I currently utilize Chrome as my Interwebs browser of choice. After being a loyal Firefox user for several years, I made the switch just a few months ago mostly because of performance issues and bulk of everything that was running on it. I actually would have switched sooner if the the functionality of certain Firefox extensions had been available for Chrome. But thankfully I’ve now found the perfect mix of extensions!
I tried to be very minimalist about it, since Chrome already has a lot of neato things built in (syncing, developer tools, app launching, etc). The following list contains all the extensions I use:
- Adblock Plus – It blocks ads, of course! ;) And you can selectively allow ads on specific websites you don’t mind seeing them on. For example, I allow ads on Wowhead because I want to support the site. Also they asked me nicely to do so (as in, when I had Adblock enabled there was a polite message displayed with the request, haha!)
- Attachment Icons for Gmail – Purely for vanity reasons, I like to see what kind of attachments come with emails. It helps me the most when I do extensive searches for email with certain attachments and because I never delete emails. Like ever. I still have my “welcome to gmail” email from 2004. :D
- Boomerang for Gmail – I recently heard about this extension on Lifehacker and have only used it a couple of times, but it’s so cool! It allows you to “boomerang” an email you receive to come back later in case you don’t have time to read it now, but you don’t want it sitting in your inbox. You could also use it to easily send yourself reminders!
- Eye Dropper – Easily pick up colors from web pages and copies the hex value to your clipboard. Also comes with a handy color wheel to quickly fine tune shades.
- Fitbolt – I just started using this last week and it’s really made a difference during my long and sedentary work day. ;) It pops up a little bubble every so often (I have it set for every 50 minutes) and instructs you to do a different stretch each time. It can vary from just a simple wrist roll to actual push ups and jumping jacks! I find I have more energy and feel better throughout the day when I do this. It also syncs your activity with your FitBit if you have one!
- Quick Bookmarks – Displays a popup of your bookmarks for easy selection. I used to have all my bookmarks (organized into folders) display in a bar at the top of my browser but elected to go this route to save some screen space.
- RSS Subscription – This is the only thing that I was surprised to find Chrome did not have integrated. It adds a feed icon to the address bar that allows you to easily subscribe to that website’s feeds, if any exist. Since I like to fill up my Google Reader, it was definitely a must have!
- ScriptNo – This one is essential, probably more so than any other extension. It blocks all scripts from running on websites unless you whitelist that site or selectively enable parts of it at the domain level. You can be quite choosey with what you want to block too. It also has an “antisocial” option that will disable those pesky tracking social buttons (aka, the Facebook “Like” button). I enabled that function so I can, for example, whitelist and browse Facebook itself without any trouble but still be able to selectively block its buttons and tracking scripts on other sites.
- scroblr – Automatically scrobbles the music you listen to through multiple web apps (Pandora, Grooveshark, etc) to your Last.fm account! I love seeing how my music tastes change over time.
- Validity – Easily validate webpages with the W3C Validation Service in a single click. If any errors are returned, they show up in Chrome’s built-in developer console.
- Vanilla Cookie Manager – Allows you to whitelist cookies that you want to keep and will auto-delete the rest. I really like how you don’t have to constantly choose whether to enable/disable cookies for websites on first run (like a couple Firefox addons I used in the past). If you decide you want to keep certain cookies, it’s a simple set and forget.
For web development, I didn’t need any additional extensions because Chrome’s built-in Developer Tools work perfectly. It is a fine replacement for Firebug (which I couldn’t live without in Firefox). I wouldn’t really recommend Firebug Lite (the only version that works in Chrome) because it can be slow and isn’t as robust as the main extension or Chrome’s tools.
And that’s it! I still do think Firefox is a good browser and maybe I’ll end up going back to it eventually. But for now, Chrome is (in my opinion) the speediest, most efficient, and shiniest browser to use. :)
Topic: “Best *insert browser* add-ons and why” from the Chiklita Blogging Challenge