Google Chrome is undeniably the most used internet browser in the world. The reason being it gives an overall smooth experience.
It has an easy-to-use user interface, fast performance, all devices syncing, and importantly, add-on extensions.
Google Chrome has a built-in store called “Chrome Web Store” which consists of thousands of thousands of extensions and themes. Users can install any extensions and themes they wish through it for absolutely free. It is compatible with all major operating systems: Windows, macOS, Linux, and Chrome OS. However, some people do not know extensions exist, which is a huge loss. With the right extensions, your internet browsing experience will markedly increase to another level. Some might even change your workflow entirely. Therefore, in this post, we have hand-picked the most useful Chrome extensions that will wholly transform your experience.
Before we begin with the list, let’s start with how to install and manage extensions first.
- Open Chrome Web Store
- Select any extensions you would like to install.
- Click “Add to Chrome”
The extensions will inform you what data they need to perform efficiently and ask you for permission. To permit them the data and install the extension, click “Add extension”.
After you have added extensions, the extension icon will appear on the right side of the address bar.
- Click on the icon at the top right > Manage extension
- Click on the icon at the top right > More tools > Manage extension
On the Chrome extension page, you can make simple changes such as toggle extensions on/off, update, and remove extensions from Chrome. For more advanced settings, click on the “Details” button of each extension. In there, you will be able to make advanced changes: allow extension in incognito, allow sites access, and allow extension access to file URLs.
Now, move on to the list.
1. Weava Highlighter
Download Weaver Highlighter
If you are a student or a person who spends a lot of time researching on the internet, this one is a must. It will make your information-gathering process a lot easier and time-saving. With Weava Highlighter, you can highlight and make annotations on websites and PDF easily with multiple beautiful colours. It lets you create notes on each highlight as a reminder of what it is for. Highlights can also be organized into folders and subfolders, which are then automatically uploaded to the cloud, meaning you can access them anywhere with internet access. While the extension is free, it has a premium plan, a soft paywall as well. The premium plan comes with extra perks: customizable colours, unlimited subfolders, unlimited cloud storage, and real-time team collaboration. However, the free variant should be enough for most people as there is no limitation on highlights and notes.
We are sure most of you have already known or heard of “Grammarly” as a website. But there is also an extension version which performs exactly like the full variant. It is another “must-have” for all sorts of people. You can use it to avoid writing mistakes on any possible online writing piece. No one wants to be perceived as a fool online because of writing errors, and this is where Grammarly helps. The extension corrects writing errors in real-time on any websites you will be writing including, Google Doc, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Outlook. Similar to the previous extension, Grammarly has a premium plan as well. The premium plan has extra benefits such as style, clarity and advanced grammar corrections. Still, we encourage you to try out the free version first before deciding to upgrade as most people should be satisfied with the free plan.
If you find yourself getting frustrated because of ads, AdBlock is a great solution. AdBlock, like the name, blocks advertisements on all websites including, Twitch, YouTube and Facebook. Apart from ads, the extension can also filter out cookies notification, in-page pop-ups as well as AdBlock usage warning. Though, these settings have to be turned on manually in the extension settings. It also protects you from third-party trackers and maintains your privacy online. As most websites survive from advertising, AdBlock has an option for you to whitelist your favourite websites so that it lives on. AdBlock also participates in the Acceptable Ads Program. As part of the program, the extension, by default, will not block non-intrusive ads. It is a settlement between users and advertisers. This way, you see high-quality and relevant ads while websites make revenue by publishing them. Yet, if you prefer not to see any ads at all, it is also an option to disable them.
4. Dark Reader
Download Dark Reader
Considering the majority of people prefer dark themes, It is unfortunate how Google Chrome does not have a built-in dark mode yet when dark mode has become a trend for quite a while. Some might argue that you can turn on dark mode in the OS settings, but that does not turn every website dark. This is where Dark Reader shines. Dark Readers helps turn every website into dark mode. The theme darkness is adjustable. You can fine-tune brightness, contrast, sepia and greyscale to create a dark theme of your liking. If a text is too difficult to read, there is a setting to increase text stroke, making it more apparent. Dark Reader is also open-source, which means it does not display ads and send out users’ data. Therefore, you can assure that your privacy is maintained.
