Chrome Extensions

Confession time, again.  I’m a bit of a Google fanboy.  I know they’re probably a giant, nasty company intent on grabbing and analysing my entire life, but at the same time, they’ve got some pretty neat products.

I’ve rather taken to Google Chrome – their web browser.  I’ve been using Firefox for years as an alternative to Internet Explorer and I have a great set of plug-ins that make it what I want.  The little orange fox has been what I click when I seriously want to use the web for ages.

But Chrome is just SO fast – particularly on startup.  It’s become my default browser for opening links because it pops up almost instantly with the page I want to see.  However, it’s had it’s limitations.

Until now!  With the latest stable release of Chrome also having extensions, it’s finally made it for me as a potential Firefox-killer.

The Top-N

One thing that Firefox recently acquired that Chrome doesn’t have yet is the ability to create lists of extensions to install.  So on each computer I have to search the list and try to remember “did I install this GMail checker, or that one?”.

This post, then, is my current list of extensions – more for personal reference, but worth checking out if you use Chrome.

  • XMarks – Chrome has its own built-in bookmark synchronisation, but XMarks is cross-browser and let’s me sync different sets of bookmarks across different browsers.
  • Google Mail Checker Plus – There are loads of GMail checkers, I’ve tried a few and this is by far my favourite! (Be sure to turn on SSL and turn off the icon animation!)
  • Better GMail – I use it over on Firefox, and it does some of the same stuff here – I particularly like the Folders for GMail function.
  • RSS Subscription Extension – does what it says: “Adds one-click subscription to your toolbar.”  Why is this not built-in to Chrome??
  • Smooth Gestures – Same story – should be build in to Chrome, lots of extensions that do it, and this is the best of the ones I’ve tried.  How do people browse without gestures??
  • Feedly – grabs Google Reader subscriptions and presents them in newspaper style – a joy to use in Firefox, and equally so in Chrome
  • Google Reader Notifier – shows how may unread items you have in Google Reader and thus, when to open Feedly!
  • Chromed Bird – Again, there are lots of attempts at Twitter integration and this is my favourite.
  • Facebook for Google Chrome – there are at least two extensions that just load the mobile version of Facebook, but benhiller’s version is, in my opinion better!
  • sidebar – this has an awful icon, but does the URL-shortening job nicely.
  • Chromelicious – the best Delicious social-bookmarking plug-in so far.
  • ChromeMilk – I’m a bit of a Remember the Milk user for tasks and this is a great extension for managing tasks there with a selection of different views and a cute little icon.
  • Google Wave Notifier – I’m using Google Wave for a couple of projects and don’t think it’s the flash-in-the-pan that others seem to.  I’ll write about it sometime.  In the meantime one of Wave’s failings is its lack of new-wave notifications (no, not the music genre, thank you).  This extension is a simple fix for that.

Of course, Chrome is very new and most of these extensions are either quick fixes for functionality that will probably make it into the browser at some point, or stuff put together quickly to do some function that will be done better in the future – I expect this list to date quite quickly!

In the meantime, Chrome is safe, fast and extendable.  Why not give it a go?