I love Google Chrome.
This Web browser from Google must rank as one of the search giant’s biggest success stories. As of July 2012, nearly 34 percent of Web users have made Chrome their browser of choice, compared with 32 percent who prefer Internet Explorer and 25 percent who like Firefox.
Not bad for a product that isn't even four years old.
One of the primary drivers of Chrome's popularity is the Google Chrome Web Store
, which helps make your browser experience unique to you. Google Chrome users can download various “extensions” that provide a variety of services.
For example, there are extensions for bloggers, for Gmail users, and for gamers.
However, the Google Chrome Store has a vast number of extensions, making it difficult for the casual user to wade through the many offerings.
To make things easier for you, here are 10 extensions that I can't live without:
1. Black Menu.
Google's product suite is enormous, and accessing the parts you need varies from day to day. Black Menu solves that problem by serving up every product in tabbed format within an easy-to-access extension.
This has quickly become my most-used extension.
2. Share buttons/counters for Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
With these extensions, you can add social sharing buttons to your Web browser’s bookmarks bar. This is useful for two reasons:
• Many Web pages don’t have buttons that enable you to quickly and easily share an article on a social network. These extensions give you the ability to do that with any Web page.
• Icons for Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest appear in your bookmarks bar accompanied by a counter showing the number of times a page has been tweeted, “liked,” and pinned.
This is a great way of getting a feel for how popular specific pages are and whether they are worth sharing.
Click the links to download the extensions for Twitter
, and Pinterest
3. AdBlock and AdBlock Plus
These are two of the most popular Google Chrome extensions, and it is easy to see why. They prevent the display of ads on your pages, making your Web browsing sessions a much more enjoyable experience.
Next year, Google is shutting down its iGoogle service
. (iGoogle is a personalized Web page that you create.) I’m a little miffed about the decision, because it has been my personal hub. Thankfully, BlogLovin will help ease the pain of this loss.
BlogLovin enables you to follow, categorize, and read your favorite blogs directly from any Web page. It provides a Google Reader style experience within the Chrome framework and makes following your favorite blogs as easy as pie.
5. Speed Dial
Here’s another app that eases the pain of the shuttering of iGoogle. Speed Dial gives you the ability to replace your Chrome “new” tab with predefined visual bookmarks, enabling you to set up your home tab with your most visited sites in a way that can help kick-start even the most forgetful minds.
An alternative is MySites
, which does a similar job and arguably presents your links in a prettier fashion.
6. Viral Heat social sentiment
This extension adds a basic analytics bar to any social network site you visit to give you a basic idea of sentiment of that account page. It’s especially handy on Facebook brand pages.
7. Instagram for Chrome
Here’s a basic but handy way to keep an eye on your Instagram stream from your desktop.
8. Screen Capture
This is the easiest way to obtain a screen grab and save and/or share it.
Any.do is perhaps the Web's most complete task-management tool, with seamless mobile integration.
10. AppFinder by allmyapps
AppFinder helps you discover apps and manage them easily by offering suggestions directly your search results. It’s similar to the Invisible Hand
extension, which serves up the lowest prices for cars, hotels, and flights when you search travel topics.
For now, AppFinder is only available on PCs.
Are there any Chrome extensions that you can’t live without?
A version of this story first appeared on the author's blog.