I’ve been using Google Chrome for many a year now, and while some complain of its resource hogging, I still feel like it’s the best browser for me. Google already knows all of my personal information; might as well let them personalize things for me, right?
But even power users can use a little something to supercharge their experiences with their browsers. In that vein, here are six of the best efficiency-increasing Chrome extensions (that I currently use).
6. Adblock Plus — Okay, fair warning: Adblock Plus‘s parent company recently announced that they were going to start selling ads to companies who meet certain standards. That’s all well and good, but that means users of ABP will start seeing ads — and not just the ones coming from companies that businesses hire to defeat ad blockers by injecting ads directly into the code or whatever it is they do. In the past, Lifehacker has recommended uBlock, and I’m going to give it a try if I see too many ads, but for now, it’s ABP’s job to lose.
What do I save? As a power user, I keep a ton of tabs open, and with the proliferation of heavier and heavier ads, my computer only has so many resources available. Blocking ads allows me to keep my computer from melting down. It’s really not about not seeing ads; it’s about not ruining my user experience. (Now if ABP would just start blocking that damn jQuery popup that every website in existence uses to try and get you to sign up for their e-mail newsletter, I would be in heaven.)
5. goo.gl URL Shortener — A lot of companies use bit.ly or j.mp to track their shortened links and get user metrics, but I don’t need that. Sometimes I just need to create a short link quickly and send it to someone, and it’s nice to be able to click the icon and immediately get a short link copied to my clipboard.
What do I save? Mostly it’s just a few extra steps that I don’t have to take — going to Tinyurl, pasting in the URL, putting the new URL in my clipboard… it’s not a lot of time, but every little bit helps.
4. ROT13er — One of my favorite families of sites — Mark Reads and Mark Watches — has a thriving community of users who respect Mark’s desire to remain unspoiled. To that end, the community uses ROT13 to discuss spoilery things without spoiling Mark. ROT13er allows you to highlight text and convert it in either direction — and you can copy the cyphered text out of the popup it generates and paste that directly in as well.
What do I save? This is another one-click solution that keeps me from having to go to a separate website or decode the cypher in my head.
3. The Great Suspender — Remember how I said I keep about a zillion tabs open at any given time? Well, even in a resource-efficient browser, that could cause a problem. In Chrome, it can get really unwieldy. The Great Suspender turns off pages that you’re not using, and allows you to turn them back on, either automatically or with a single click. It also has whitelisting — I have no desire to pause my Gmail tab, for example.
What do I save? Ultimately I’m saving time by planning ahead and increasing my computer’s efficiency. The less it has to work, the more tabs I can open without crashing Chrome. Always a plus.
2. Subscriptions Grid For Youtube, Video Resumer, and Videospeed — These three extensions make life with Youtube about a hundred times better. Subscriptions Grid makes it easier to keep track of what I’ve watched on the channels I frequent, Video Resumer lets me pick up right where I left off, and Videospeed allows more granular control over… well… video speed… than Youtube itself does.
What do I save? If you haven’t set your default Youtube speed to 1.25x, you don’t know what you’re missing. You miss almost nothing by doing so, and you get to trim a quarter of the runtime off each video. Plus, Videospeed is compatible with almost all HTML5-based video players, so it can speed up (or slow down) videos on Tumblr, Vine, Facebook, and especially Vimeo (where a lot of really good short films are housed). Give it a try and see how you like it; I guarantee you won’t go back.
1. Flashblock — Flashblock blocks Flash from running unless you click on it to explicitly allow it. If you’re not blocking Flash already, you should be; it has a ton of security issues, and it eats your computer’s resources like there’s no tomorrow. Plus, some of the worst offenders when it comes to ads are Flash-based, and publishers are less and less likely to reject heavy ads anymore because they need the money.
What do I save? In this case, it’s mostly frustration. Flash can be very frustrating — especially when it takes over a page with a large presentation — and having it turned off by default makes life so much more pleasant.
I don’t use SndLatr very often, but it’s extremely useful when I do need it. Put simply, SndLatr lets you send e-mail at some point in the future, storing it in a folder in your Gmail until you it needs to be sent. I know that Inbox does the same thing, but I’ve tried Inbox and I don’t care for it. SndLatr remembers things I can’t, and that’s always a plus given how bad my memory is.
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