Google’s Chrome browser is packed full of an incredible amount of extensions that add all sorts of functionality. It’s tough to sift through the store to find what’s useful though, so let us save you some time with this collection of the best Chrome extensions.
Title image by Tina Mailhot-Roberge.
The Lifehacker Pack is a yearly snapshot of our favourite, must-have applications for our favourite platforms.
Bookmarking services are a great way to save the articles you want to read. For Chrome, you can download an extension to instantly save any article you come across to your service of choice, and they will sync up across all your devices. Which you chose is really up to you, as they’re all great in their own rights.
Feedly is the big front-runner for post-Google Reader RSS readers. If it ended up being your choice, then the Feedly extension is a great way to provide yourself instant access to your feeds right inside Chrome. It’s not required anymore, but it’s still good to keep around.
Any.Do or Wunderlist
If you’re using either Any.Do or Wunderlist for your to-dos, then both of them offer fantastic Chrome extensions that sync across all your devices. This means you’ll never forget what you have to do no matter where you’re working. Wunderlist also now has real-time syncing across devices and shareable to-do lists, while Any.do now makes it easier to manage household or team projects. When it comes to staying on top of your tasks, you can’t go wrong with either of these.
There are plenty of web sites out there that want to suck away your time. From social networks to your favourites blogs, it’s easy to lose track of your day. StayFocusd blocks those time-sinking web sites so you can get work done.
The web is a chaotic and messy place filled with toolbars, notifications and lots of clutter. If you want to get rid of all that, Minimalist for Everything is an extension that slims down the web to make it simpler to use. Minimalist for Everything can do all kinds of things, from getting rid of Google’s navigation bar to making Gmail less cluttered.
Lazarus is a lifesaver for anyone who fills out a lot of forms online, or who writes in their browser. When you’re typing in a form, Lazarus saves what you’re doing. If your browser crashes, Lazarus saves a backup. It’s simple, but it can seriously rescue your day.
Gmail’s a great web app, but the problem is that it only works when you’re online. Gmail Offline allows you to continue using Gmail even when you don’t have an internet connection. When you connect again, the emails you compose will get sent off just like they would in a desktop app.
Ambient sounds can help you fight off distractions and stay productive. Noisli, a web app that allows you to create your own background noise, is now a Chrome extension that doesn’t take up an extra tab to use anymore. Noisli lets you create your own combination of sounds and will let you set up a timer as a way to track your work.
Lastpass is our favourite password manager, because it’s free and easy to set up. With it, you’ll never have to remember a password again, and all your passwords will be synced up across your various devices. The nice thing is that you can do all kinds of cool things with Lastpass, so you’ll never get bored of it. It should be noted that LastPass was breached by hackers somewhat recently, but no encrypted user data was stolen and we still recommend it.
HTTPS is one of the simplest ways to make browsing the web more secure, and HTTPS Everywhere is an extension that makes it so you don’t even have to think about it. With it, you’ll always visit the encrypted, secure version of a site whenever you type in the URL.
AdBlock Plus is usually just seen as a tool to block annoying ads on websites, but it’s a lot more than that. It will also protect your privacy across the web, block other sections you want to hide (like YouTube comments), and even block malware. Sure, it’s also an ad blocker, but it’s so much more. If you want a leaner alternative that doesn’t eat up as much memory and potentially slow your system down, uBlock Origin can provide just as much safety and privacy protection as AdBlock Plus.
Disconnect’s main purpose is simple: it blocks third-party tracking cookies. This means Disconnect blocks advertisers and social networks from tracking your browsing habits. On top of that, Disconnect has all kinds of tricks up its sleeves, including the ability to block people from hacking into your person info. Even better, Disconnects new privacy icons make it even easier to tell if a site’s legit.
SecureGmail is very simple: click on a button, and the email you’re about to send through Gmail is encrypted. The only way to decrypt it is if the recipient has a password. It’s not perfect by any means, but as a quick and simple way to protect your private messages it does the trick.
Flix Plus is Lifehacker’s own made-inhouse extension for tweaking Netflix.com. You can filter recommendations, remove spoilers for movies and TV shows, use keyboard shortcuts, view ratings from Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB, and so much more. We also make sure Flix Plus stays up to date when Netflix rolls out updates of their own, so you can always have best possible movie-watching experience in a browser.
Having a bunch of tabs open in your browser is a resource hog, and if you’re not careful you can slow your system to crawl. The Great Suspender takes care of this problem by automatically suspending tabs you’re not using so they don’t use up CPU. It’s certainly not the only tool to wrangle in your tab usage, but it’s one of the most useful.
When you’re shopping online you can almost always score a couple discount codes for a small percentage off a sale or free shipping. The problem is that you usually have to hunt those codes down and paste them in at checkout. Honey removes that requirement, and automatically applies discount codes for you so you don’t even have to think about it.
With thousands of stores to choose from, finding the best deal online is no easy task. To simplify this process, we like InvisibleHand, an extension that automatically combs through lots of online stores when you’re shopping to find the best deal for you. It’s a simple and automatic way to save money while you’re shopping.
Region blocking makes it difficult for a lot of people to watch cool videos. The TunnelBear VPN extension lets you route your internet traffic from whatever country you like so you can stream blocked content from anywhere. You get 500MB of free data every month, but there is an unlimited plan for US$6.99/month for any five computers or mobile devices. We no longer recommend Hola Better Internet, after the discovery that they sell your bandwidth to basically run a botnet for hire.
If you’re a big Facebook user, then you owe it to yourself to give Social Fixer a try. It’s our pick for the best way to make Facebook better because you can do all kinds of things with it, including getting rid of obnoxious political posts, track people who unfriend you, and plenty more. It’s not as powerful as it used to be, but it’s still a worthwhile extension to keep around.
YouTube can be pretty annoying sometimes, but if you want to fix some of the most common problems with it, Magic Actions is the easiest way to do it. You can set up auto-HD, stop autoplay, create a cinema mode and more.
Computer hardware is expensive, so you always want to ensure you’re buying at the best price. The Hover Hound extension compares hardware prices at Newegg with Tiger Direct and Amazon with just a hover of your mouse cursor. You can also view price history and see when prices were at their highest and lowest at each seller. Hover Hound is a must for anyone who is regularly buying hardware.