Thursday, December 23, 2010

Google Chrome Extensions

While the history of the modern web browser dates to late 80s (according to Wikipedia), the first noteworthy web browser was the Netscape Navigator which captured 90 percent of all web use back in 1994. Microsoft decided it wanted a piece of the pie and launched their very own Internet Explorer. That started the browser war of the 90s, which lead to Microsoft’s IE gaining a huge market share, by virtue of Microsoft’s wise (cunning?) decision to include IE as a part of the Windows series of Operating Systems. Today, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome are the top browsers overall, with Apple’s Safari taking a lion’s share in the Mac market. With RockMelt and Opera gaining a larger share of the market, we have a variety of browsers to choose from.

These major browsers available today, have similar (or competing) functionalities. In this article, we are going to bring to the table some features we can add to an existing browser, in this case Google Chrome, to make your browsing experience a lil' bit more interesting (and useful) to say the least. These features that can be added to the browser are called “extensions”. Simply put, extensions extend the functionality of a web browser. We covered one of Google’s own extensions last week – the Chrome for a Cause extension. Let’s take a look at five more.

1. Ad-block link

AdblockThis is an extension available to both Firefox and to Chrome. This extension removes almost all advertisements from web-pages. This extension works when a filter list is added to it. This list remembers what content(ads) to block and is continuously updated and there are even options to filter out ads which have not been stored in their list. We recommend that you use the filter named Easylist USA. We have found that it works well for many Indian sites too. Note : Many websites tend to use Ads to remain self-sufficient, and not “go under”. We would recommend that you use Ad-blocker and other such tools only under extreme necessity.

2. Google Dictionary link

Google DictionaryHave you ever wondered about the meaning of a word while browsing the internet? With Google Dictionary the meaning of a word on any webpage you find is just a click away. Double clicking a word shows you the meaning almost instantly.

3. Smoothscroll link

SmoothscrollSmoothscroll is an extension which does exactly as the name indicates. It makes scrolling a lot smoother. Once you start using this extension, you will never want to scroll without it again.

4. Cooliris link

CoolirisThis is an extension which showcases your photos and videos from Picasa, Facebook, Youtube and various other websites in the form of a 3-D wall. All this at a click from your photo. We simply love the interface it provides.

5. Glue link

GlueGlue is great for people who want recommendations based on specific tastes. Once this extension is installed, a small bar appears at the bottom of relevant pages. You can choose to like a TV show, book, movie or book. Glue will recommend other related content, taking inputs based on your favourited items.

There are plenty of other extensions that you might find interesting. Head over to the Google Chrome Extensions page and find the extension that suits your need. Keep a keen lookout for The Indian Geek extension. (Yeah, we’ll release it before humanity dies out, and the robots take over – that’s for sure!) Just in case you use a different browser, you may use the links below to get the add-on extensions for the browser flavour that you adore.

Google Chrome Extensions library

Firefox add-ons library

Safari Extensions Gallery

Opera Extensions

Caution : Some, if not all, of these extensions will provide access to your browser usage and browsing history, to the author/creator of the extension. This could include (but may not be limited to) the websites you visit, your bookmarks (favourites, or starred items) and your browsing history. We would advise you to exercise caution in installing extensions, by attempting to verify the source. The Indian Geek cannot, and will not take up responsibility for any circumstances or consequences that arise from the use of any browser extensions.

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