There are plenty of reasons Google’s Chrome browser has led users to its green pastures in recent years. Chrome is fast and clean and it integrates deeply with Google. Perhaps best of all, Chrome boasts an ever-improving marketplace of lightweight software geared toward hacking your browsing experience into exactly what you’d like it to look and work like.
If you’re new to Chrome, thinking about switching or just looking for a little variety in your workflow, dive into our list of the best extensions for Chrome and start bettering your browser.
This well-loved utility formerly known as “Read It Later” does just that. Pocket for Chrome is a great extension that lets you virtually dogear what you’re reading so that you can circle back to it later. That means you finally don’t have to read those 18 viral bait Buzzfeed lists in the middle of your workday—just save ‘em for later. Productivity win!
Are you a copious “to do” list maker? If you are, Any.Do may just be the extension you’ve been looking for. Any.Do just keeps getting better. My favorite to do list manager around (I’ve tried a kajillion of them), Any.Do’s Chrome extension syncs your browser with its excellent mobile apps so that you never forget to remember that thing you didn’t want to forget to remember, no matter where you’re working.
Evernote Web Clipper
If you’re an Evernote person, this Chrome extension is a no brainer. Clip any bit of the Web you like, from a Facebook photo to a flight confirmation. Annotate your clip and file it away for later in Evernote by clicking the toolbar logo or right-clicking your mouse in Chrome itself.
Download Evernote Web Clipper
Prevent Duplicate Tabs
You’ve got to like an extension that just tells you what it does without having some fancy name. Prevent Duplicate Tabs does exactly what it says it does: closes old tabs or prevents you from opening new ones so that the damned things stop multiplying like rabbits. If you don’t find your yourself adrift in a sea of too many open browser tabs from time to time, you’re probably lying. Tab addiction is real, and sometimes we don’t even remember what we opened twenty tabs back.
Download Prevent Duplicate Tabs
Web Of Trust
Web Of Trust (WOT) is a browser classic. If you find yourself in the Web’s back alleys, whether on purpose or by accident, this extension will lead you back to safety. WOT rates each site you visit with a clear color-coded system based on crowdsourced browsing data so that you don’t get scammed, hacked or worse.
Switch To New Tab
Another aptly named extension. Switch To New Tab can shave seconds off a task you do about one million times a day. You ever click on a link but not know where the new browser window opened? This extension takes care of that by running in the background of Chrome so that every time you click a link, the new tab is front and center on your browser.
Download Switch To New Tab
If you watched on in horror as Google axed Reader, you’ve probably heard of Feedly. An awesome way to subscribe to and consume the parts of the Web you want, Feedly is the best spiritual successor to Google’s late RSS reader. Feedly’s Chrome extension is basically a quick launch button, but it saves messing around with bookmarks and gets you to your custom Web portal in a click.
On a computer, concentrating on one task is… well, I don’t remember—I just tabbed out to check the weather. If you feel the Interweb creeping in around the edges of your online zen, StayFocusd for Chrome lets you rein in that Reddit addiction with custom time limits to block out distractions. StayFocusd allows users to set time limits for any websites they visit for the day. Once you go over your allotted time, the extension will block that website for the rest of the day. Helpful hint (or fair warning): Want to turn the Web off without, you know, turning the Web off? Choose the “nuclear option.”
Lastpass is a security essential. If it feels like you’re resetting a password for a compromised account every time you turn around (you are), Lastpass will keep your sprawl of passwords under encrypted lock and key—and save you time and time again. And hey, you don’t have to actually remember your passwords.
Extensions can make your time sailing through browsers exponentially better, but managing them can be a major pain. Chrome’s native portal for tinkering around with your third-party party extensions can be a hassle. Extensity helps you manage your extensions and makes toggling them on and off a breeze.
Browser plugins can consume considerable system resources, especially in Chrome—already a notorious memory hog. Running extensions are treated like open tabs, but they’re even easier to forget about. Try them all on, but be sure to delete or disable any that didn’t quite fit. After all, the whole idea is to improve your browsing experience, not weigh it down.