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My Top 10 Google Chrome Extensions -or- How to put your browser on steroids

Till Zier » My Top 10 Google Chrome Extensions

Google Chrome has become the most popular and arguably best browser on the web. But your browsing experience may become even more powerful when you add certain Chrome extensions. Here are the ten best extensions I don’t want to miss in my Chrome anymore. The best part: they’re all free.

1. uBlock Origin – No ads, no malware, more privacy

I’m stunned over and over again when friends of mine notice that there are no ads on my computer. That is when I realize that for most people it is not common at all to use an ad blocker. Fair enough – many websites make their money through advertisement – but I don’t care for those ads. They don’t entice me to buy new products. They simply annoy and distract me. So, in my opinion I am not hurting the companies paying to advertise, anyway.

Privacy is an issue, too. I don’t want to be retargeted with stupid amazon banners on any other website just because I was searching for a product on a couple of days ago. There is no “targeted” targeting, yet and maybe there never will be. But even if you don’t want to block ads or don’t care about those trackers, you should use an ad blocker, because it blocks malicious domains and scripts. Still not convinced, click here.

The most popular ad blockers are AdBlock and AdBlock Plus. You should not follow the crowd. Far more superior is uBlock Origin, it has the fastest page load time and uses less memory and CPU for rendering, cf. source 1 and source 2.

Chrome ad blocker combined scores

How do various ad blockers perform?

2. SearchPreview – Google search with images

This extension is very simple but effective. SearchPreview shows preview images (thumbnails) of web sites within Google’s search result pages. So you see a preview image of every search result before you click.

I love this because I am able to scan and process an image’s information much faster than text. Since I search on Google a lot this is pretty convenient and saves me a lot of time, too.

SearchPreview search results example

What your Google search will look like

3. Exposure New Tab – A beautiful image in every new tab

Since I’m a keyboard power user, I have no use for Chrome’s default new tab page, where you are supposed to click with the mouse on thumbnails of your most visited sites. That’s why I use the Exposure New Tab extension. Once installed, you’ll see a beautiful photo every time you open a new tab.

There are several quite similar extension, e.g. Earth View from Google EarthGoogle Art ProjectFlickr Tab and 500px Photo New Tab but Earth View and Google Art get boring after some time and the photos from Flickr and 500px can’t catch up with the high quality of Exposure.

Exposure new tab example

Opening a new tab will never be the same again 🙂

4. Imagus – Enlarge images on mouse over

How often have you seen an image on the internet which was too small so you had to click on it to look at it properly? As a product guy who has a keen interest in usability and user guidance, I just don’t like to do so if there are better possibilities.

That’s why you should use Imagus. You lazily hover with your mouse cursor above the image and you see an enlarged version of it. Awesome!

5. Clipular – Next level screenshotting

So you want to take a screenshot and send it to a friend real quick, Clipular is the weapon of your choice. You hit the hotkey to capture your screen and the permalink to the screenshot is auto-copied to your clipboard. Easy as that.

There are many crappy screenshot extensions out there, and many many users have them installed. Don’t ask me why.

These features make Clipular the best screenshot capture extension out there:

  • Annotations
  • Screenshot history
  • Auto-snap to edges
  • Full page screenshots
  • Permalinks for sharing
  • Searchable images
  • Google Drive integration

6. Papier – Simple note taking

Do you need a simple, clean, and distraction-free way to take notes or make a to-do list? With Papier all you have to do is to open a new tab and write down your thoughts or rearrange your former records.

Watch this short video to see what I am talking about:

7. RemoveCookiesForSite – Delete cookies with one click

When you click on the icon of the RemoveCookiesForSite extension, all cookies for the current site and this is very important for me – only – for the current site will be deleted. If you do a lot of testing this comes in pretty handy.

8. Clear Cache – Delete your cache with one click

With Clear Cache you can quickly clear all cache and browsing data with a single click of a button without any confirmation dialogs, pop-ups or other annoyances. Again, this is a great help for web development and testing.

9. Buffer – Easy social media sharing

I want to share links, pictures and videos to my LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook as easily as possible. With the Buffer extension, I can fill up my posting queue for all networks at once. Buffer takes care of everything else, e.g. optimizing my posting schedule based on the number of times I chose to post per day or making sure my posts are sent out even when I’m asleep.

Buffer extension overlay

An example of the overlay that opens when you click the Buffer button

10. Start a Fire – Show a badge on curated content

Start A Fire lets you add recommended content to any external link from your browser. I use it to show a backlink to my blog within the curated content I share on social media. There is an automatic integration with Buffer for all queued posts, too.

In the beginning, I got an incredible CTR of somewhat below 20%. Nowadays the CTR is dropping below 14%, maybe because my followers got used to it or more and more people are using this service? But who cares, 14% is still a fantastic value, isn’t it?

Start A Fire example

This badge pops up when somebody clicks on one of my curated posts