There’s no hiding it: I am a huge fan of Google Chrome. And I’m not shy about it. If I see you using Firefox (or god forbid, Internet Explorer), I’ll probably say something.
One of the many things that I love about Chrome are the fantastic extensions. So as a public service, and in no particular order, I present to you my top ten favorite Chrome extensions. (All free, of course.) And these are just the tip of the iceberg. If you still need another reason to go Chrome after this list, come talk to me.
Auto Bitly (view in Web Store)
Bit.ly was the first link shortener I ever used, and I’m still partial to the service, primarily because of the simple and user-friendly analytics that it provides. The step of actually going to the Bit.ly website to shorten my links is often a step too far, however. This extension makes it about as easy as it possibly could be. Simply right click anywhere on a website, and this extension adds a “Copy Short URL For This Page” option to the menu. Click that, and the Bit.ly link is copied to your clipboard, ready for action.
Add Facebook Events to Google Calendar (view in Web Store)
The name pretty much says it all. I love Google Calendar, but I used to be dismissive of Facebook Events, because they always required an extra step of copying the information down into my calendar. This extension adds a simple link to any Facebook event that will automatically export the event details to your Google Calendar. Elegant and brilliant.
Evernote Web Clipper (view in Web Store)
If you use Evernote, and you use Chrome, you probably already use this extension. This allows you to easily send any webpage to your Evernote account.
FB Photo Zoom (view in Web Store)
This may be the most ingenius extension on this list, and yet you might not even realize its value until you try it out. Once installed, this extension will automatically expand any photograph thumbnail on Facebook simply by hovering over it, eliminating the need to click on each image. This extension will cut the time it takes you to skim your newsfeed in half.
HootSuite Hootlet (view in Web Store)
There are few social media tools that I endorse as whole-heartedly as HootSuite. This extension makes it incredibly simple to post a website link to any of the networks that you have connected to your Hootsuite account. Simply click the icon in the status bar and you’ll get a simple popup, allowing you to customize and post your message.
Readability (view in Web Store)
If you’re like me, you’re easily distracted by all that the internet has to offer, but sometimes you need to buckle down and actually read something. This extension, with the click of a button, will transform your website into an elegant and minimalist reading surface, eliminating ads, links, and other distractions. Use Chrome’s built-in Presentation mode combined with this extension to enter your own distraction-free womb of productivity. You can even save the page to read later, or send it to your Kindle, if that’s your thing.
Screen Capture (by Google) (view in Web Store)
I have to take a lot of screen shots for my job, and my tool of choice for this is actually the Screenshot Plus Dashboard Widget, which is hands down the simplest and most elegant solution for taking screenshots on a Mac. However, there are a few things that Screenshot Plus doesn’t do, and that’s where the Screen Capture extension comes in. This allows me to take a picture of an entire webpage (scrolling all the way down to the bottom), as well as easily make notes, edits, and redactions to the screenshot afterwards. A must have.
Search Select (view in Web Store)
This is perhaps the most creative time saver here. With this extension installed, simply highlight any text on a website, and you’ll instantly get a popup menu allowing you to instantly apply the selected text to a Google search, Google Image search, Wikipedia search, Twitter search, and many other applications. This extension actually has a relatively robust settings panel, allowing you to customize it exactly how you want it.
StayFocusd (view in Web Store)
This is another great extension for the easily distracted internet user. List all of the extracurricular sites that typically distract you on a given day, as well as the amount of time that you will allow yourself on those sites. There are all sorts of customizable options for your own particular workflow, and even a “Nuclear Option” that can block all websites for a specified amount of time, with no option to cancel it.
Google Reader Inline (view in Web Store)
This is a fantastic addition for the Google Reader user. As you probably know, many feeds in Google Reader will display the entire article, while some will only display the first few sentences, requiring you to leave Google Reader and go to the actual website in question to read the rest. This extension adds a simple button that will display the website in a simple popup window, allowing you to never leave your Google Reader tab.
Like I said, these are only my ten favorite at the present moment, but there are so many more to choose from, and I feel like I find a new one every day. Which ones did I miss? Leave your recommendations in the comments.