Browsers Internet

Google Gold: 15 Essential Chrome Extensions

Dave Parrack 01-04-2015

Google Chrome The Easy Guide to Google Chrome This Chrome user guide shows everything you need to know about the Google Chrome browser. It covers the basics of using Google Chrome that is important for any beginner. Read More 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 The Best Chrome Extensions A list of only the best extensions for Google Chrome, including suggestions from our readers. Read More , 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 Web of Trust Data Breach: Accident or Money-Grab? The Web of Trust browser extension has been silently and forcibly removed by Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. Did the popular privacy and security extension collecting and sell your data to third-parties? Read More . These traffic lights are displayed alongside search results, helping Internet users decide whether or not it’s safe to visit particular websites.


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 9 Ways to Customise the New Tab Page in Chrome Chrome's new tab page is serviceable, but a bit boring. Whether you're looking for a nice background for your new tab page or want to easily create your own visual bookmarks, add custom widgets, and... Read More capable of displaying your bookmarks, browsing history, and most visited pages, amongst other things.


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 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 Why Typos Always Matter, Even Online & In Text Messages [Opinion] We all make mistakes from time to time. It's natural, a part of life, a learning curve which we use to better ourselves. Typos are no exception. They happen often, and if writing forms a... Read More , 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 Hola Unblocker - Easily Access Region-Blocked Content Access sites like Hulu, CBS, iTV and Pandora regardless of which country you're in. Even better, there's no need to change your DNS settings or set up a VPN. Hola Unblocker is an Android app,... Read More , 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 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 [No Longer Available]

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 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 The Fundamental Advantages Of Using A Chromebook Chromebooks are highly divisive and a consensus about the merits of Google's offering is a long way from materialising. Here are the key advantages of using a Chromebook when compared to Windows and Macs. Read More .


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

Related topics: Browser Extensions, Google Chrome, We Ask You.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Jouni "rautamiekka" Järvinen
    August 20, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    Not and won't use Chrome.

  2. Anonymous
    August 21, 2015 at 3:02 am

    also i like adblock plus, authy, tampermonkey, "user-agent switcher for chrome"

  3. Anonymous
    August 21, 2015 at 2:59 am

    be careful users of hola you may be part of a botnet.

  4. Eric
    May 4, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    Although not a Chrome extension, is a great addition for when reading articles. It removes all the adds and lays it out in a minimalist format.

  5. joebee
    April 4, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    Ghostery is owned by the ad company Evidon which helps companies to improve their use of tracking code by selling them data collected from the Ghostery users who have enabled the data-sharing feature in the extension. So do not enable data-sharing, better yet use the Disconnect extension instead.

  6. Linda Strawn
    April 3, 2015 at 1:47 am

    Regarding the Hover Zoom concern, I've great success with its not in the Chrome webstore but installs like an extension. sometimes it get annoying on a heavy graphics page, but you can toggle it on and off easily.

    • Natalia Korlienko
      April 15, 2015 at 4:28 am

      WOW what a bunch of pompous assholes,i like this site and it's information or lack of.....Regardless,it's called the comment section not the "Pissing match section for know-it-all-desk-jockeys whos self important opinion certainly deserves more than 2 posts", You guys are ruining the whole UX for everybody and no matter what you think,most people are way more tech savvy than you give them credit for

  7. Matt Perkins
    April 2, 2015 at 10:03 pm

    Never take a list seriously that leaves out an Adblocker from an essentials list. An adblocker is essential for ANY browser.

    • HarryMonmouth
      April 3, 2015 at 3:44 am

      Mind you I doubt any of us need an article to tell us to use an adblocker. I reckon it would just be wasted space because that is the one thing that everyone definitely already has. There will be people who don't have adblockers but I doubt they read this site.

  8. Gavin
    April 2, 2015 at 10:54 am

    Using VPNs and the like to access content from another country is illegal in many countries, if not everywhere. I am aware that there are a number of website that suggest apps, services and addons to bypass geolocation restrictions, but that doesn't make it any less wrong. The next article should be on how to download illegal movies and software.

