5 Google Chrome Extensions That Could Finally Make Me Switch From Firefox

Ads by Google

Mark O'NeillI have been using Google Chrome since it first came out and it has a lot of features to recommend itself (the speed and lower memory usage being the main sells). But there were lots of features that were lacking which prevented me from making the full switch from Firefox. With my heavy usage of Greasemonkey scripts and a few “can’t live without them” extensions, I had to keep Firefox as my default browser and have Chrome sitting on the sidelines.

But now the Google Chrome Extensions Page has lots of browser extensions you can try out. As with everything else, it is populated with a lot of junk but the gems are there if you do a bit of searching.

To use them though, you need to change your version of Chrome to the beta version. You can find it here and updating is very easy. And it goes without saying that you need to open up the Extensions website in the Chrome browser (just covering all bases here!)

Here are 5 good Chrome extensions which are seriously tempting me away from Firefox.

XMarks (Previously Known As Foxmarks)

chrome1


This is the one that has really got me excited.  One of the biggest problems I previously encountered with having two browsers was being unable to synchronize everything.   As well as two browsers, I also use two computers so being able to have my large set of bookmarks wherever I go was an essential must-have.

As long as I stayed with Firefox, I was safe with using XMarks but what about Chrome?  I briefly looked at Saikat’s suggestion of Transmute but it still didn’t feel right.   But now I don’t have to worry because Xmarks now works on Chrome too!   Just make an XMarks web account, keep it synchronized whenever you close your browser and you will always have an up-to-date set of bookmarks wherever you go and whatever browser you happen to be using – Firefox or Chrome.

Ads by Google

Google Mail Checker

chrome2I have always been keen to have a decent Gmail Notifier but I didn’t want to install the Google Toolbar or the Google Talk client just to have an email notifier.  So this easy basic no-frills notifier extension is just the trick for me.

Once you have installed it, just open a new tab in Chrome, log into the desired Gmail account and then the notifier remembers the details.   It will also start monitoring the account and will notify you when you have new mail (as well as tell you how many new emails you have).

Since I use Google Apps instead of a regular Gmail account, I had to do some changing about but it’s very easy.  Just go to the Chrome options (that little wrench at the top right of the browser), choose Extensions and then choose Google Mail Checker –>Options.  Then enter your domain details and save it all.

Stumbleupon

chrome3

I use Stumbleupon a lot on a daily basis and not having a Stumbleupon toolbar for Chrome was a tad annoying.  This meant I was constantly having to use Firefox for my stumbling when I would much rather have been using Chrome.  True, you can go to the Stumbleupon website and start up a web toolbar from there but being the lazy person that I am, even that was a bit too much effort for me when all I had to do in Firefox was click a toolbar button.

And now clicking a button is all you have to do in Chrome too.   This is still the web version of the Stumbleupon toolbar but going to it is made a lot easier now.  Just click the SU logo now on your browser and it will instantly open a web toolbar so you can go stumbling.  When you are finished, press the button again and the web toolbar goes away. Much faster and more convenient for those impulse moments when you want to have a quick stumble or two.

Evernote Web Clipper

chrome4

I am starting to use Evernote a lot more now, especially for keeping records of URL’s, screenshots, general notes, as well as synchronizing my web account with my Android phone.  The company has now introduced an extension for Chrome that has the same functionalities as the Firefox extension, including being able to clip the whole page to your Evernote web account.

RSS Subscription Extension

chrome5One of the really big things lacking in Chrome was the fact that webpage RSS feeds were not being “auto-discovered”.  I was so used to the orange RSS box in the Firefox address bar that when I started using Chrome, I instantly found it really annoying that this feature, which I took for granted in Firefox, was gone.

But now RSS Subscription Extension addresses that issue by putting the “auto-discover” box back into the address bar (but really this should be a default feature).

With these five extensions, a lot of the main tasks I do in Firefox are now covered – email, RSS feeds, stumbling, synchronizing bookmarks and clipping material to Evernote.    It would be even better if I had small search boxes like Firefox but I can’t complain – Chrome is definately heading in the right direction.

