Google Chrome's five best extensions

Extensions are finally available for a beta version of Chrome, and I've been spending the last day putting them through their paces. I've come up with my five favorites. Keep in mind that extensions are still in beta, and so is the version of Chrome that runs them. So you may experience bugs or anomalies.

Note that to install extensions you'll need the beta version of Chrome. To get it, visit the extensions page and you'll be able to download the beta from there, as well as browse extensions.

Installing an extension is simple: Click Install, and from the screen that appears, click install again. Most extensions will then show up on the upper right hand corner of Chrome, as you can see in the screenshot below.

extension_basic.jpg

In some instances, you use the extension by clicking its icon; in others, you don't need to. To see your list of extensions and uninstall any, click the Chrome tools icon and select Extensions. You'll see a list of them, be able to change options on any that allow you do to that, and either disable or uninstall them as well. Unlike in Firefox, when you uninstall an extension, you don't need to restart the browser.

Enough background --- time to get to my favorites.

Xmarks for Chrome

Xmarks is the single best browser add-on I've ever used. It lets you keep your bookmarks in synch among multiple computers using multiple operating systems using multiple browsers --- and now, finally, it's available for Chrome. I use Firefox on the PC, Mac and Linux; Internet Explorer on the PC; Chrome on the PC; and Safari on the Mac, and thanks to Xmarks, no matter which browser I use, my bookmarks are always up to date on every browser.

Xmarks also has some extras, including providing information about Web sites when you do searches. I find that feature annoying and turn it off; you might want to as well.

Google Quick Scroll

Google Quick Scroll solves my biggest complaint when doing searches -- after you click a search result and go to a Web page, you don't know where to find the text you searched for. With this nifty extension, after you do a search and end up on a page, you'll see text at the bottom right of Chrome, as you can see below, that shows the text in context on the page. Click it and you jump directly to that text. It's one of the biggest time-savers for frequent Internet searchers.

extensions_Google_Quick_Scroll.jpg

Facebook for Google Chrome

Any Chrome user who uses Facebook will want the Facebook for Google Chrome extension. Click its icon, and you'll be able to read your Facebook news feed and wall, as well as update your status, without having to visit Facebook. You can see it in action, below.

extensions_facebook.jpg

IE Tab

Like it or not, there are plenty of Web pages built specifically for Internet Explorer. Visit one of them in Chrome and it breaks ... unless you have IE Tab. Similar to an extension that does the same thing for Firefox, it will let you view a site using IE right inside a Chrome tab.

FlashBlock

Do Flash ads and other Flash content annoy you? If so, join the club --- and get rid of them. This extension will block Flash content on Web pages, but also let you decide on a which sites on which you want to allow Flash.

If you've got favorites of your own, let me know, below. 

See also: First Look: Google Chrome for the Mac -- fast, slim, and very beta

FREE Computerworld Insider Guide: IT Certification Study Tips
Join the discussion
Be the first to comment on this article. Our Commenting Policies