    • Alan
      April 9, 2015 at 12:33 am

      Or you could just be using a VPN to prevent your I$P from throttling your feed to a competitor's video service, that I also pay for. The next article should be on how corporations use anti-competitive practices and ignore their TOS, facing no legal repercussions.

  9. Leandro Toledo
    April 1, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    Hi, I'd recommend the following ones:

    Daily links: For those of us who always have a set of tabs alqays open. You add them and then you just click on the button and all the tabs are open for you.

    Session Buddy: You can restore previous sessions of tabs. It's handy too if Chrome crashes...

    TV Watchlist: It warns you when there is a new episode available. You imput the series you watch and wait for the warning.


  10. Doc
    April 1, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    Most of these (and all the ones I care about) are also available for Firefox (or a reasonable alternative, like Image Zoom for Hover Zoom/Imagus, which uses right mouse button + wheel to zoom, and can also rotate images).

  11. Wendee pitt
    April 1, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    I have a very non tech saavy question, there anything out there that helps to ease the over burden on chrome? I like chrome, and the coolest add ons, but its heavy on the system. I also like Make use of , have gotten my best programs from the recommendations but I do have to be very careful not to overload my system, with all the updates it doesn't take much to have it s get sluggish.

    • HarryMonmouth
      April 3, 2015 at 3:33 am

      I have trouble with it on a couple of my computers so whenever I am running on a particularly low powered system I have to try and disable as many extensions as possible. I did think that it might be the case that having extensions could only lead to extra use of resources, but someone suggested to me that adblocking extensions could prevent a lot of things happening on the page that would otherwise use up resources. I am not keen on the idea of adblocking software but if ads are going to be a burden on my system then I have little choice. Aside from adblock I would imagine that noscript would probably help by preventing scripts running on pages that you load.

  12. dom
    April 1, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    Ouch. Very ouch.

  13. willc
    April 1, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    Wow, what a response. Now I won't feel bad about taking this site off my RSS feed.

    • Dave Parrack
      April 1, 2015 at 1:30 pm

      What was so wrong with that response? I stand by what I said. Reading something on a website should never preclude you from checking something out for yourself. If you do that with Hover Zoom and don't like what it does then don't install it. Isn't that fair?

    • BillD
      April 1, 2015 at 3:48 pm

      Give it a break Will C. You don't have to use anything you don't want to.

    • StoJa
      April 2, 2015 at 1:15 am

      Jesus Christoph, Will. Lighten up. Nobody is making you do anything. And your desire to pick apart everything and mince words makes you seem like a pretentious douche.

    • Jack
      April 24, 2015 at 1:20 pm

      Oh no. You've unsubbded from the RSS feed. Why would they care?

  14. willc
    April 1, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    Well, you say that now, but the article itself states at the top: "we have now narrowed in on the absolute essentials that all Chrome users should install."

    Seems a rather emphatic directive rather than a suggestion, which many people may heed without a second thought, especially the less tech-savvy.

    • Dave Parrack
      April 1, 2015 at 12:58 pm

      I stand by that statement. If we followed your logic we would never recommend anything in case it ever annoys anyone.

      If Hover Zoom was 100% malware then I would either have never recommended it or have removed it once the past accusations were flagged up. But I'm not here to dictate to people whether they should be bothered by an extension collecting data. Install it, don't install it, it's still up to you at the end of the day. It's called personal responsibility.

  15. willc
    April 1, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    "As with everything, if you’re not entirely comfortable using something then don’t."

    Isn't the point of this article to steer people towards useful extensions that you have used your expertise to test out and recommend? It seems to me that your statement nullifies any sense of trust, topic authority, or expertise that this website is trying to establish with its visitors.

    Maybe a more thorough investigation of each plugin should occur before going to press with something like this. Just my two cents.

