Are you confused by the 65,000+ extensions in the Chrome Web Store? Do you find it difficult to distinguish the best apps from the time wasters? We’re here to help. Below you’ll find a list of the best extensions for Google Chrome, including suggestions from both our readers and our writers.
This list will be updated regularly, so make sure you leave your suggestions in the comments and we’ll consider them next time we update the page.
- Privacy and Security
- News and Weather
- Tab Management and Bookmarking
This app was named one of the 100 best innovations of the year by Popular Science – and with good reason.
Like Ghostery, it blocks trackers from accessing your information. Unlike other similar tools, it has the added advantage of Wi-Fi and bandwidth optimisation features – thus preventing attackers from using stolen cookies to access personal data without having to know your password.
The develop claims that all its clever features mean that the extension can help websites load up to 27 percent faster when being used.
Adblock Plus (ABP) is the original ad-blocker for Chrome. It’ll filter out everything from banners and pop-ups to Facebook and YouTube ads.
It includes a way to whitelist sites you want to support, and includes a safe filter that’ll support some non-intrusive advertising.
This is a crowd-sourced tool that rates websites based on a site’s trustworthiness, vendor reliability, privacy, and child safety – helping you browse safely. At its core, it lets you avoid sites that are known to be harmful, but like all crowd-sourced software, it should be used with discretion.
Also known as ScriptNo, ScriptSafe is for advanced users only. It works in a similar way to Ghostery, but it much less exclusive. It means you’ll be alerted to almost every script on a website, and disabling them all will make lots of sites fail to load. On the flipside, it’s easy-to-use interface will guide you, making sure you only load the scripts that are needed for the content you want to see.
This extension encrypts your web usage to HTTPS whenever possible to help keep your private information safe. It is part of a collaboration between the Tor Project and the Electronic Frontier Foundation – so you know it’s both trustworthy and safe.
LastPass saves and encrypts your passwords on the LastPass web server, letting you log into websites with a single click.
With 40 million users, AdBlock is one of the most used Chrome extensions. Despite its similar name to the aforementioned Adblock Plus, it’s an entirely separate enterprise run by different people.
A recent update this summer raised some concerns about protection and privacy, so if you’re a security junkie you should probably go for ABP.
Also consider: Personal Blocklist
Since the closure of Google Reader, Feedly has become the de-facto leader in the RSS world. While there are other RSS readers that do an excellent job and appeal to certain groups, Feedly offers the best all-round, user-friendly experience. Feedly Mini lets you add pages to your account, save the page for reading later, and share content through the usual channels.
Let Gravity Highlighter find the content you’ll be most interested in, saving you time and hassle. You just need to install the extension and let it get to work – soon it’ll be highlighting the stories it knows you’ll be most interested in on any given site.
Google’s RSS extension will automatically place a RSS subscription button in Chrome’s omnibox when you visit a page that supports RSS. You can add any web-based feed reader to the extension by clicking the ‘Manage’ option in the dropdown box, though you’ll need the appropriate URL for your reader of choice.
The aptly named Weather extension will give you both the current and upcoming weather outlook for your location. You can customise it to show personalised locations and preferred units of measurement.
Hola lets you see sites that have been blocked or censored in your country, company or school. It works by using VPN technology, thus letting British people outside the UK watch BBC live or US citizens outside America watch Hulu. It’s free to use unlike some other services, and lets you choose the country that you want to use to browse a site from.
Streamus lets you play YouTube videos in the background without having to navigate to the website. It also lets create and manage playlists and pause, play and skip tracks.
With a single click of the extension button, Turn Off the Lights makes an entire page – with the exception of the video – fade to dark. It’s a neat way to solve the problem of videos embedded on light backgrounds.
If you own a Chromecast dongle, this extension will let you send media, webpages and other content directly from your computer to your television.
Ever need to hide websites when your boss enters the room? Or perhaps when you’re trying to buy an online gift for somebody when that very person sneaks up behind you? Panic Button is the answer. It lets you hide and save all of your opened tabs with a single click – the best part is that they’ll be password protected, so only you can resume the session.
Sometimes you get to the end of an article you’re reading, or have exhausted all the new content on one of your favourite sites, and you wish there was more. This extension helps you discover webpages similar to the page you’re currently browsing – perfect for both research and casual browsing.
Define your interests and find new content. A click on the StumbleUpon extension will either take you to a random page or a specific page within your field of interests.
If you rely heavily on Google’s suite of services, this handy extension will save you a lot of time. When clicked, it will show you a pop-up menu that gives you one click access to all your most-used Google products.
Pushbullet brings your PC and phone closer together. It lets you receive alerts from your Android or iPhone directly in your browser and provides a way to easily share media and other content. You can mute unimportant apps and can also respond directly from your computer for certain apps.
