Google Gold: 15 Essential Chrome Extensions

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Google Chrome is a Web browser used by millions of people around the world. It is, by some estimates, the most popular Web browser in the world, and it has many more lovers than it does haters. However, the standard Chrome experience can be made so much better with a handful of extensions.

Make Chrome Work For You

There are tens of thousands of Chrome extensions available on the Chrome Web Store, but many aren’t worth the time and effort required to discover them. Only a select few are absolutely worth exploring.

Having already published a long list of the best Chrome extensions, we have now narrowed in on the absolute essentials that all Chrome users should install, especially those who want to help boost their productivity.

HTTPS Everywhere

HTTPS Everywhere automatically switches many websites from plain ol’ HTTP to the more secure HTTPS. This affords users an extra layer of privacy and protection on widely used websites.

Web Of Trust

Web Of Trust, more commonly known as WOT, is a service which rates websites by a simple traffic light system based on user ratings. These traffic lights are displayed alongside search results, helping Internet users decide whether or not it’s safe to visit particular websites.

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Pushbullet

Pushbullet makes it extremely simple to send photos, files, links, and even notifications between your various devices. This makes it perfect for those who regularly switch between their smartphone and their PC.

Speed Dial 2

Speed Dial 2 replaces what you see when you first start up Chrome, with a customizable new tab page capable of displaying your bookmarks, browsing history, and most visited pages, amongst other things.

Ghostery

Ghostery reveals the invisible Web which most of us never see. It detects trackers and beacons placed on websites, telling you what they do and why they are there. You can then opt out of those you feel go a step too far in how they collect data.

Grammarly

Grammarly checks your spelling and grammar whenever you enter something into a text field across the Web. While you may not care about making typos on social networks and the like, someone will notice, and then make judgments based on your mistakes.

crxMouse Chrome Gestures

crxMouse Chrome Gestures allows Chrome users to control their browsing using nothing more than their mouse. This is great for one-handed websites, but not so good for anyone suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome.

Hola Better Internet

Hola Better Internet is a free VPN which lets you pose as if you’re visiting specific websites from another country. This is especially useful for bypassing geographic restrictions, allowing you to view the U.S. version of Netflix from Europe, for example.

Evernote Web Clipper

The Evernote Web Clipper allows Evernote users to quickly and easily save Web pages to read later on. You can save an entire page or just a particular section of an article, and then annotate and/or share what you have saved.

Click&Clean

Click&Clean is a simple and effective way of cleaning Chrome with one click. It allows you to clear your cache, cookies, and history without having to scroll through the Chrome Settings in order to do so.

Turn Off The Lights

Turn Off The Lights does exactly what it says on the tin, allowing you to quickly and easily turn off the lights when watching online video. You click the icon and everything other than the video goes dark, click it again and everything goes back to normal.

Hover Zoom

Hover Zoom enlarges thumbnails when you scroll your cursor over them, thus saving you the time and trouble of opening them in new window. This is especially useful on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and 4chan.

Update: In 2013, Hover Zoom was accused of collecting data on its users. If, as a result of this, you are uncomfortable using this extension, there is an alternative in the form of Imagus.

PicMonkey

PicMonkey is a free online photo editor which lets you do everything from cropping and resizing to adding a range of effects and textures. It’s no Photoshop, but it’s fast, free, and browser-based, making it especially good for Chromebook users.

LastPass

LastPass is one of the most popular password managers that gives you access to all of your various passwords across the Web as long as you remember your master password. It’s fast, free, and secure, making it a good option for anyone who has trouble remembering things.

Send to Kindle

Send to Kindle lets you send Web content to their Kindle for reading later. This makes it perfect for those people who browse the Web during the day but would rather read the long-form articles while tucked up in bed.

Continue the Conversation

These Chrome extensions are just 15 of the many that our readers listed as being their personal favorites. We have highlighted those which we feel as many people as possible will be able to make use of. When used sensibly, Chrome extensions can help make Chrome work for you, adding new features and functionality to Google’s Web browser.

Please continue the conversation in the comments section below. While some of you took part in the original discussion, there is always room for more opinions. Do you agree with the Chrome extensions selected for the list? If not, then please add your own suggestions to the conversation happening below. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers here, just opinions.

A Debt of Gratitude

In order to compile this list of essential Chrome extensions, we asked for help from the MakeUseOf community. As always, our readers proved to be an invaluable part of the site you’re reading right now.

The readers we need to thank took the time to answer the question, What Are Your Favorite Google Chrome Extensions?, and their responses helped us compile this article. Noteworthy comments include those from Abhi, Fern Glen, and Slartibartfast.

Image Credits: Stephen Shankland via Flickr

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Affiliate Disclamer

This article 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.

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