We all have webapps and services that we love, but that doesn’t make them perfect. If you want to do more with Gmail, remove annoying parts of Facebook, connect two webapps you love, automate tedious actions and more, you can do all this with a few clever scripts, extensions and services. Here are our 10 favourites.
10. Fix Your Biggest YouTube Annoyances
YouTube is a great place to find loads of video content, but it’s far from perfect. You may be annoyed by automatic video plays, the player choosing the wrong resolution, the ugliness of the comments and the multitude of intrusive ads. The easiest way to fix these problems is with a Chrome extension called YouTube Options, but users of other browsers can implement a few userscripts to get the same clever fixes as well.
9. Add A Custom Style With A Userstyle Sheet
Userstyles are simply CSS stylesheets used to override the existing code on a website. This is great because you can use them to customise the look of just about any site. You can add custom backgrounds and images to Facebook, make Google Reader look like a desktop app, give YouTube a darker interface for more vibrant viewing and even add a Super Mario Bros. theme to Tumblr. For help on finding great userstyles and learning how to implement them, check out our complete guide.
8. Improve Google Reader With Extensions And Userscripts
Google Reader is a great webapp on its own, but you can supercharge its capabilities and change its look with the help of some extensions and/or userscripts. You can overhaul the interface any way you want, get notifications on updated feeds, remove junk without removing any feeds and easily subscribe to new feeds directly from your toolbar. That’s just a sample. For a comprehensive look at everything you can do to supercharge Google Reader, check out our guide.
7. Manage Your Social Media Accounts Better With Fellowup
Between your Google apps and Facebook and LinkedIn, you’ve probably racked up quite a few contacts and calendar events. It can be hard to manage them all when they’re in different places and that’s assuming you can even remember who your contacts are in the first place. FellowUp is a web and mobile app that helps you keep track of it all from pretty much anywhere. It keeps you abreast of what’s on tap for the day, helps remind you of who all your contacts are in case you forget, and makes it easy to find who or what you’re looking for. It’s a really helpful tool if you’re overwhelmed by your social media accounts. Read more about it here or just check it out.
6. Create Site-Specific Browsers (or Use a Webapp-Centric Browser)
Webapps are great, but desktop versions are often more reliable. You also may prefer a desktop app to always have a persistent window that contains the webapp you want to use. Site-Specific Browsers, or SSBs, can do this for you. OS X has an excellent option called Fluid. Windows users should check out Bubbles (although the site appears to be down at the moment) or Site Specific Browser (which is currently available). These SSBs often add additional features to your web apps. For example, Fluid adds Growl support and makes it very easy to add userscripts and styles.
Alternatively, OS X users can check out Robin, which is an app that collects your favourite apps into one interface. You can switch between them with big app tabs and the interface keeps things super simple.
5. Keep Your Webapps In Sync With Your Desktop Using Social Folders
Social Folders is a handy web service that keeps your webapps in sync with your desktop. You can kind of think of it like Dropbox for Facebook, Flickr, Google Docs, SoundCloud, YouTube, Twitter and more. You just drop want you want to upload to that web service into its respective folder and Social Folders takes care of the rest.
If you add something to any of your synchronised webapps via the web (or anywhere else), Social Folders will download it to your computer(s). It’s not only a great way to upload files to various services, but it provides a backup on your computer as well. The service is free for 1000 file transfers per month and you can gain more free transfers by referring friends to the service. Alternatively, you can just get unlimited transfers by paying $US2 per month or $US10 per year. Check it out here.
4. Clean Up and Improve Gmail with Gmelius and Minimalist for Everything
Google’s latest design upgrades definitely look nice, but they’re not necessarily is utilitarian, or even as simple, as they could be. You can’t fit as much on screen as you once could and, as always, ads get in the way. The solution comes in two forms: Gmelius and Minimalist for Everything. Both are Chrome extensions that boost Gmail’s capabilities, hide ads and remove interface elements you don’t want cluttering up your window.
3. Power Up Your Dropbox Or Google Drive With Wappwolf
Your Dropbox and Google Drive pretty much just sit there and sync stuff for you. That’s awesome on its own, but there is so much more you can do with a cool webapp called Wappwolf. It can watch any folder in your GDrive/Dropbox and perform an action when it finds what it’s looking for. It can convert books and send them to your Kindle, downsize images and upload them to your favourite image sharing sites, batch-convert audio files to various formats and even sign PDF documents. Sign up at Wappwolf.com and read our guide to get started.
2. Make Facebook Infinitely Better With One Browser Extension
Nowadays, Facebook can’t make an update without several groups and petitions cropping up, asking them to change things back to the old ways. Whether you find these complaints legitimate or not, you don’t have to beg to make Facebook bend to your desires. All you need is Social Fixer, a browser extension and userscript that works with pretty much any web browser you’ve got.
It’ll help you get rid of annoying interface elements you don’t like, make your second inbox bigger (you probably didn’t even know you had two), filter out posts you don’t want to see without unfriending anybody, and a whole lot more. To get started, check out our complete guide.
1. Supercharge Almost Any Webapp With Ifttt
If This Then That, or ifttt for short, is an incredible service that can create new functionality from your webapps and even connect them together. For example, you can automatically take articles starred in Google Reader and send them to your Instapaper account, download photos you were tagged in on Facebook to your Dropbox, or even automate your job search. These are just a few of many great examples. We’ve detailed many more here, and you can sign up for the service for free by visiting ifttt.com.