Do you find slideshow sites annoying? How about clicking though multiple pages of search results on Google, Amazon or eBay? This extension solves the problem by presenting all websites as one, continuously scrollable page.
Google’s official Drive shortcut means you can seamless add new content to your Google Drive account with a single click.
This one is aimed primarily at students. It makes bibliography creation easier, letting you quickly create a properly formatted website citation for the APA, Chicago, MLA, and Harvard citation styles. It even allows you to maintain project bibliographies – perfect for not getting bogged down in citations whilst in a creative flow.
Like using the cloud but forget which of the myriad services you stored something on? Synata works as a search tool for your online stuff. It sorts through Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, Evernote, Office 365, and Sharepoint, with more services coming soon.
If you do a lot of online work, this screenshot tool should be an important part of your kit. It lets you capture and annotate portions of webpages that can then be saved locally or in the cloud.
Boomerang is a browser add-on available for Chrome that lets you schedule emails for a point in the future, even if you’re not online. It’s perfect for automated business replies, not forgetting birthdays, and sending messages at a time when you know the recipient will be available.
Sometimes the formatting or visual distractions of a long article can put you off reading it. Readability solves that problem by removing all traces of adverts, formatting, pictures and alerts – leaving you with a story that’s presented in a plain, clean, and easily-readable way.
The ubiquitous translation tool. It lets you translate whole pages, portions of text, or individual words. The outputs aren’t always perfect, but it’s a must-have for a globally-minded Internet user.
If you are easily distracted and find concentration is a problem, StayFocusd offers a solid solution. You can set yourself a time allowance for particular sites such as social networks, RSS readers or news sites, and once you’ve hit that limit accessed will be blocked.
This extension lets you quickly access the goo.gl URL shortener – giving you short and portable URLs. It’s particularly useful for long, difficult URLs or for character-limited content such as Tweets.
The Camelizer is the definitive price-checking extension for Chrome, including advanced features like price graphs, price alerts, and price trends for a number of popular online retailers.
Want discounts put don’t want to shop around? Install Honey. It automatically finds and tests coupon codes for more than 100 online stores, and works as you checkout of a site – so you don’t need to shop through third party affiliates.
Fairly self-explanatory. This extension lets you add items to your Amazon wish-list from any website.
Addicted to eBay? You’ll need this official browser add-on. It means you’ll never miss a good bargain and you can monitor your existing bids without needing to be logged into the main site.
Unlike the Yahoo Currency Convertor extension, the Chrome Currency Convertor automatically changes any figures in a webpage to your desired currency. It’s not only good for shopping, but also reading long-form articles which are quoting prices and figures from around the world.
If you’re one of the increasing number of people who are leaving Facebook behind and finding new ways to use Google Plus, you might find the ability to get notifications from the network without being on the site itself to be very useful.
This extension puts a Hangouts icon next to the omnibox so that your friends and family are always available.
A must-have for Reddit lovers. It shows you comment karma, gives you username tagging, increases viewing options, and of course removes the need to click through pages thanks to ‘Never Ending Reddit’.
Once installed, Silver Bird makes it possible to access Twitter functions from a button in the Chrome interface.
Formerly known as Read It Later, Pocket helps you manage a reading list of articles from the Internet. The extension lets you save any article to your account with one click, and also allows for both article tagging and offline reading.
It has apps available for several platforms, including Android, iOS, Windows, OSX and Blackberry.
This spin off of the popular Evernote is so much more than just a bookmarking tool. It not only lets you save webpages, but also random notes, audio, PDFs and videos. You can also make and manage to-do lists and search existing notebooks.
Google’s latest iteration of its bookmarking tool only went fully live in late October, rebranding itself from ‘Google Stars’ to the more mundane ‘Bookmark Manager’ in the process.
Once installed, the add-on replaces Google’s built-in bookmarking tool, incorporating functions such as a way to add image thumbnails and notes, automatic archiving of dead links, and ‘smart’ folder organisation.
If you make the switch, all your existing bookmarks and folders will transfer automatically.
Tab Cloud lets you transfer your browsing session from one computer to another. You can also see saved sessions with a built-in interface.
Designed for people who keep more than twenty tabs open at a time, this extension offers a unique tiled tab interface, tab search and tab restore. It comfortably made our list as one of the top ten best extensions for Chrome tab management.
This replaces the normal new tab interface with an attractive, Windows 8 style customisable tile-based interface that can provide quick access to both web apps and web pages.
SimpleUndoClose offers an easy way to restore closed tabs – just click the icon and just which pages you want to reopen.
What Chrome Extensions Do You Love?
Tell us about your favourite extensions. Which Chrome extensions couldn’t you live without?
Last updated: December 8, 2014