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

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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)

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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.

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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.

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

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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

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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.

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