The internet is undoubtedly a wonderful place, but let's face it: some websites are only too happy to serve up annoying ads, unnecessarily heavy Flash elements and all-around user-unfriendly experiences. Here's how to make your browsing experience as annoyance-free as possible.
Google's Chrome browser already takes care of some of the web's biggest annoyances — like browser slowness (Chrome is impressively snappy) and entire-browser-crashing plug-ins (if Flash crashes in one tab, for example, it won't take down your entire browser session). Throw in some great extensions, and you can block annoying ads, browser-jacking scripts and other bad behaviour.
We have to put it out there, right up front: Chrome is not quite as extensible as Firefox at this point. So while the How-To Geek could show us how to fix nearly all of the web's biggest annoyances with Firefox, Chrome lacks for the same in-depth tweaking abilities (most notably Firefox's powerful about:config tool). Its Chrome Extension gallery, however, has developed quite a bit since its launch. The extensions highlighted below are some of the best at getting rid of what ails your web experience.
Remove Annoying Ads
On Firefox, the easy answer to annoying roll-over, pop-out and never-stop-blinking ads is AdBlock Plus. In the Chrome Extensions Gallery, quite a few add-ons have laid claim to the "AdBlock" name, and none seem all that definitive. One preferred solution is AdThwart, which operates on the same kind of principle as AdBlock Plus — point at an ad you don't like, and you can prevent it from showing up there or elsewhere on the net. AdThwart even uses the same ad-blocking database as AdBlock Plus on Firefox.
For a more comprehensive blocking "blacklist" you don't have to do anything with to get working, AdSweep complements AdThwart nicely. The AdBlock extension that holds the position of most popular extension in the Chrome gallery gets good ratings from its users, though, so it might be worth trying, too, if you're not an adherent of its Firefox counterpart.
Block Flash and Silverlight Selectively
Much like AdBlock Plus, many Chrome extensions have set out to offer the same functionality on Chrome that FlashBlock for Firefox does. The best one we've found is this version of Flashblock for Chrome. The extension installs itself in your address bar, where you can selectively block Flash for the site you're looking at, along with Microsoft Silverlight. By default, the extension also places a transparent grey border around any Flash element you mouse over, but that can be turned off or modified in the extension settings. You can also whitelist particular sites to allow their (useful) Flash features, while keeping everyone else on an as-you-approve-it basis.
Make Non-Click-able Links Click-able
Some forum and blog commenters have great links to share, but don't know (or don't really care) how to make their pasted links easy to click through to. The Clickable Links extension fixes that very problem, wherever you head on the web. The one weakness, hopefully fixed in an update soon, is that the extension doesn't open links in a new tab by default, so remember to Ctrl-click anything you need to read in its own space. The multi-purpose search helper FastestFox also does this job, though it's a meatier install with its own button to contend with.
Remove Unnecessary Page Breaks
If you loathe page breaks and want all your content to arrive in streaming fashion, AutoPager Chrome will roll one page after another on sites that use "Prev" and "Next"-style links to navigate results or posts. Best of all, the extension's authors are engaged, updating regularly and actively looking to incorporate the features of the Firefox AutoPage extension. As with URL linking, the Swiss knife of extensions, FastestFox, also offers "endless scroll" on multi-page posts.
Grab Full Images of Long Web Pages
Websites are a vertical medium, but your monitor (probably) isn't as tall as everything you might want to capture from a site. Grab the entire length and width of a site with WebPage Screenshot, which delivers on what it promises. Hit the toolbar button, choose your sizing, if necessary, then save the final image from a new web tab. Simple, effective, helpful.
Access the Downloads Windows from a Button
For those who have internalised the Ctrl+J keyboard shortcut for the Chrome Downloads tab, the Downloads extension is unnecessary. For those who prefer a button for something they don't always need, or use Ctrl+J for another universal shortcut, this is the fix. Judging from its surprising popularity in the Extensions gallery, there are quite a few users that fall into the latter category.
Strip Formatting from Copied Text
Copy Without Formatting is one of those extensions that Lifehacker editors find hard to write headlines around, because it just does what its name suggests: strips out the HTML and styling from text you copy off a web page, so you can more easily throw it into whatever software you use to get your job done. (Original post).
Many of the Rest: User Scripts
Chrome's Greasemonkey and user script support is developing all the time, and at the moment, all of the stuff at customisation wonderland UserScripts.org is easy to install, and some of it works fairly well in Chrome. Dig around, and you'll likely find fixes related to your particular annoyance, especially if it relates to one or two particular sites. Those types of on-page fixes tend to be the most Chrome-compatible. Scripts that call on Firefox's Greasemonkey-specific functions, on the other hand, are hopefully in the works for support.
What Chrome extensions, user scripts or other tools do you use to make your browser not only fast, but skilled at avoiding time-wasting roadblocks? Give us your picks and links in the comments.