Killer Chrome Extensions for Productive Browsing


When it comes to pure speed, Google Chrome stomps all over other browsers. Still, Firefox remains a popular choice for power users due to its wealth of extensions for just about any browser task imaginable. Fortunately, extensions for Chrome are proliferating at a fast and furious rate. Let’s take a look at some Chrome browser extensions that will make your online productivity equally fast and furious.

Checkvist for Chrome. Checkvist (sic), is a free web-based list manager, allowing you to create flat lists and outlines editable with efficient keyboard shortcuts. Instead of toggling between tabs and windows to peek at your Checkvist content, the Checkvist extension lets you refer to your checklists directly from the current tab. As a general purpose list manager, I find it more slightly more flexible than to do list extensions for Chrome like Google Tasks, ChromeMilk or ToodleChrome. Naturally, you’ll want to use the extension that’s compatible with your favorite list manager.

Evernote Web Clipper. Everybody loves Evernote, the app that lets you create, tag and annotate web clippings for later viewing on your desktop or smartphone (mobile clients are available for all major smartphone platforms). A more portable and focused alternative to bookmarking, Evernote makes a fantastic research tool. While you’re installing this extension, consider throwing in Evernote Search to sift through all the content you accumulate. It can even find text in images, which is great for signs you photographed on your cell phone.

Other web clipping services sporting Chrome extensions are Google Notebook and Zoho Notebook. I recommend the Zoho Notebook extension, since it actually clips web content rather than just take you to your notebook, like GNote. Unlike the Firefox extension for Google Notebook, GNote lacks an inline “Note this” option for clipping the current page. More importantly, Google Notebook is closed to new signups, so you’re better off sticking to a service that’ll be sticking around.

Postponer Adder/Postponer Manager. Use the free ReadItLater web-based service to bookmark articles and read them . . . later. While Chrome supports browser bookmark synchronization natively, your ReadItLater list is also accessible through non-Chrome browsers. I prefer to use RIL for queuing articles, and using my native browser bookmarks for regularly revisited URLs. This keeps me from having to sort through dozens of temporary bookmarks. Mobile RIL clients are available for iPhone, BlackBerry and Android phones.

Postponer Adder and Postponer Manager are rather wonky names for a pair of Chrome extensions for using ReadItLater. Postponer Adder puts an icon at the end of Chrome’s omnibar (address bar), which you click when you’re on a page that you’d like to add to your ReadItLater list. Postponer Manager lets you view articles from your RIL list and mark them as read. If you’d rather use a single extension for both tasks, ChromeRIL offers basic functionality, but isn’t as full featured as Postponer Manager on the list management side of things.

Del.icio.us Tools. Unlike ReadItLater, Delicious social bookmarking is designed for sharing your bookmarks with other users, though private bookmarking is also supported. Use Del.icio.us Tools to create and share your social bookmarks in a single button, as well as access your bookmarks and inbox — links sent to you from other Delicious members. In case you were wondering, Delicious dropped the dots in their name a couple of years ago, but the extension developer seems to like them.

Google Calendar Checker. Takes you to your Google Calendar in one click, but the main feature is the time caption underneath the button, showing you how much time is left until your next scheduled event. Just as important as having a calendar is knowing when to check your calendar.

One Number. Google makes à la carte notifier extensions for Gmail, Google Reader, Google Voice and Google Wave, but if you’re on all of these services, you can consolidate all of your notifications into a single tool. One Number optionally displays how many unread messages you have for each service. Maybe handing your whole life over to G isn’t such a bad idea after all.

Chromed Bird. OK, this Twitter extension will probably decrease some people’s productivity, but some of us actually use Twitter for real work. Feel free to skip this one if it doesn’t apply. Chromed Bird is a notifier and client, optionally displaying the number of unread tweets waiting for you to scan. You can also compose, reply, retweet, share and favorite tweets. Unlike heavyweight clients like TweetDeck and HootSuite, Chromed Bird doesn’t currently support Twitter lists or multiple Twitter accounts, but at least you don’t have to deal with the overhead of running another standalone app.

Goo.gl URL Shortener. This one-click extension for Google’s own goo.gl URL shortening tool seems to work more consistently across different versions of Windows than the one for Bit.ly at this time. Great for use with standalone IM and Twitter clients.

Docs PDF/PowerPoint Viewer. Few browsing experiences are as irritating as an Acrobat client launching after you’ve clicked on a link that turns out to be a PDF. Docs PDF/PowerPoint Viewer opens PDF clinks in a new tab, sparing you Acrobat Reader’s bloat. The official description states that this extension “previews pdfs, powerpoint presentations, and other documents in Google Docs Viewer,” but it doesn’t open MS Word .doc or Excel .xls files — or any other non-PDF/PPT files, apparently.

Picnik Extension for Chrome. Screenshots are a terrific aid to delegating computer tasks. Picnik lets you grab the entire contents of a browser window, or a smaller section; then perform further edits inside of the Picnik online image editor (crop, resize, rotate, etc.). A similar alternative worth exploring is Aviary Screen Capture, which works with Aviary’s Phoenix online image editor. Phoenix has a few more features than Picnik, but tends to be slower.

Chromepad. Simple to a fault, Chromepad gives you a popup notepad directly from Chrome. This extension isn’t a text editor — it doesn’t save your notes as files. You have to copy and paste anything you want to save into an editor, but this tool is designed specifically for quick notes.


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Andre Kibbe currently works as a content analyst for Internet Brands. He can be found on Twitter: @andrekibbe

Discussion

  1. @schneby on the 5th February

    I installed StayFocusd for Chrome and it has revolutionized my workday. It gives you an allotment of a certain time to visit all sites you “block”. For me, Facebook Twitter, CNN, ESPN kill my day. When your time is up for all these sites, you get a fun message that says, “Shouldn’t you be working?”

    Link: https://chrome.google.com/extensions/detail/laankejkbhbdhmipfmgcngdelahlfoji

  2. Tony on the 5th February

    Google Quick Scroll is also pretty useful in terms of searching on Google. It removes the need to read through a long chunk of text to find what you are really looking for.

  3. TutsBot on the 18th February

    Thnaks alot for these useful extensions :)

    I liked it !

  4. wedding invites on the 11th July

    It removes the need to read through a long chunk of text to find what you are really looking for.

  5. Place For Bloggers on the 26th October

    I’ll add WordPress stats for chrome at https://chrome.google.com/extensions/detail/kfkplpbeijhlpnlccijpjpggabgmbopg

    A real time saver :)

  6. Shalom Craimer on the 1st February

    I just noticed that your linked to the old “ChromeRIL” extension; You were right. It was lacking in features. So I added a ton of features, and I feel it’s much more user-friendly now.

    Could you try it out and let me know what you think? It’s called “Orbvious Interest” now, since Nate (the creator of Read It Later) was getting harassed with support questions about it, and asked me to change the name. Available from https://chrome.google.com/extensions/detail/bkikpncfbjndhfkipijhdoddiadaipaa

    Thanks, and thank you for the review!

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