Black Menu: Access All Google Services Within A Single Menu [Chrome]

Black Menu Feature Image   Black Menu: Access All Google Services Within A Single Menu [Chrome]Let’s face it – Google is awesome. If you’re like me, you use it for everything – emailing, scheduling, file storage, navigation, apps, your browser (Chrome), etc. But there’s one major problem – how do you easily access those apps and services? Google’s solution is a black bar across the screen. I’m not really a big fan of that, plus I can’t customize it. So what’s a better solution? How about one button for all the Google services?

You might be familiar with Shortcuts for Google (which we actually haven’t covered, yet), which is a similar extension that includes links in the form of icons to Google’s services. Black Menu has a bit more functionality. So if you like Shortcuts for Google (by the same developer), you’re going to love what Black Menu has to offer.

About The Developer

The mastermind behind Black Menu and two other Chrome extensions is Carlos Jeurissen, a student and talented developer. He’s active on Google+ and has created Google+ Pages for all his Chrome extensions – Black Bar Removal, Shortcuts for Google and Black Menu. There’s even a Black Menu community for you to connect with other users and find out about updates.

You might think that he’s just obsessed with Google+, and you may be right, but it also says that he’s interested in those who use his products, and wants to help and connect with them. If you want to contact him, his email address is visible on his Google+ profile.

Google+ Page1   Black Menu: Access All Google Services Within A Single Menu [Chrome]

Google Search

Search1   Black Menu: Access All Google Services Within A Single Menu [Chrome]

The Search tab allows you to access your desired search query from any page. As of now, only the Web results are accessible within the Black Menu extension. By clicking any of the other links, like Images or Books you will be taken to the physical search page. It’s also important to note that there are a lot of search pages available via the More dropdown menu to narrow down your search.

Search with More dropdown1   Black Menu: Access All Google Services Within A Single Menu [Chrome]

Referring to the first image in this section, you’ll also see that by hovering over Links there are two other available options: Trends and Custom Search.

Google+

G+   Black Menu: Access All Google Services Within A Single Menu [Chrome]

The second menu item is Google+, where you can view notifications and even share directly to Google+ without leaving the webpage you’re on.

G+ Share   Black Menu: Access All Google Services Within A Single Menu [Chrome]

At the bottom there’s an expandable menu called Links and Search Filters which includes exterior links to Google+ Communities, Local, Pages, Photos, Games and more.

G+ expandable menu   Black Menu: Access All Google Services Within A Single Menu [Chrome]

Google Translate

Translate   Black Menu: Access All Google Services Within A Single Menu [Chrome]

Yet another excellent Google service integrated into Black Menu, making it accessible from wherever you are on the Web. From here you can translate into lots of languages, but of course that’s not all. There’s a button to easily swap languages and even view the history of previous searches and translations that you’ve starred to save for later.

Translate History Starred   Black Menu: Access All Google Services Within A Single Menu [Chrome]

At the bottom there’s an expandable menu providing links to Google’s Translation Toolkit and Transliteration.

Google Maps

Maps with expandable menu   Black Menu: Access All Google Services Within A Single Menu [Chrome]

There are other good Google Maps Chrome extensions, including Quickrr from our Best Of Chrome Extensions page, but that’s all it is. Black Menu integrates Google Maps along with all of Google’s other services. And along with that allows you to view traffic patterns, view terrain in Map view and show/hide labels in Satellite view. You can’t get directions within Black Menu, yet, but there are To here and From here links that will open Google Maps in a new tab.

Maps with satellite   Black Menu: Access All Google Services Within A Single Menu [Chrome]

The extendable menu at the bottom includes several other awesome Google Maps features that you may not have even known about, including Latitude, Mapmaker, Local, Sky, Moon and Mars.

Google Play

Play Store   Black Menu: Access All Google Services Within A Single Menu [Chrome]

There isn’t much integration of the Play Store in Black Menu, but what it does have is quick access to a lot of links, some store-specific and others for easy access to your own content, whether it be My Books, My Devices, My Music or anything else.

YouTube

YouTube   Black Menu: Access All Google Services Within A Single Menu [Chrome]

The YouTube integration is quite impressive. You’re able to search and view results in Black Menu, plus play the videos.

YouTube Play Video   Black Menu: Access All Google Services Within A Single Menu [Chrome]

The extendable menu at the bottom has a lot of YouTube links too that make it very easy to get where you want to go. You may even find yourself using this for YouTube more than the YouTube site itself.

YouTube Expandable menu   Black Menu: Access All Google Services Within A Single Menu [Chrome]

Google News/Google Reader

News   Black Menu: Access All Google Services Within A Single Menu [Chrome]

Why is this section combined? It’s actually pretty impressive – there’s an option to switch between the two. When you hover over the menu item, you will see two horizontal arrows parallel to each other. When you click them, you can switch from News to Reader and vice versa.

