Twelve absolute must-have Google Chrome plugins


12 Must Have Chrome ExtensionsThere’s somewhat of an explosion of Chrome plugins taking place at the moment. Which is great, because to be totally honest for me the biggest barrier to switching to Chrome was the collection of plugins that I used with other browsers and have come to depend on (e.g.#1, 2, and 4 below).


The following is a list of 12 plugins that you will absolutely want to have if you use Google Chrome: (1) LastPass, (2) Clip to Evernote, (3) Xmarks Bookmarks Sync, (4) Postponer (an unofficial Read-It-Later extension), (5) Click&Clean, (6) Shareaholic, (7) Feedly, (8) Join Tabs, (9) Inline Search and Lookup, (10) SEO Site Tools, (11) ChromeMailer, and (12) Chrome Link Checker.

If you link and/or find this post useful please share it via Stumble, Digg, or otherwise use your favorite bookmarking service. Thanks ;)

lastpass chrome screenshotlastpass chrome screenshot2

1- LastPass: this has grown to be the definitive, multi-platform, multi-device (there is also an iPhone app), and now multi-browser password manager. LastPass stores all of your passwords online in encrypted form, and decrypts them locally on your machine when you need them. You can access your passwords on multiple machines or devices, manage multiple logins for the same type of service (e.g. multiple Gmail accounts), and use it to fill in forms as well as passwords.

With many dozens of logins and passwords that I use, I’ve come to be very invested-in and dependent-on LastPass; now that the Chrome extension is here I can finally consider it seriously as my primary browser.

Go here to install LastPass Chrome extension.

Evernote Chrome2- Clip to Evernote: has emerged the de-facto leader for web-clipping, browser-integrated note taking apps. Like LastPass, Evernote has an online storage component, and straddles multiple browsers, multiple platforms, as well as multiple devices (including an iPhone app).

Evernote allows for tagging your notes, as well as saving searched. The one thing that I can say about Evernote (as opposed to other web-clipping extensions) is that it is constantly being improved and developed.

Evernote is primarily a desktop app that relies on browser plugins for web clipping. It can either “clip” the URL of the page you are interested in or clip the page contents; make sure you specify what you are interested in using the checkboxed in the bottom of the Evernote for Chrome dialog. And although Evernote is, technically adware, the ads implementation is one of the most elegant and unobtrustive you could find. There are also limits on the how much bandwidth you could consume but they are quite generous (I’ve personally never hit the limit).

Go here to install Clip To Evernote Chrome extension.

Xmarks Screenshot3- Xmarks Bookmark Sync: stores your bookmarks online and can synchronize them across different browsers and different machines, so that you can always access the latest configuration of your bookmarks no matter what browser or machine you happen to be using.

Xmarks allows you to optionally enable automatic synchronization, optionally encrypt your bookmarks, and also to open any tabs that are open in other browsers that are using Xmarks under your same login.

Thanks to reader bltmn for mentioning this one in the comments section of a previous post.

Go here to install Xmarks Bookmark Sync Chrome extension

Postponer adderPostponer manager

4- Postponer: is an unofficial “Read-it Later” extension that lets you add entries to your “Read it Later” account and manage these within Chrome (note that this is actually not one extension but two: Postponer Adder and Postponer Manager).

“Read it Later” is a sort of temporary bookmarking service where you can flag articles or web pages that you do not have time to read right away but would like to keep for later. Like other plugins mentioned above, Read it Later stores your selections online so that you can access them from other machines, browsers, or even devices (yes, there is a read it later iPhone plugin as well).

Postponer Adder lives within the address box and, when clicked, will flag the page you are viewing for later reading (see left screenshot above). Postponer Manager can display, open, and delete your Read it Later entries, as well as filter them via a search box (see screenshot to the right, above). It can also launch a sperate window for managing read it later entries, which is my favorite way to do it.

Thanks for reader Ricardo for mentioning these in the comments section of another post.

Go here to install Postponer Adder, and here to install Postponer Manager.

Click&Clean ScreenshotClick&Clean Task Manager Screenshot

5- Click&Clean: lets you delete your browser history and data as well as typed URLs with a single click. Also provides other functions, such as viewing/browsing the cache (including cached media such as videos that you’ve watched, etc.)

One supercool function that Click&Clean offers is the Chrome task manager, which displays the memory usage for each Chrome window, tab, as well as each Chrome plugin (see screenshot to the right, above) This is amazingly cool if you, like me, are interested in your browser’s memory consumption).

