Looking for a more streamlined way to use your favorite social networks? Developer 64 Pixels offers a series of Chrome extensions which let you take three major social networks — Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — out of your smartphone and their native websites, and into a slick and easy-to-access window in your browser bar. The extensions give you access to the key features of each social network. You can keep up with what your friends are up to, interact with them the way that you would on the native website (commenting, liking, retweeting etc.), and all from the most convenient place possible: your Chrome toolbar.
Instagram for Chrome brings all the key features you need to keep up with your Instagram friends to your Chrome bookmarks bar. After installing the extension, you’ll find a little Instagram icon next to the address bar. Clicking on it, you’ll instantly see your Instagram feed. You can scroll through the latest photos posted by the people you follow, enlarge the photos, view the original Instagram link, and also like and comment on photos right there in your browser.
From the menu, you can view your own profile, popular photos and tags, and your likes, and also your notifications, although this requires granting the extension extra permissions in order to access that data. You can also search for tags and users.
While you can access your notifications from within the extension, it doesn’t actually notify you when you receive likes and comments, so if you want to stay up to date you’re going to have to check your notifications manually. You can’t post photos through the extension, but this, of course, is due to restrictions on the Instagram API.
Twitter for Chrome offers a slick way to keep up with your Twitter timeline, interact with other users, follow and unfollow users, and, of course, tweet.
Opening up the feed, you’ll see the latest tweets (including embedded rich media), and will be able to reply to, retweet, and favourite individual tweets, as well as click on a user’s profile to view all of their tweets. As new tweets appear in your timeline, a number will appear over the Twitter icon to let you know how many new tweets have appeared since you last checked.
From the menu, you can access your profile, mentions, view your tweets that have been retweeted and see how many retweets they’ve received.
While you can tweet from the app, there are some features that are lacking from the Twitter experience. There’s no way to shorten URLs, and you aren’t notified when you receive replies or DMs. If you’re looking for a better way to post tweets, check out Tweet this Page, or these 5 Chrome extensions to superpower Twitter.
Facebook for Chrome gives you a similar experience as the last two extensions. In fact, this extension is as solid as they come, and made it onto our Best Chrome Extensions list. Here, however, you have to grant access to quite a bit of private information. To use Facebook for Chrome, you are granting the extension access to your public profile, friend list, messages, news feed, status updates, groups, photos and your friends’ birthdays, status updates and photos.
The extension provides a slick and compact Facebook experience. You can view your friends’ updates in your news feed, view posts with photos only, view your notifications, view your inbox (a semi-functional version), your profile and also post updates. You can interact with your friends from the extension by commenting on and liking their posts.
Posting status updates from Facebook for Chrome is probably best limited to text updates, since it is unable to embed links. Any links you share will simply appear as a clickable link next to your text, and not in Facebook’s usual style. If you’re looking for a way to post Facebook updates, check out the Shareaholic extension, which is also available for Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer and Opera. To find out more about the Shareaholic Chrome extension, be sure to read our in-depth review.
Read a full review of Facebook for Chrome.
If you use all three social networks, we would highly recommend 64 Pixels’ extensions. Not only are these extensions slick, they’re consistent. The three extensions offer a similar experience across the board. Similarities aside, each extension brings in the key features needed to really get the most out of the social network, as far as that social network will actually allow. With Instagram, for example, it’s not possible to post pictures from any third party apps due to Instagram’s own restrictions on its API. With Twitter, it isn’t possible to view Instagram photos displayed within tweets, due to restrictions. Working within the limitations of each of the social networks, each of these extensions lets you do everything you would need to.
What do you think of 64 Pixels Chrome extensions? Do you have your own favorite social browser extension? Let us know in the comments.
Image credit: Stephen Shankland