    • Dave Parrack
      April 1, 2015 at 12:44 pm

      This is a different type of article in that it's based on user recommendations. Even so, we did check out each of the extensions before including them on the list. The claims against Hover Zoom were made more than a year ago, and the collection of data will not bother everybody. So it's up to you whether you use Hover Zoom with the caveat in place or opt for the alternative we provided.

      We're here to help, not replace your common sense.

    • Henk
      April 4, 2015 at 11:41 am

      Unfortunately, the article title isn't "15 User Recommended Google Extensions You Might Like", but "15 Essential Google Extensions", which suggests each listing has been completely vetted by the site.

      Moreover, lists like this are most certainly by precisely because they don't possess the knowledge to sensibly evaluate extensions. If you don't even understand how an extension might compromise your user experience, and many, if not most, of your readers likely don't, lists like this are exactly what you're looking for.

      Were extensions an esoteric browser feature primarily used by software developers, for example, it's reasonable to expect those users to evaluate your listings based on their individual needs. Chrome extensions, of course, are used by millions, the vast majority of whom have no idea that they should exercise caution when enabling them.

      Although I don't think it's a huge issue, I do think you should carefully consider how your recommendations may be used by less tech savvy readers.


      BTW, this doesn't seem like a user recommended list, but rather MUO's curated list of 15 essential extensions. Many will likely also read this as the 15 best extensions available, so you might want to consider distinguishing the two in the opening paragraph.

      Finally, given Adblock's purpose, is it excluded from this sort of list/articles by websites that rely on advertising (most commercial sites, I'd imagine).

  16. Joe
    April 1, 2015 at 8:31 am

    Hola Better Internet is flagged as having malware BY Chrome SHIELD. False negative?

    • Dave Parrack
      April 1, 2015 at 9:53 am

      That's the first time I've seen it flagged as malware, so I suspect it is a false positive. As with everything, if you're not entirely comfortable using something then don't.

  17. John P
    April 1, 2015 at 7:20 am

    Maybe I missed something but I think you missed on these "Essential" Chrome extensions...
    1. Keeper - Not one of but THE best Password Manager there is. Works independently (Win/Android/Mac) or as a cross-platform browser extension for Chrome on Windows, Mac, Linux. Supports Two Factor authentication via Google Authenticator as well.
    2. Adblock - Nuf said. It does what it says on the box. No fuss, No muss. There are some similarly named pretenders so be careful.
    3. FlashControl - See above re: AdBlock. It does what it says on the box.

    All that said, does it not concern you that each extension results in another instance running on your workstation?

    • Saad
      April 1, 2015 at 7:53 am

      And that's exactly the reason I normally have only one extension running in my chrome browser and all other extensions disabled. Chrome browser itself is already too heavy.

    • Dave Parrack
      April 1, 2015 at 9:52 am

      I didn't miss them so much as only have limited space! Most people wouldn't want more than a handful of extensions installed at any one time anyway. Thanks for the additions to the list though :)

    • Dan Sajdowitz
      April 1, 2015 at 5:40 pm

      I've switched from AdBlock to uBlock and haven't looked back. Much more memory efficient.

  18. Flubber
    April 1, 2015 at 6:56 am

    Hola is borderline, till it's using your own connexion as vpn for other people, don't really trust those guys.

  19. We PhotoBooth You
    April 1, 2015 at 5:04 am

    I also use 'color picker' a lot if I find some nice colors on a site.

    • EdB
      April 2, 2015 at 10:56 pm

      I find color Zilla useful for the same purpose.

  20. Pikaman
    April 1, 2015 at 4:42 am

    Hey, just a heads up, Hover Zoom is malware :

    You should use HoverFree or HoverZoom+ instead.

  21. Ryan
    April 1, 2015 at 3:52 am

    Great list! If you like chrome to Kindle try Chrome to phone. You can also use phone to Chrome to throw links and info back and forth.

    The other I love is Google remote desktop. It's an amazing and simple way to control your desktop from anywhere on your phone or tablet. One click access.

    • Dave Parrack
      April 1, 2015 at 9:49 am

      Nice! Thanks for the additions to the list :)