Top 10 Google Chrome Extensions

In my recent post, Eenie, Meenie, Miny, Chrome, I explained why Google Chrome is my browser of choice. One of the key features of Chrome is their massive Extension selection, which is literally growing every day.

For this to get you as hot & heavy as it does me, you probably first need to know what an Extension is. Google says, “Extensions are extra features and functionality that you can easily add to Google Chrome. By using Extensions, you can customize Google Chrome with features you like, while keeping your browser free of things that you don’t use.”

Third-party developers create these Extensions to help us customize our browsing/internet experience. You can find Extension to fit just about every category or purpose (i.e. Business Tools, Education, Entertainment, Games, Lifestyle, News & WeatherProductivitySocial & Communication and Utilities).

Learn more about Extensions.

Extensions are tiny in size and downloading is as easy as it gets. The only downside to having endless Extensions installed on your machine is that they can be counter-productive – if you have 50 Extensions running in the background, you’re bound to have some slower surfing speeds.

That’s why I’ve cut it down to my TOP TEN (in no particular order):

 

1. AdBlock

We live in a world where obnoxious ads are everywhere. Websites with ads are cluttered and take longer to load; why not cut out the junk and speed up your browser?

“The most popular Chrome extension, with over 6 million users! Blocks ads all over the web. Block all advertisements on all web pages, even Facebook, YouTube, and Hulu.”

 

2. YouTube Downloader: MP3/ HD Video Download

“This simple extension allows you to download YouTube videos as an MP3 or a high-definition HD Video (MP4 or FLV). It will automatically add a download button to the YouTube video you are watching.

This extension can even download YouTube videos embedded in other websites.”

 

3. Speed Dial or Speed Dial 2

This is probably my favorite of any Extension. It looks good, is convenient and saves me boatloads of time while I’m on the web. It’s fast, intuitive and makes life much easier for the generation that is intimidated by the internet.

“Replace Chrome’s New Tab with your predefined visual bookmarks. Set the number of dials in the page, select your desired theme and background image, and now use site logos as your speed dials.”

 

4. LastPass

If you’re like me, you probably have upwards of 100+ online accounts. Think about it… Facebook, your bank, Twitter, ESPN, Pinterest, Gmail, E-Bills, etc. Memorizing your username and passwords for all of these sites could be a full-time job. You can select which sites you want LastPass to remember and even has the option to automatically log you me in!

“LastPass is a free online password manager and Form Filler that makes your web browsing easier and more secure.

You can import from most major password storage vendors (such as RoboForm, 1Password, KeePass, Password Safe, MyPasswordSafe, Sxipper, TurboPasswords, Passpack, Firefox and Internet Explorer’s built-in password manager) and export too.”

 

5. Hover Zoom

“Enlarge thumbnails on mouse over. Works on many sites (Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Flickr, Google (Google Images, Google+), MySpace, Picasa Web Albums, Pinterest, Reddit, Twitter, Tumblr, Wikipedia, Wordpress, Yahoo, YouTube & More).

Browse images galleries with ease: move the mouse cursor over thumbnails to view images in their full size without loading a new page. Pictures are automatically resized if they don’t fit the window.”

 

6. AddThis

“Share to Facebook, Twitter and over 300 other services with the most popular sharing tool in the world.

AddThis allows you to instantly share, bookmark, print, or even translate pages with one easy-to-use tool. Start with the most popular services, or customize AddThis with your favorite ways to share – just select “Options” to personalize your list of services. We’ve optimized AddThis to be as fast as it is easy, so you can share whenever you like without slowing down Chrome.”

 

7. bitly

“Save, share, and bundle your links. bitly lets you do more with your links! Instantly save and share any web page, right from your browser with the bitly Chrome extension.”

Great for Posting links of Facebook & Twitter.

 

8. Add to Amazon Wish List

“Add products from any website to your Amazon Wish List

Amazon Wish Lists are universal. You can add anything from any website to your Amazon Wish List making it easier than ever to keep track of all the items you want in one place.

Once you download the Amazon Wish List extension to your Google Chrome browser – start shopping. When you see something you want on any website, just click the Amazon “Add to Wish List” button. A pop-up will open and from here you can adjust details about the item you want; click “Add to list” to confirm the selection. The item will then appear on your Amazon Wish List.”

 

9. FastestChrome – Browse Faster

“Save time and enhance your productivity! Get quick definitions, auto-load next pages, search faster, and more.”

 

10. TabCloud

“Save and restore window sessions (tabs) over time and across multiple computers.

Tab Cloud allows you to save any window session and restore it at a later date or on another computer. Effectively allowing you to sync open tabs between multiple computers.”

Eenie, Meenie, Miney, CHROME

It surprises me every single time I hear someone say they still use Internet Explorer (I understand that it comes as the default web-browser when you buy a PC or laptop (non-Mac) so I can cut you some slack. However, after today, “not knowing” there were other better options out there won’t be an excuse. It is time you make the switch, TODAY!

