench menu icon until the AdBlock+ tooltip appears.
  2. Ads aren't blocked until you subscribe to a list.
  3. To subscribe click the icon and select preferences, pick a list, check the box marked convert and use blocking rules, press the subscribe button, then click save under the global filters textbox. All done, click close at the bottom (or close the tab itself).
My personal preference is to not use adblockers. After all, those adverts allow us to pay writers for the content you read here on AOL. I do, however, roll with FlashBlock - because I don't like have page load times killed by oversized Flash animations. Add FlashBlock and Flash elements won't play unless you click them.

LastPass [click to install]
LastPass was one of my favorite extensions for Firefox, so I was thrilled when Joe Siegrist at LastPass told me he had a Chrome Extension ready to test.

LastPass is, simply put, one of the best secure password managers and generators around. You can see the Chrome extension in action in my previous post. It rocks, and I wouldn't surf without it.

Xmarks [visit the Xmarks beta site to register & download]
Xmarks has become an incredibly popular bookmark syncing tool. It's a longtime favorite of Firefox users and the Chrome version - though only in alpha testing - looks like it will be every bit as good.

Two options worth knowing about:
  1. Encryption: by default, Xmarks only encrypts logins. In the options screen, you can tell it to encrypt all communication.
  2. Automatic sync: want your extension to periodically update changes in the background? Set this option so you don't have to perform manual syncs.

Eleven more worth trying out!

SmoothScroll [click to install] Yet another Firefox favorite that users demanded for Chrome. If you find Chrome's default scrolling a bit too choppy, this extension will be a welcome addition.

Session Saver [click to install]
Sure, Chrome can automatically restore the tabs from your last bit of web browsing, but what if you want the ability to restore a sets of tabs from a specific session? Session Saver allows you to manually save an entire set of Chrome windows and tabs (or just the current window) for easy restoration at any time.


Google Reader Checker [
click to install] [Chrome 4/developer only]
For the sake of productivity, I do my best to keep Google Reader closed until I have a minimum number of unread items. Otherwise, I find myself checking it all too often. Google Reader Checker adds a button with an unread count to Chrome - making it easy for me to see when I need to catch up on feed reading.

Minimize to Tray (Windows only) [click to install]
Want some extra room on your taskbar when you don't need Chrome front and center? Install Minimize to Tray and the Chrome is discretely tucked away in the system tray.

Vince's Clock [click to install]

The browser in Google Chrome OS is going to have a clock somewhere on its interface. Want one in Chrome right now? Vince's Clock adds one to your bookmarks toolbar. This is also useful if you set your taskbar to autohide but still want the time displayed somewhere prominent. Hover over the analog clock, and the extension also displays the current date.

With certain themes the clock is a bit hard to see -- hopefully the developer will add an option to customize the font color.

gPDF [click to install]
Another feature of Chrome OS is that the browser will intercept certain document types and display them using Google's own web-based viewer. gPDF can add that functionality right now -- at least for Adobe Acrobat files.

The extension looks at links on your current web page and rewrites the links to add the necessary bits to open them Google Viewer. This actually adds a bit of security to your browser -- since you're not opening files locally using a potentially vulnerable app like Adobe Reader.

Mouse Stroke [click to install]
Wish Chrome had mouse gesture support? Wish no more! Grab this extension and you can perform a variety of browsing maneuvers using only your mouse.

Tablet and touchscreen users: you may also want to take a look at ChromeTouch. It's made to let you take advantage of your screen's touch fu.

Click & Clean [click to install]
HotCleaner provides browser add-ons for Firefox, IE, and now Chrome that add 1-click cleanup of your cookies, browsing and history. Click & Clean sports several options, including the ability to launch an external application when you click the TP roll icon.

Bubble Translate [click to install]
A number of the blogs I read link to non-English sites. Unfortunately, like Corbin Dallas my linguistic skills are mostly limited to English and Bad English. Well, that and Spanish.

Bubble Translate taps into Google's multilingual conversion engine and translates selected text on any web page into your selected native tongue (set it in the extension's options screen). You can also customize the bubble and text color to your liking.

WOT/ WebOfTrust [click to install]
This is another extension I was glad to see arrive on Chrome. WOT provides community-powered trust and safety ratings for web pages. Not only will WOT mark links for you as safe and unsafe, it'll also block potentially harmful pages with a large, red warning screen if you happen to wind up on one.

Tabs to the Front [click to install]
You can always just hold down shift + control + click to force links in a new tab to load in the foreground, or you can install this extension. If keyboard-free browsing is your style, Tabs to the Front is a nice extension to add.

Want to try out some more? Chromeextensions.org is a great resource. Until Google sets up something official, it's the best place to find new extensions for Chrome.

Tags: add-ons, bookmarklets, browser, browsers, chrome-4, chromium, developer-channel, extensions, features, google chrome, google-chrome, GoogleChrome, lists, productivity, UserScripts, utilities

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