In this article I’m going to cover a bit about Google Chrome extensions. Google Chrome has become a contender in the new web browser race. One of the hurdles they needed to jump in order to win me over was extendability (I have come to love Firefox for having this ability). Well, now Google has given Chrome extendability with its extensions.
Specifically, Google has done a great job making Chrome able to easily work with many of Google’s other services through official Google Chrome extensions. In this article I would like to share some of the cooler ones that I will get the most use out of. Come along and see what Google has up its Chrome Extensions sleeve.
Google Maps has been a constant companion of mine for quite some time now. As a guy, I have this unearthly fear of asking someone for directions. With Google Maps all I need is an address and I can just google the directions myself! Now with the ‘Select to Get Maps’ Google Chrome extension, googling an address from a website is as easy as highlighting the address and choosing whether to see it on a map or automatically get directions. The ultimate man extension, eh?
My Google Voice number has become my home number. I’ve taken advantage of the perk of having a Google Voice number in a number of ways including forwarding calls to both cellphones, saving money by making unlimited outgoing cellphone calls for free, and getting voice mail transcribed (I ran a test on the transcription service a while back) and emailed to me.
Now with the ‘Check for new Google Voice messages’ official Google Chrome extension I no longer have to be in my email to know I received a message. I can just glance up and see how many messages I have. Incidentally I can also make outgoing calls and SMS from the same button.
Just like the Google Voice extension, Google has released the ‘Google Mail Checker’ official Google Chrome extension which allows me to see how many email messages I have eating away at the inside of my mailbox just waiting for me to exact some mad organization ninja skills.
No, seriously, I went through my email box so you all couldn’t see that I used to have over 100 messages waiting for me. Please don’t judge me. This extension also makes your mail box just a click away.
The ‘Send from Gmail’ official Google Chrome extension gives me a clickable icon which will pop up an email message containing a link to the page I am currently on. This makes emailing a link to someone really easy. Since another extension (which I will be sharing further down this list) also gives this ability, I probably would have skipped it if it weren’t for the fact that it also makes ‘mailto’ links open in Gmail for me. Thanks Google for being redundant.
I personally haven’t organized my life to the point of making good use of Google Calendar. Coming across the ‘Google Calendar Checker’ Google Chrome extension has actually given me another reason to finally jump in and let Google Calendar help me.
How would you like to have an icon showing all the time that allows you to see exactly how much longer you have until your next appointment? I know it would help me. That’s what this extension does. I suppose it could also help you keep tasks to the time you originally intended to.
The ‘Slideshow’ Google Chrome extension doesn’t have any real use productively but it is fun to use. Basically if you are on a site containing a photo album (and it happens to be on Picasa, Flickr, Facebook, or Google Images), an icon will show in the address bar (and a strip will show at the bottom of the site) telling you that you can view the photos in a slideshow view.
One upside beside the aesthetic perk is that you can navigate using the arrow buttons on your keyboard making it easier. Just click the ‘x’ when you no longer want to use that view.
Have you ever searched for something on Google only to have to search the landing page for the search word(s)? Sometimes if the word is only found once in a very long article, it can be annoying to find. Sure, Chrome highlights the word and you can always use the Ctrl-F command to run a search but there is an easier way.
Google has released the ‘Google Quick Scroll’ Chrome extension. This will give you a box popped up at the bottom of the site showing the context of the search term. Click it and you’ll be brought directly to the spot on the page where it is found. It could be a help, right? I think so.
Who doesn’t want easier ways to share stuff online? Google gives us the ‘Google Share Button’ Chrome extension with many of the services we use all the time. Click the green icon and you’re given a drop down menu giving you the list. Notice how Gmail is on the list duplicating the work of the ‘Send with Gmail’ extension. Although I usually use bookmarklets to share much of the sites I share, this may change my habits.
Now that Google is beginning to give Chrome more extendability, the browser race is on! Google has many great offerings and now that they are beginning to work more fluidly with Chrome, I can see many people seeing the benefits of a switch.