Some people say our lives are getting harder the more technology we have. While I’m not here to argue that point, I am sure of one thing – some things only get easier. An example for one of these things is browsing 15 years ago, I was battling my way with Netscape 1.0, which pretty much included back and forward buttons and a stop button which never really worked.
Today, we have excellent browsers to choose from, and even more extensions and add-ons which hold the sole purpose of making our lives easier. It’s only a matter of finding the right ones. In this post, I will share with you a list of truly the best Chrome extensions which can truly make your life easier. At least those aspects which have to do with browsing the web.
YouTube keeps changing. Sometimes we like the changes, sometimes we don’t, but most of all, we sometimes wish we could have more control over what YouTube looks like when we’re watching videos. YouTube Options for Google Chrome is a simple extension which lets you do just that.
The extension comes with an extensive list of options for changing YouTube’s default layout, as well as various playback, size and quality options. For example, you can set a certain size and quality for your videos, and have them automatically display that way every time. You can also disable auto-play, which is a very useful option if you’re regularly opening multiple YouTube windows.
On the layout side, you can choose to hide almost every aspect on the page, and also change the background to enhance your watching experience. The extension can also work with other video websites such as Vimeo, Metacafe, Dailymotion and more.
Ages ago, I heard about a service called BridgeURL. This handy web app lets you easily share multiple URLs in the form of a neat slideshow. How happy I was to find that BridgeURL’s technology also exists in a Chrome extension, which goes by the name of Tabulate.
If you’ve ever had the urge to share all your open tabs with a friend, Tabulate! lets you do this easily. Simply click on the Tabulate button and get a URL for all your tabs. You can then share this URL with friends. When they click on it, they will get a list of links which they can open separately, or choose to open all the links at once.
The most fun option, though, is viewing the links as a slideshow, which lets you browse through all the links one by one in the same window. I only wish there was a way to choose which tabs I want to share, instead of automatically sharing all of them.
There are numerous ways to tackle the “too many tabs” problem, but despite that, I still find myself with a chock full of open tabs so as to not forget to look at them “later”. If you have the same problem, Page Snooze is going to come in mighty handy.
With Page Snooze, you can snooze any open tab for a certain amount of time. When that time is up, the tab will automatically open again. This means you no longer have to keep a tab open for a week just so you can look at it on Sunday.
Clicking the extension icon will snooze a page for one week. If you want to choose a different time window, right-click on the page itself and choose your preferred window from the context menu. In the extension’s options, you’ll find a list of all your snoozed pages and the date and time of their expected return into your browser.
Hopefully, this extension will get more options in the future, such as setting specific snooze times or at least something shorter than 1 day. As it is, it’s still really useful.
The web is a cluttered place. Usually, this is not a problem, but when all you really want to do is read something, things can get quite distracting. Readability Redux is an awesome extension that lets you quickly unclutter any webpage, so you can comfortably concentrate on what’s important – the text.
There are five different styles to choose from, and you can also choose your font and margin sizes. You can set your own hotkey to activate the extension, and easily get a readable version with a quick press of a button. You can even apply Readability only to a selected fragment, and while this feature is still experimental, it worked very well for me.
Aside from comfortable reading, you can also use Readability Redux to create printer friendly versions of any webpage, and e-mail pages or fragments to friends.
Are you tired of having to click every single picture you want to view? With Hover Zoom, all you have to do is hover. Hover your mouse cursor over any image, and you will immediately get to view this image in full size. No clicking, no opening new pages. Clean and simple.
The extension works on almost every website; if a website supports it, the Hover Zoom icon will appear in the address bar. In the options, you can control delay times and other aspects of the display, disable Hover Zoom for specific sites, and create action keys to disable or enable Hover Zoom. This one is a true keeper.
Browsing should be fun, not tedious. There are some true life-savers out there. If you haven’t found the right one here, be sure to check out our Best of Chrome extensions page.
Are there any Chrome extensions that make your life easier? Tell us all about them in the comments.