5. Nimbus Screenshot & Video Recorder
Nimbus is a very handy extension when it comes to capturing screenshots and recording screens. It is rich in features. You can capture both a whole and partial screenshot of your screen, then edit and annotate them later on. You can highlight, add and blur out texts. Capturing a screenshot of another program is also possible. The same goes for video recording features. You can record videos of another program as well as record videos from your webcam. Video annotation, screen resolution and frame rate customization are also available. Besides, Nimbus syncs all your screenshots and videos with other platforms, meaning you can access them across your devices. Plus, If the free version features are not enough, there is a premium plan to fulfil more of your needs. One major drawback of the extension is that to convert the video file, WebM, to MP4 or GIF requires a premium version. However, if you do not wish to pay, you can add an extra step and use many free online WebM converters.
6. CrxMouse Gestures
Download CrxMouse Gestures
Because every second counts, CrxMouse Gestures helps you become more productive by letting you navigate through the internet faster with their mouse gestures. The extension is not freemium, so you can be sure you can use and customize every gesture to the fullest. There are 15 default gestures, each with its unique action, and if that is still not enough, you can create your gesture and choose an action from a list of over 200. If you do not grasp how a mouse gesture can boost your productivity, think of it as using a keyboard shortcut. Instead of moving your mouse cursor to the left arrow to go back to the previous site, you can right-click and drag left anywhere on the screen to perform an identical action. Yes, it only saves a couple of seconds. But when it adds up, it turns to minutes, hours and so on.
7. Session Buddy
Download Session Buddy
For those who open a hundred tabs every time they are researching for something, Session Buddy is an extension they must have as It will save them a lot of time when researching. The extension helps avoid confusion and free up memory by saving up tabs into sessions which can be conveniently opened at any time. The extension gives you the power to manage all tabs in one website and the ability to search through all tabs and sessions you saved to quickly locate the desired website. Also, if somehow your Google Chrome crashes, Session Buddy will recover it for you. Therefore, the incident that you had to stay up all night to find all the websites again after the crash will not repeat.
With Honey, not only you will save money, but you will also be spending a lot less time on finding discount codes and coupons on your online shopping session. The extension automatically finds a code and instantly applies it to your online stores. All you have to do is click the apply coupon button on the extension. Honey offers a price history of the specific items you are planning to purchase to let you decide whether to wait for the price drop or not. If you are willing to wait for a price drop, this is when another Honey’s tool, “Droplist”, comes in handy. The feature will email you when there is a price drop of the item you added to the drop list. Honey also has an algorithm to compare selected item with every major store. The extension is not a freemium as well. You can use all of its feature for free. It works with over 40,000 leading stores, including well-known international online stores such as Amazon, eBay, Nike, and even in Thailand, Shopee and Lazada. However, not every feature might work well in every store. Additionally, Honey does not sell your data to third parties, so you can be sure that your privacy is protected. Honey’s revenue comes from the commissions from users purchasing with partnering online merchants. You can even choose what information to share with them. They are very transparent with their users’ privacy settings and data collection.
9. Infinity New Tab
Download Infinity New Tab
If you are looking for an “all-in-one” extension that can do various things, then Infinity New Tab might be for you. Infinity New Tab gives Google Chrome new tab a new minimalistic look. The extension combines many other extensions into a single tab. It supplies the Google Chrome original new tab with useful features: notes, to-do list, mail notification, extension management, and search history management. The extension lets you search through your favourite search engine from the new tab instead of going to the search engine website directly. The extension also syncs across all devices, so your customization will remain if you decided to switch to another machine.
10. Zenmate VPN
Download Zenmate VPN
Whether your purpose is to surf the internet anonymously or to access a blocked website, a VPN extension is what you need. While there are many full-fledged VPNs offer online, an extension is relatively easier to install and use. The free version of the VPN extension also often provide more features. Out of all the VPN extensions available on Chrome Web Store, Zenmate VPN is the one I particularly recommend. For free, Zenmate offers a certain amount of privacy with its high-security VPN encryption (AES-256 encryption), and not a proxy service. While most of its competitors only offer one or two locations with none in Asia, Zenmate has four free locations to select from Germany, Romania, Singapore and the United States. They also provide unlimited data and bandwidth usage in the free version. However, there is a drawback. The speed is decent, almost slow. Though, it is reasonable as you get what you pay for.
One last thing, installing too many extensions might slow down your computer as it takes up RAM.
So be sure to uninstall and turn off any extensions you do not use any more!