Are there any Chrome extensions which you are finding invaluable and which are tugging you away from the clutches of Firefox?   If so, let us know what they are in the comments.

Join live MakeUseOf Groups on Grouvi App Join live Groups on Grouvi
Mozilla Firefox Fans
Mozilla Firefox Fans
11 Members
Safari Browser Tips
Safari Browser Tips
7 Members
Internet Explorer (IE) Tips
Internet Explorer (IE) Tips
2 Members
Best Mobile Browsers
Best Mobile Browsers
7 Members
Google Chrome Mastery
Google Chrome Mastery
5 Members
Ads by Google
Comments (61)
  • Steaphan

    Thankyou so much man. I am a busy blogger right now and working on a few different projects with different organisations, So i needed the use of StumbleUpon, easy access to Gmail, and foxmarks. Despite my love for the uncluttered interface and quick load time of chrome, It could just never cut-it for my work. Now I am in heaven – seriously love it mate, thanx.

  • Shane

    Last I checked, Evernotes was worthless, and Firefox had the other four…and Chrome hasn’t given me anything that Firefox doesn’t. Sorry.

  • Walter Brewer Jr.

    FYI: The FF 3.6 RC1 is a really good. It solved my speed problems with Firefox. Its very smooth compared to 3.5 and ended my interest with Chrome. IMO Chrome is not that fast with extensions and without NoScript it’s really not an option (for me). 3.6 RC1 made me realize the FF is still in the game.

    • 1fastbullet

      Walter,

      This is good to hear. I hope that, by the time it bscomes an RTM, the good folks at Mozilla don’t figure out a way to screw it up. I was once a very happy user of Firefox and am responsible for a fair number of people making the switch to it from IE. If it would return to it’s previous state of secure reliability, I would be more than happy to return to it as my full time browser and dump all the other junk. Please keep up posted.

      Incidentally, in an earlier post I mentioned the recent popup nags I was getting from Mozilla. I’ve completely eliminated the nags by going into about:config and altering a couple of the app.update settings. If you make alterations to about:config, do them cautiously and, I recommend, one at a time. In the case of update settings, I doubt there is much risk to your machine, but because I’m not positive of this, I hesitate to say precisely the settings I altered on my machine.

      As a final note, I concur with others who have stated that Chrome (in my case, Iron) seems to completely loose its speed advantage when more than a couple tabs are in use. Frankly, it becomes slow to the point of nearly freezing.
      For me, the novelty has worn off and, with the current lack of add-ons and extensions, I find myself reverting to Firefox most often.

    • 1fastbullet

      Walter,

      This is good to hear. I hope that, by the time it becomes an RTM, the good folks at Mozilla don’t figure out a way to screw it up. I was once a very happy user of Firefox and am responsible for a fair number of people making the switch to it from IE. If it would return to it’s previous state of secure reliability, I would be more than happy to return to it as my full time browser and dump all the other junk. Please keep us posted.

      Incidentally, in an earlier post I mentioned the recent popup nags I was getting from Mozilla. I’ve completely eliminated the nags by going into about:config and altering a couple of the app.update settings. If you make alterations to about:config, do them cautiously and, I recommend, one at a time. In the case of update settings, I doubt there is much risk to your machine, but because I’m not positive of this, I hesitate to say precisely the settings I altered on my machine.

      As a final note, I concur with others who have stated that Chrome (in my case, Iron) seems to completely loose its speed advantage when more than a couple tabs are in use. Frankly, it becomes slow to the point of nearly freezing.
      For me, the novelty has worn off and, with the current lack of add-ons and extensions, I find myself reverting to Firefox most often.

  • meme

    You forgot “Letting use install to other drive letters and not forcing us to use C: because not everyone strictly uses their C: drive for software.

  • Sarah

    While Chrome is fun to use, Firefox never fail to impress me all the time. StumbleUpon extension for Chrome is truly a gem.

Load 10 more
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.