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These Google Chrome browser extensions will help you manage tabs, avoid Flash, save files to Google Drive and more.
Google Chrome is an excellent browser that offers great features and robust performance. What you may not know, though, is that Chrome supports "extension" modules that can further enhance its capabilities. Install the right extensions and you'll be surprised to see how your productivity improves.
Check out this list of 10 must-have free Google Chrome extensions. (Some have paid upgrades.) You'll also need to be using Google Chrome in order to download them.
Awesome Screenshot: Capture and Annotate
Need a quick screenshot of your browser? You'll appreciate the Awesome Screenshot: Capture & Annotate extension. You can use it to clip a selected area, all visible portions, or even the entire page. Moreover, you can annotate captured images with simple shapes or text. You can also redact sensitive information using the eraser tool. Saving files to Google Drive is supported.
Buffer: Send Social Media Updates
Looking for a quick way to send out regular Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn updates, without spamming your followers? Then check out the Buffer Extension, which lets you easily share content on the above social networks using a delayed schedule. What's more, you can set a specific time for your updates to be published. Finally, the service also tracks everything you share so that you can check the effectiveness of your messages.
The Buffer service is free; a paid upgrade option offers additional perks. There's also a Web-based Buffer social media dashboard for Android and iOS users.
Defer: Save Links for Later
Defer is a handy extension that lets you save links to some of the most popular services for reading later. It works with Instapaper, Readability, Pocket, Kippt and Buffer. It's customizable, too. For example, you can configure Defer to enter a custom title and fields when saving a link, or to immediately save something without any additional prompts. (Now you can stop reading that non-work related article and get back to work much quicker.) You can find out more about Defer here.
Dualless: Snap Browser Windows
Dualless is a simple but valuable Google Chrome extension designed specifically for folks who need a quick way to snap two browser windows to two sides of the same screen with a click of the mouse. Yes, it's not the most sophisticated offering out there, but the design is intuitive and works well. Dualless supports various alignment ratios, as well as both horizontal and vertical modes, and it works just fine on multiple monitor setups (even though it's touted as a solution for those using one monitor).
FlashBlock: No More Flash Player
Flash is dying, but plenty of sites out there bog down your Web browsing experience with intro videos and other unnecessary animation. Speed up your Internet—and your work—with FlashBlock for Chrome. This extension replaces each Flash element with a placeholder to indicate its position; if you like, you can load a particular Flash element by clicking on its placeholder. FlashBlock also offers a whitelist manager for favorite sites, such as YouTube, from which you may want to keep running Flash apps.
Google Dictionary: Look Up Words With a Double Click
Google Chrome does come with its own built-in dictionary, but it takes a number of clicks to reach it. The Google Dictionary extension lets you find the definition you need with just a double click. For this to work, though, you need to go to the Options and enable "Display pop-up when I double-click a word."
OneTab: Save Tabs to a List
Do you typically work with dozens of tabs at a time and find your computer grinding to a halt from the overhead? Instead of bookmarking the tabs into yet another folder that you have to waste time maintaining, the OneTab extension lets you close all running tabs and save them into a list with just one click. This dramatically reduces tab clutter, while freeing up large amounts of system memory. The tabs in the list can subsequently be restored all at once, opened individually or deleted outright.
Save to Google Drive: Save Images, Multimedia and Documents
If you use Google Drive, then you must install the Save to Google Drive extension for Chrome. This lets you save Web images, documents and HTML5 audio and video files by right-clicking on them and selecting "Save to Google Drive." This is definitely more elegant than saving to your PC and then moving a file into the appropriate Google Drive folder.
Sexy Undo Close Tab: See Every Tab You Accidentally Closed
Accidentally close a tab that you need? While Google Chrome allows you to reopen a previously closed tab, it only works one tab at a time. The Sexy Undo Close Tab extension, on the other hand, presents all previously closed tabs on the Google Chrome index, based on how long ago they were closed. The entire list is also searchable, to help you find the tab you need, and you can clear the history list any time you like.
timeStats: See Where You Spend the Most Time Online
Finally, timeStats helps you figure out where on the Web you spend the most time. The extension tracks website stats, collates them and lets you select daily or monthly numbers. It could be an enlightening experience to see how much time you actually spend on social networking sites each day…
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