My Essential Chrome Extensions

Here is my list of extensions that makes Chrome usable for me.  Keep in mind that I used Firefox for a solid four years before switching to Chrome, so a lot of these extensions duplicate the behavior of different Firefox features.

AdThwart – This extension does a decent job of blocking advertisements on sites.  I really wouldn’t recommend using it unless ads bother you that much because a lot of people (including me) make money (not really me) from the advertisements on their site.  This extension then blocks those ads and consequently you never click on them / people like me don’t get paid.  So…use in moderation.  Another extension like this is Adblock for Chrome…although that slowed down my browser a bit.  Both of these sometimes disable YouTube videos.

android2cloud – I use this extension if I’m ever reading a site on my phone and want to send that site to my full browser.  Happens more than you would think.

Bookmarked tabs to the front – This is one of those Firefox quirks I warned you about.  In Firefox, middle clicking a site on your favorites bar opens that tab in a new tab and brings that tab to the front…hence the name.  I use this all the time for Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, and Google Calendar.

Chrome URL Expander – Takes any tinyurl / / etc link and expands it in your browser so you know where you’re going!  This is actually safer because sometimes those sites forward you to “bad” sites which may contain viruses.  It’s always good to know exactly where each link leads.  This includes a nice toolbar button for easy disable/enabling.

ChromeAccess – I use this to get to common Chrome items, mainly extensions and downloads.  While I realize these aren’t really hard to get to without an extension, it makes finding them take a bit less time.

ChromeReload – This is similar to the Firefox extension ReloadEvery (which i loved). Basically it enables you to set certain tabs to reload at your chosen time interval…great if you ever read liveblogs (or some older email clients that don’t refresh themselves).

Click&Clean – Not sure if I’d recommend this to anyone that isn’t psychotic.  I love having certain sites I visit in the Omnibox…but only those sites.  Basically, I don’t like typing in a website and having the drop down include things I don’t want it to.  I set this extension to clear my history / cache / empty the Recycle Bin every time I close Chrome.  That way, if I start typing in intellicast it ONLY brings my bookmark to the live map into the drop down, and not other sites I’ve visited.  Basically what I do is so crazy I don’t even know how to explain it.

Docs PDF/PowerPoint Viewer (by Google) – Really great extension!  If you ever click on a PDF or Powerpoint file in an email or just browsing, instead of downloading the file and then opening a giant program to view it (which takes time), it just sends it to Google Docs and brings it up in a new tab.  I love this! for Chrome – I haven’t used this extension yet, but it allows you to quickly drop files to share with others.  I’ve used before on occasion, but I’ve never used this extension yet.

Google Chrome to Phone Extension – This is the reverse of the android2cloud extension listed above.  If I’m viewing a website and about to leave my desk, I’ll click this link and it’ll open the page on my Android phone.  This is especially great for Google Maps – check a route on your computer and send it to your phone as you walk out the door.

Google Dictionary (by Google) – I actually think this extension is currently broken…it hasn’t been working for me and I completely forgot I had it.  Anyway, it’s supposed to show you the definition of any word whenever you double click it (in a small popup bubble).

Google Reader Full Feed – Really useful if you’re a Google Reader fanatic like myself.  This allows you to hit z on a selected item and it loads the WHOLE ITEM.  Feeds like Gizmodo and Lifehacker have started only displaying part of their feeds…this fixes that.  One of my favorites.

Google Shortcuts – Quick access to almost every Google Service.  I love using this for contacts, wave, etc.

Google Translate – To quote them, “This extension translates entire webpages into a language of your choice with one click.”

Google Voice (by Google) – AMAZING.  This allows you to initiate calls, send texts, read texts, all from a little window in your browser.  If you have Google Voice, this extension is a must.  I don’t use GV all that often, but I still love this extension.

RapidShare DownloadHelper – This supposedly gets rid of the countdown for RapidShare downloads.  I don’t use RapidShare enough to know if it even works.

Reader Plus – I think I use this extension to fix the layout of Google Reader.  It has a ton of different settings for customizing your reader however you want.

Reload All Tabs – Sets a keyboard shorcut ctrl + shift + r that reloads all tabs.  Similar to right clicking a tab in Firefox and saying refresh all tabs.

Sexy Undo Close Tab – I got this one just a few days ago from Lifehacker.  It keeps track of all the tabs you close so you can reopen them later.  Click&Clean clears this, so it’s not all that useful for me.

SmoothScroll – This emulates the iPhone/Android in the sense that it makes scrolling more fluid…less jerky.  You can change the settings to your liking.

Speed Dial – This replaces the default new tab view with some preset sites you have.  I only have 6 sites listed and I love having big thumbnails of each, even if I rarely click on them.

Window Close Protector – MUST HAVE.  In Firefox, if you have 10 tabs open and accidentally close the entire window, it warns you.  In Chrome, it just closes.  This extension prevents accidental closings!

Window Expander For YouTube – Not sure how much I use this…I’ve messed around with a lot of YouTube extensions and am still trying to get a good combination.  I think I may use this just to auto set the quality at 480p.

Xmarks Bookmarks and Password Sync – Since I’m still between browsers, using Xmarks to sync my passwords and bookmarks is really helpful.  If you’re only using Chrome on all your computers, however, then I’d just use the built in Google Bookmark Sync.

YouTube Options – Again, not sure which features I use from this extension vs. the others…I’ve been playing around with YouTube a lot recently.  In the words of the creators, “Disable annoying things in YouTube. Enable cool things in YouTube.”

That’s it!  All 26 of my glorious extensions!  Let me know your opinions in the comments if you want.  What are your favorites / must have extensions?

About the Author: Chris Bellman

Sophomore ECE major at The Ohio State University. Technology enthusiast. Runs own IT business in Cincinnati.