New year, new you. We’re going to be reviewing ten extensions for the Google Chrome web browser which will hopefully make you more productive, saving you time and money in the process. Extensions are a real strength within modern browsers, giving more features and abilities with one-click and are often superior to built-in functionality. Having too many active can make your browser slower so it’s important also to keep an eye on which ones are enabled and if you notice a deterioration in performance, be prepared to disable it. I’ve tested all of the recommendations below and have been happy with how each of them has operated.
I was struggling under the weight of dozens of various logins and passwords until Colm helpfully reminded me of LastPass. It saves all of your usernames and passwords under one account and adds a one-click login, remembering your details for you. Using the same password each time is a massive security risk and LastPass can generate a secure, unique password for new registrations and store it securely for when you next login. It’s free to use on desktop and mobiles and two-factor authentication is included.
The Great Suspender
The developer of this, Umar Sheikh, has created an excellent enhancement to the default history functionality within Chrome. It displays your recent history, recently closed tabs, your most visited pages and recent bookmarks in an easily accessible one-click pop-up. It’s a productive time-saver and works much better than the clunky default.
If you’ve ever wondered when browsing a website ‘What font is that?’ – WhatFont is the answer. You could always dig into the rendered CSS code using Web Inspector but WhatFont provides a one-click solution which is much more efficient. The extension also detects if the font is loaded from Typekit or the Google Fonts API which makes it easy to decide if you can quickly test a similar typographic choice on your own site.
This extension has been around for years and remains a great way to grab a screenshot, or more usefully, an entire page capture. It’s not 100% accurate, on some sites with delayed menus appearing on scroll it may make a mess of it but it works pretty well for the majority of sites. I tend to copy and paste the capture into Photoshop but it’s also handy to use the result in conjunction with a service such as pasteboard.co or https://snag.gy to create a shareable link to the image.
Nothing dents productivity more than dozens of tabs and social media updates. Stayfocud is a great way to concentrate solely on the task in hand without distractions by blocking websites for a set period of time. You can allocate yourself a set amount of browsing time and once that is used up – sites blocked will remain inaccessible for the rest of the day. It’s like a cold turkey treatment for smokers, harsh but knowing you have a limited time to waste can help plan short browsing breaks much better.
I was on the lookout for a tool like this for some time so was excited to discover Loom, a free screen recorder. This is a great way to capture short video clips rather than writing a long explainer essay. Studies have shown that video is much easier to digest and follow along to than long passages of text. It’s a real time saver in dealing with clients or when writing support tickets. Every 10 seconds of video is equivalent to 81 seconds of typing so time savings can be vast and really add up. Just click, record and share – it’s very easy.
This is a handy little extension which will highlight spelling and grammar errors in your text and suggest quick corrections and improvements. If you frequently write in a hurry, it’s nice that mistakes like that are picked up quickly. It’s annoying and unprofessional when an email or article contains basic punctuation mistakes. Personally, I find it a useful tool to use at the end of a writing burst as correcting as you go can interrupt your flow. It does have a rather expensive monthly paid version of the plugin but for writing within Chrome, the free version does the job very well and is a great tool for anyone who writes.
With the SimilarWeb extension, you can quickly check the global ranking and monthly visits of any site on the web. Apart from sites with too low traffic to be yet indexed, or brand new entries, SimilarWeb provides is a great way to quickly gauge the popularity and trend lines of any website. It’s an easy approach to compare your business metrics with major competitors and in the process, help understand your audience better.
I was a bit skeptical initially with this one as it seemed too good to be true. When on the cart page of many eCommerce sites, the Honey extension automatically kicks in. It quickly starts testing potential coupon codes in order to get you a better deal on the fly. With nearly 7 million downloads it’s an extremely popular tool. Plus, judging by its reviews it has saved many people considerable amounts of money and time. It’s already helped me save over $50 so a thumbs up from me so far.
Over to you
What are your must-have extensions for Chrome? Agree or disagree with any of the choices listed above? Let us know in the comments below.