Mozilla’s Firefox was the browser that really brought the idea of extensions to the front, enabling users to customize their web browser to the hilt. There are already some fantastic Firefox Add-ons and meanwhile, Firefox itself got a lot better with Firefox 35, which introduced the new video chat Firefox Hello, as well as Firefox Share and Marketplace.
But as always, the spotlight is on what developers did with the open-source browser’s flexibility. The list of Firefox add-ons just got bigger and better over the past year.
Popular Chrome extension Imagus was recently ported to Firefox. This extension lets you hover over any thumbnail to see a large-sized preview of the image without opening it in a new tab. Imagus is quicker and lighter than some of the older add-ons to preview images in Firefox.
You know that the big sites are tracking how you use the Internet, but you can prevent that with extensions to improve privacy and security. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a consumer protection group for technology, has recently launched its own add-on, which blocks all uniquely identifying cookies.
There are some great Virtual Proxy Network (VPN) services, but few are as easy as ZenMate. It started off as a Chrome extension and an Android app, but now you can get it on Forefox too, and use it for creative purposes like watching region-restricted content and securely surfing the Web in a cafe.
Firefox has no shortage of add-ons to manage your tabs and there’s even a built-in group manager, but Tab Groups Helper is a little different. Its purpose is to make lists based on your currently opened tabs. Choose a list and Tab Groups will hide the other tabs, eliminating distractions. And you can quickly switch between lists with the keyboard shortcut Alt+[number].
You have a single browser window, but each tab might relate to a different task. Tab Colors lets you add a background colour to each tab, so that you can assign one colour to tabs of a certain task, making an easy visual board of what you need to check. It’s one of those “Where has this been all my life?” extensions.
You open a YouTube video in a new tab, continue browsing your current tab, and suddenly you hear it autoplaying in the background. Annoying! Teach Firefox some manners with Open Link In Silent Tab, which makes the browser pause loading new pages until you switch to that tab.
One of the best ways to keep Firefox from getting unbearably slow is to kill tabs you aren’t using. But that means you will lose those tabs, which might not be what you want. Instead, use Tab Grenade to kill those tabs, but at the same time turn them into a list. The list has all your tabs, ready to be opened, and you can go about using Firefox without it being sluggish.
When you want to focus on one part of a web page and nothing else, Fokus is what you need. Select text, activate Fokus and it will put a translucent black cover on the rest of the page, instantly highlighting the selected part. It has limited practicality in everyday use, but it’s fantastic for presentations and screen sharing.
Some add-ons, like UI Eraser, help to let you make Firefox look however you want. UI Eraser isn’t about adding elements, it’s about deleting them. If you don’t like too many options in the right-click context menu, UI Eraser can remove them. If you want to remove a toolbar somewhere or take out an entry from the main menu, no problem. It has issues with Firefox 35, but the developer is actively updating the extension to address all problems.
Don’t want a download taking up bandwidth while you browse? No problem, Download Plan lets you schedules links to be downloaded at a later time. You get to select the time that Download Plan will run, as well as the folder to save your data in. What’s not to love here?
Not all add-ons are safe and you need to manage your extensions. In fact, mischievous elements even use add-ons as a way to gain access to your computer. Thwart these attempts with Extension Defender, which scans your add-ons for adware, spyware and malware.
The new version of Google Chrome comes with a handy Profile Switcher button to quickly change between different profiles. Firefox also lets you use multiple profiles, but switching is a pain. Profilist creates a simple option in the main menu where you can switch with a click.
Facebook’s new chat stickers want to replace emoticons, but they can get annoying—especially because of their large size. Don’t like them? Unsticker.me will remove all the stickers from your FB. Simple!
What’s Your Favourite New Firefox Add-on?
Tell us what your favourite new Firefox add-on is; the one new extension which now has a place of pride in your toolbar.
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