Here’s hoping you have gone manic with your Chrome extensions and have installed a bunch of them. Well, at least I have…especially after Google updated the look of its Chrome Web Store and made it real attractive and effective.
Installing Chrome extensions is easy as a click and you don’t even have to hold your breath. But we shouldn’t forget that extensions are little programs that feed off our computer’s resources. And some can be real resource hogs. Also, too many extensions create a clutter that’s not so aesthetic when you want some clean real estate on your browser. Not surprisingly, the answer lies in another extension that manages its brethren with a remarkable discipline, and thus makes for a better browsing experience.
Say hello to Context, a Chrome extension that I consider to be a must-have in your army of Chrome extensions.
Create Chrome Extension Groups and Manage Them Better
Context organizes your extensions into ‘contextual’ groups. That is to say, if you are listening to music or watching movies, Context allows you to load only the extensions that relate to that. The remaining ones can be kept hidden. Here’s how you go about creating a few extension groupings using Context.
1. After installing Context, a brief tutorial shows how you can set up Context.
2. Go into the Options for the extension to set up your first group. Context neatly lists all the extensions that you have installed. You can also check the advanced options (as in the screenshot) to also include apps. Click on New Context.
3. Name the group and choose from the available icons.
4. Creating a Context group is as easy as dragging the extension tile into the grouping. Drag the extensions from the list above to the Context group below to populate the relevant group. You can drag the same extension to all groups if you want to include it in more than one group. You can click on the cross icon if you go wrong. You can change the order of the extensions within a group. You can also drag the groups to change the order of preference as it would appear in the Context dropdown. Click on the Save button.
5. The Context icon itself appears as a white jigsaw piece on the Chrome toolbar. Click on the icon to reveal the dropdown. You can click on one group to load extensions belonging to that while hiding all the rest. Clicking on All extensions brings back the entire lineup of course.
6. When a new extension is installed Context brings up a small notification pop-up that lets you you assign it to appropriate groups via the notification window. You do not need to open the configuration page.
Switch between Extensions and Boost up Your Browsing
Context is not only for de-cluttering your browser toolbar by hiding extensions you do not need immediately. By loading only those extensions that you need right now, Context also frees up memory which otherwise would have been utilized by all the extensions you have installed.
Consider these two screenshots for a comparison:
Context and its one-click switching is a productivity booster. Do you think it can be a claimant to a tiny corner of the Best Chrome Extensions to have in your browser? What do you think?