One thing I am unsure of is whether the cache and browser cleaning process requires a restart of Chrome, as the cleaning process seems to proceed and work just fine without one, though I am unsure if a restart is needed.

Go here to install Click&Clean for Chrome

Shareaholic ScreenshotShareaholic Services

6- Shareaholic for Google Chrome: an amazing extension that will let you bookmark and share any page using your favorite bookmarking and/or social sites (e.g. Digg, Stumble, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc) as well as quickly send pages to URL shortening services or simply send by email.

To use this you will need to register for a Shareholic account. You will also need to select your bookmarking services from the vast range on offer (see screenshot above). Also note that Shareaholic can in fact add pages to both Evernote and Read It Later, which were mentioned above.

There are a couple of other similar extensions for Chrome; however at the moment Shareaholic seems to be the most versatile and bug free, which is why I chose it.

Why not install and test this right now by Stumbling, Digging, and sharing this very page using all of your favorite bookmarking services ;)

Go here to install Shareaholic for Chrome.

Feedly Screenshot7- Feedly: is a service that can interface with your Google Reader account to present your favorite sites/blogs/or RSS feeds in a magazine-like start page.

There’s not much to say about this one, except that it is really cool and adds an elements of coolness to Google Reader which, if you ask me, is badly needed ;).

Clicking on the Feedly extension icon in the toolbar will launch Feedly quickly and easily.

Go here to install Feedly for Chrome

Join Tabs Screenshot8– JoinTabs: one of the really nice features that chrome offers is the ability to drag a tab from a collection of tabs out into its own window. Join tabs does the exact opposite: it lets you combine multiple chrome windows into tabs within the same window.

This is something that I have always wished I could do, especially for new browser windows that are inadvertently created when I click a link, when I would prefer to keep all my browsing activity as tabs. Very cool.

Go here to install JoinTabs for Chrome.

Inline Search

9- Inline Search and Lookup: lets you press ALT and select a word or phrase in order to look it up in any number of resources, such as the free dictionary, Wikipedia, Wiktionary, or any number of search resources that you could choose from.

Two things I like about this one; (1) is that the results are displayed instantly in an inline popup window, and (2) is that it displays a SINGLE, pre-selected resource (which, given that Chrome lets you right click a word to search Google anyway, for me would probably be Wikipedia). This, for me, seems perfect, as I am perfectly aware of the myriad of plugins that let you right click on a word and search a zillion resources, or select and drag a word in any of 9 directions to search different resources, and one word comes to mind: overload. Inline Search and Lookup, in contrast, is just perfect.

Go here to install Inline Search & Lookup for Chrome.

SEO Site Tools Screenshot10- SEO Site Tools: there are a few Chrome SEO plugins, including “Chrome SEO” which was previously mentionedon Freewaregenius. SEO Site Tools provides comprehensive information on all things SEO related. It get my vote, however, because of the way it is visually organized, which makes sense, but also for the “suggestions” section which has drawn my attention to insights that I would never have known otherwise. All in all a great plugin.

To highlight “no follow” links as you browse, use the little checkbox in the bottom left.

Go here to install SEO Site Tools for Chrome.

ChromeMailer Screenshot

11- ChromeMailer: this Chrome addon will make Gmail the default email client on your system, such that when you click on “mailto” links it will open Gmail in Chrome rather than whatever is defined as the default client in Windows. (Obviously, this is only of interest to you if you use Gmail for email).

This new behavior will apply across the board, even in other browsers. I tested by clicking on a “mail to” link in IE and watched as a new instance of Gmail was used to compose the email (which incidentally was opened via Chrome and not IE).

To install, download the installer (available in for Windows in 32bit and 64bit varieties) then run. Set it once then forget it.

To download ChromeMailer, go to this page.

Chrome Link Checker Screenshot12- Chrome Link Checker
: this one for the hardcore downloaders out there. Chrome Link Checker will check to see if a download link you encounter on a page is broken, and highlight the link using either a little, discreet checkmark next to the link (as pictured in the image to the right) Otherwise, it can highight the links for you, marker style, using the appropriate color (green=good, red=broken, orange=unknown).

Nothing too revolutionary there, until you consider that Chrome Link Checker works with 85+ file hosting services such as RapidShare, MegaUpload, etc.

One cool thing is that you can set Chrome Link Checker to either automatically check links whenever it encounters them or otherwise wait for you to hover over them with the mouse before it does so.

Chrome Link Checker can also make non-clickable URLs on sites clickable, provided they are complete and include “http://”.

Go here to install Chrome Link Checker.

Do you know of other Chrome extensions that you find indispensable? Please let me know about them in the comments section below.