News Reader Switcher   Black Menu: Access All Google Services Within A Single Menu [Chrome]

In News, you have the ability to search for a specific story or topic, or by category. The expandable menu at the bottom includes external links to News Archive and Google Reader.

That said, you probably don’t even care about Google Reader at this point because it’s pretty pointless, since you probably already have or are in the process of moving to a new service. Such a shame.

Gmail

Gmail Inbox   Black Menu: Access All Google Services Within A Single Menu [Chrome]

The integration of Gmail into Black Menu was pleasantly surprising. Not only is your inbox viewable, but you can respond to emails directly from the extension. You can also refresh the view, search for emails, sort by label and change the Inbox view.

Gmail Convo   Black Menu: Access All Google Services Within A Single Menu [Chrome]

Of course there are a lot of Gmail functions, many of which would probably be unrealistic to ask to have in a single extension. Because of this, the developer included a lot of pages, including Google Contacts, under the Links and Search Filters expandable menu at the bottom.

Gmail expandable menu   Black Menu: Access All Google Services Within A Single Menu [Chrome]

Google Drive

Gdrive with expandable menu   Black Menu: Access All Google Services Within A Single Menu [Chrome]

The Google Drive menu doesn’t disappoint either. It features a search box, two drop down menus to  sort file locations and file types, buttons to upload and create new files, and an expandable menu with exterior links such as Offline Files.

NOTE: You will have to authorize Black Menu access to Google Drive before using it.

Gdrive authorize   Black Menu: Access All Google Services Within A Single Menu [Chrome]

Google Calendar

Gcal   Black Menu: Access All Google Services Within A Single Menu [Chrome]

The Calendar menu sports a search box, monthly calendar with a button to create new events, a list of the selected day’s events and an expandable Google Tasks section at the bottom with the ability to sort, create new tasks and lists and remove them as well.

The Interface & Other Services

You’ll quickly see that Black Menu’s interface is very clean and easy to navigate through. You can access the menu items simply by hovering over them. If you do click on them, a tab will load as well, so it also functions as a shortcut. As of now, these options are not customizable, meaning that you can’t move/hide them, but hopefully that will change in the future.

The integration of many popular services was very impressive – specifically Gmail, Google Drive and… actually just all of them. Of course not all of Google’s services are integrated into Black Menu, but I think you’ll be hard pressed to find a Google service that isn’t included under the More section.

More Google Services   Black Menu: Access All Google Services Within A Single Menu [Chrome]

There are a few services which aren’t yet integrated that I’m really hoping will be, such as Analytics, Google Voice and Blogger. I imagine that the developer has many more ideas that he plans on including in the future.

NOTE: You might notice that the is a slight difference between the Google services links and the bottom two items when on the More menu item. The bottom two, About and Settings are options that open within the extension, whereas the others are external links.

About1   Black Menu: Access All Google Services Within A Single Menu [Chrome]

Settings

There aren’t a lot of settings or customizable options, but quite a few (not all) of the menu items have some form of customizability, some of which have experimental options under the expandable menu at the bottom.

Settings with experimental   Black Menu: Access All Google Services Within A Single Menu [Chrome]

Like the menu options on the “home” view of the extension, the Settings menu options can be viewed simply by hovering over them, although clicking on them won’t take you anywhere in this case. I encourage you to scan through these and customize it to your liking.

Download Black Menu

Having Black Menu in your browser is, without a doubt, an advantage if you’re one who relies on Google for all or most of their tools. We highly recommend it, as we feel it is one of the best Chrome extensions.

Black Menu is available for download through the developer’s website or the Chrome Web Store.

What do you think of Black Menu? Do you use it? If so, what is your favorite feature? Do have any suggestions for the developer? If you don’t use it yet, do you feel this would help you be more productive in Chrome? Share your thoughts below.

Image Credit: Black Menu Logo

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5 Comments -

Patrick Ford

Looks great, cool for all the shortcuts in one place. But not event the normal web search bar is working for me. I type something in the normal “web” search bar, and it sends me outside to the normal Google search page, without even filling in the text.

I see this is not the functionality you experienced. What gives?

Carlos

Hi Patrick Ford,

Would you like to share what Black Menu version you have?
Oh, and what chrome version and OS you have?

Thanks,

Carlos

Al

i have to say i have changed from google shortcuts its really good to but i just tried this one and i have made the switch i like this one better thanks for the post

Sahar Alotaibi

that way i like to use the android browser
it has the same menu

Muz RC

using this and its was awesome, because sometime we easily forget about other google serive so with this extension its make easier to use all the google service in one simple place…. \o/