My Favourite Chrome Extensions

A few months ago I switched to Chrome. It’s a solid browser; it does what I want and expect (mostly), it’s stable, it comes with a “boxed” Flash plugin so I don’t have to taint my entire system with that POS install that wonderful piece of software system-wide.

I’ve come across a number of handy extensions for it. A few of them I’m still using them after a couple of months; since I try to avoid cruft creep (virtual and otherwise) they obviously have some value to me. Thus, I feel some shout-outs are in order.

My essentials

  • 1Password: one of the first tools I install on every new machine, and of course it comes with a Chrome extension (as well as others for different browsers).
  • Awesome Screenshot: Capture & Annotate: capture an entire web page, a selected area or just the visible part, then make annotations using the built-in tools and either save the resulting file locally or upload it anonymously to their site. Here’s an example of an uploaded screenshot. I like it because it offers a rather streamlined process; I’ve played around with equally nice Skitch but as most screenshots I take are of pages confined in a browser window, as opposed to desktop application windows, the “Capture & Annotate” addon won. They have a Safari extension available at their site, too.
  • Docs PDF/PowerPoint Viewer (by Google): opens/previews PDFs and several MS Office document types in Google Docs instead of downloading them. Given that I don’t own MS Office, this is obviously very handy.
  • FlashControl: the nicest and most configurable Flash blocker I’ve found so far. Allows for whitelisting and blacklisting both pages and Flash files, which is rather neat – for example, I can block all Flash content (ads etc.) on a site but have their Flash videos work normally.
  • JSBeautify for Chrome: When looking at a JavaScript file, this extension will offer to beautify it for you. It’s full of love.
  • Keep My Opt-Outs: made by my man Mike, this addon permanently opts your Chrome out of cookie-based ad personalization. It only helps with companies adhering to the industry privacy standards, but it’s a good start.
  • Readability: I <3 Readability. On a button click the extension removes all the non-content from a given page, presenting me with a distraction-free version while at the same time attempting to pay the site. It’s a novel concept which I support wholeheartedly, so I urge you to take a look if you have not done so yet.
  • Stylebot: apply custom CSS rules to any website. Do I need to say more?
  • Window Resizer: pick a window size from a menu, and have your browser window shrink or grow automagically! Forget flying cars and jetpacks, this is way cooler. Comes with a number of presets and allows for custom sizes.
  • YSlow: Yahoo!’s handy page performance tool. Read more about it on its homepage.

Nice to have

  • Auto HD for YouTube: allows for setting a default/preferred video quality on YT. Also widens the embedded video right away if you want it to.
  • Auto Refresh Plus: reloads the selected tab every n seconds/minutes. I use it mostly on the print pages of the Guardian’s live blogs.
  • iTunes Preview: don’t launch iTunes: prevents the iTunes Store preview web pages from launching the desktop app.
  • RSS Subscription Extension (by Google): irritatingly enough, Chrome comes without built-in feed auto-discovery. Instead, Google opted for a separate extension. As you would expect, it displays a RSS button in the location bar of a site when it found a feed. On a related note: is it just me, or are RSS feeds losing importance?
  • Stop Autoplay for YouTube: prevents YT’s auto-play but at the same time allows pre-buffering.

Not sure yet

  • Snipe: a keyboard-based browser tab finder. Think Alfred/Quicksilver/Launchbar for browser tabs. I like the idea but as I’ve installed it just today I’m not sure yet about its value for me.

So that’s that. If you feel like sharing your list of must-have extensions, let me know in the comments or via Twitter.

Update #1, 10 minutes later: Noticed I forgot JSBeautify for Chrome. Added it to the list of essentials.