Mozilla Firefox has also failed me time-and-time-again and though Apple’s Safari and Opera are decent browser’s, I feel like they lack the whole package. There are many reasonable arguments for using different browsers (developer testing, compatibility, etc.), but as for basic everyday-browsing, Google Chrome offers the highest marks in the most categories and has earned it’s spot as my almost exclusively browser. Speedy, sleek, powerful, minimalist, customizable and reliable as a mule.

PROS:

Jiffy Start Up: Chrome uses very little memory which is also incredibly advantageous for Netbook users or for those with other less powerful machines.

More Screen Viewing Space: Less header, less clutter, more of what you actually want.

Import Bookmarks & Passwords | Sync: Google makes it easy to leave your old browser by giving you a simple way to import your bookmarks & passwords. All of this data, along with many of your preferences can be synced across all machines,which you are logged in.

Incognito: Chrome offers a new privacy feature, called “incognito”. If you browse while in incognito mode, nothing ever gets logged. (cookies, history,etc.). I seldom use this but it does come in handy when shopping during the holiday’s or around your special someones birthday. Many public places often use Incognito as well to avoid temp files from bogging down their systems.

Chrome Web Store: The Web Store offers thousands of FREE Web Apps, Themes and my favorite, Extensions! Extensions are similar to Firefox’s “Add-ons“.  Read my post on my Top 10 Google Chrome Extensions.

Address Bar Doubles as a Search Bar: This not only means that you can type the name of a site rather than it’s full address. So when you accidentally type the address of a site wrong, you are still often directed to the intended site. Time-saving!

Useful Google Integration: Google offers the most free features of anyone on the web (i.e. YouTube, Google Docs, Gmail, Picasa, Chat, Maps, Translate, Finance, Talk, Reader, Images, etc.), not to mention they are the leading internet search provider. Google Chrome is just an addition to all these great tools, allowing seamless compatibility, whether as part of Chrome itself or the thousands of Extensions. Read my post on my Top 10 Google Chrome Extensions.

More Pros:

  • Excellent security through Sandboxing
  • Instant site prediction and loading
  • Leaders in UI (started the tab movement you see in most browsers)
  • Built-in Flash player and PDF reader
  • Auto-Updates
CONS:

Like anything out there, Chrome is not perfect but that’s not the point of this post. I’ll briefly mention of few of the disadvantages or missing features in case you want to do more research:

  • No status bar on loading pages
  • No warning when closing all tabs (Extensions like Undo Recently Closed Tabs solve this)
  • Not compatible with some sites (rare)

Adding Chrome to your Android devices has always bee simple, click HERE to see how. However, if you’re an iPhone lover (like me) then you’ve been anticipating a Chrome App for your ios device. Well, the wait is over – though I’m sure it will undergo much improvement with future releases we at least now have access to the Red, Yellow & Green goodness. Download the free Google Chrome iPhone App.

 

In the middle of March 2012, I was “let go” from my job. Only six weeks before that I was given a raise and on nearly all accounts praised for my performance. Needless to say, this blindside left me in shock.

I had never been unemployed before. I had never been let go from a job either, which was a blow to my self-esteem and my first taste of real life. After-all, I had a new son, hospital bills, a mortgage, etc. To top it off, we recently went down from two incomes to one… and now to none.

I briefly pitied myself before I realized I’m only 1 of about 20 million American’s who are unemployed, under-employed or have stopped looking for work. I remembered my own dad, having eight kids at home as he was unemployed for nine months. How did he and my mom do it?

Though it would be easy to be negative and bitter, I made a clear and conscious decision to be of good cheer. I was blessed with a rare opportunity to be able to do things I otherwise wouldn’t have had the time to do. Being unemployed wears you down mentally, financially, spiritually and even physically – each day that passes only gets more discouraging. I knew if I wanted to survive this trial, it was up to me to work hard and enjoy every advantage to unemployment.

Below are just a few of the silver-linings I experienced, while being unemployed.

Time with my Boy, Swede

As I mentioned, my wife and I had our first son in January.  Being able to be home for the first six months of his life is one thing I will always be grateful for.

Taking Care of Mommy

My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer only weeks before I was laid-off. She has gone through the emotional drain of losing her hair, the physical drain of chemo and the onslaught of painful side effects. Being unemployed has allowed me to drive her to appointments, visit her during the day and even have a few slumber parties with her while my dad’s been out-of-town.

Trip to Visit Grandma

My son, Swede, is named after his Great Grandpa George LeRoy Stenson. His light skin, blond hair, blue eyes and muscular stature gave him the appropriate nickname, “Swede.”  Grandpa Swede passed away when my dad was only 15 years old so none of his grandchildren ever got to meet him. I wanted my son to carry on and honor the name.

Grandma took a fall a few months back and seemed to be in pretty bad shape.  It was so important to us for her to meet her “Little Swede” so we paid her a visit in “God’s most perfect square.” He is a tribute to her and grandpa’s legacy.

Trip to L.A.

My wife has a gorgeous identical twin sister, Hannah.  After a few years of living on the east coast, her family relocated a little closer to us. Hannah had not met Swede either and I had only met her kiddo’s twice so it was a no-brainer to hit-the-road and spend a week in sunny California!

Time with Doug

‘Ol Dougie-Bear has regrettably gotten the shaft since Swede was born. It has been nice to go on afternoon walks and spend some more time with my other boy.

Home Projects – Like Organizing the Garage

Cleaning, organizing, repairing. I gave my home and cars some much-needed TLC.

A Few Others, Including:

  • Building my portfolio
  • Developing skills and taking Adobe CS trainings
  • Re-learned the Rubik’s Cube
  • Started my Blog
  • Playing the guitar again
  • Read books that had been on my list

I am confident I will find a great job. In the meantime, I will keep chipping away at my bucket list and soak up every second I have, at home, with my sweet little family.

One In The Same?

I believe myself to be an open-minded, level-headed and even-mannered person. Most importantly, I consider myself an accepting person. I guess there’s one exception, however.

I do not have tolerance for people who are nasty, negative, hate-filled, ignorant or uneducated on topics in which they express their strong opinions.

These qualities run rampant in two celebrities in-particular, Bill Maher and Joy Behar. Recently, I stumbled across a few disgusting videos where they spout off inaccurate and bigoted rants against members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon’s).  Videos I won’t dignify by posting.

Their crass talking-points consistently degrade people of faith, conservative women, Republicans and any other that aren’t in-line with their divisive way of thinking.  Their messages frequently overlap and the similarity of their tone are uncanny, which got me thinking…

Are Bill Maher and Joy Behar one in the same?  Could it be that Joy moonlights as a lamentable late-night host?  Or does Bill spend his days as a bitter talk show personality?  It wasn’t until I saw the picture, posted above, that my suspicions were confirmed :)

For me, it’s inexcusable for people to say damaging and false things against another person or group and then, when confronted (which is not nearly enough), they get a free pass because after all, they’re only comedians. If that is true, what they are saying should be funny.

* Full disclosure, I am a Mormon and consider myself a conservative-leaning moderate. But don’t let that fool you in thinking I am close-minded and can’t appreciate humor. I’m one who watches Bill O’Reilly & Jon Stewart - their ideologies oppose each other in almost every way, yet I find entertainment in both.  The difference is, Bill O’Reilly and Jon Stewart can argue and still be cordial and professional.  They can disagree but not be bitter.  They show respect and clearly have a good time together with their light-hearted banter.

My Dad Can Beat Up Your Dad

“Every father should remember one day his son will follow his example, not his advice.”  - Charles F. Kettering

This Father’s Day was like none other I’ve experienced before – for the first time, I was a father, myself.  It gave me reason to think about my new and special responsibility as well as a much-needed perspective of my own dad’s 45 years of fatherhood.

Every year that passes, my respect and appreciation, for him, grows. With that, I have compiled a 29-point list of things that make him an extraordinary man (1 for each year I’ve been alive).

  1. He… has raised and provided for his ten children
  2. He… has mastered “quiet strength”
  3. He… has always showed love for my mother
  4. He… has taught us countless life-lessons that have served us well
  5. He… made an extremely difficult decision, at 18, which blessed his posterity, forever
  6. He… knows what to say but more importantly, how & when to say it
  7. He… has served faithfully in his church
  8. He… unselfishly cared for his love during her painful chemo and radiation treatments
  9. He… doesn’t raise his voice
  10. He… has done great things with his profession
  11. He… has worked as many jobs as needed so my Mom could be home with us
  12. He… has lived within his means
  13. He… has crushed on my mom since they were only five years old
  14. He… has taken the time for his children & grandchildren
  15. He… gives all redheaded men hope that they can land a one-in-a-million girl
  16. He… It’s rare but he can show his emotions and when he does, it’s powerful
  17. He… has shown forgiveness and love to some who didn’t believe in him
  18. He… is faithful & committed to the things he loves and believes in
  19. He… has a sense of humor, which is unmatched
  20. He… has (when appropriate) hidden his heartache, stresses & trials from his kids
  21. He… has shown how to have balance
  22. He… is steady in all things – a rock
  23. He… makes mashed-potatoes like you’ve never tasted before
  24. He… taught us boys how to respect women – especially our mama & sisters
  25. He… understands, “less is more”
  26. He… WILL fool you on April Fools Day
  27. He… owns his mistakes and works every day to be better
  28. He… has exemplified what a husband, father and MAN should be
  29. He… Is slow to offer advice but when he does, make sure to listen. So much of what he councils is inspired.

He… is my dad and I couldn’t be more proud. I’m working hard to be half the man he is.

I love you, Dad.

 

“I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us.” - Umberto Eco

 

“The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” -Theodore Hesburgh