Google Chrome is the world’s most popular web browser and beyond its speed, simple design, and usability, it also offers a library of add-on features called Chrome extensions. Consider them like apps for your browser that can help you with productivity and efficiency with one simple click. If you can imagine it, there’s likely an extension for it.
When installed, every extension appears as an icon to the right of the toolbar in your browser. You can hide them or pin them to the bar by changing your extension settings. And, you can also disable or remove them so it’s risk-free when it comes to testing what works for you. But before you go on a downloading blitz, installing too many can bring your browser to a standstill. So we’ve created a shortlist of eight free must-have extensions we can’t live without.
Your personal editor
Typing an email in a hurry? Grammarly is our top recommendation when it comes to perfecting simple writing tasks. Its sophisticated AI not only corrects your typos but makes suggestions on how to write content that’s easier to understand. It can also detect tone and fix punctuation mistakes.
The extension is available in a free or premium version, but you’ll find the freebee offers 150 types of grammar checks which cover the basics for simple writing tasks such as emails. Bloggers beware, no matter how instinctive Grammarly may be, it can’t detect context when it comes to the dreaded affect vs effect debate. So, if you’re working on a bigger writing task and you’re concerned about how it reads, we recommend contacting a professional editor.
Your digital PA
If you’ve ever missed a meeting (perish the thought it was with a potential client), you can rely on Google’s calendar extension to remind you. Forget juggling tabs or committing it to memory, with one click you’ll not only be able to see the day’s events but the events coming up two weeks in advance. If you have access to multiple Gmail accounts, you can choose which calendars you’d like it to sync with and allow it to notify you before your event over your current webpage.
Your personal researcher
Gone are the days of right-clicking on a webpage, clicking inspect, and trifling through lines upon lines of code for meta tags. SEO Peek will pull any webpage’s meta title, description, headings, and more. If you dabble in the world of SEO, this extension will save you hours of meta tag research.
Your social media insider
If you’re looking to up your social media game using hashtags, look no further than Hashtest. With over 95 million photos and videos shared on Instagram alone per day, as content creators, you want to do all you can to make sure those who are interested in your content actually see it. And, hashtags can do just that. With the ability to open over any webpage, the extension will help you find the best hashtags whilst you type with colour-based quality scores.
Your speed saviour
Guilty of having numerous tabs open at once? We live in the age of multitasking so we don’t blame you for being a tab hog. But for the sake of your computer speed, we recommend The Great Suspender. It intuitively suspends any tabs you haven’t used after a configurable length of time. This frees up memory and helps your computer run smoothly, leaving you free to open as many tabs as you please.
Your communication king
Relaying instructions to clients or colleagues over email or phone can sometimes be tedious. Messages can be incorrectly interpreted or completely misunderstood. Enter Screencastify – a simple screen recorder that offers the ability to record, edit, and share HD videos of your screen. You can choose to enable your webcam for a personal touch and your microphone to record a voiceover of instructions. Say goodbye to the lengthy instructional email chain.
Your biggest supporter
If you have a tendency to tip-toe around saying what you mean in your email communication, Just Not Sorry might come in handy. It warns you with a bold red underline if you use language like “just”, “I’m sorry”, “I think” and “actually” – words or phrases that can undermine your message. Whilst you might rely on them to sound polite, you’re actually discrediting your skills and knowledge. Be confident, take control of your message, and consider alternative phrases to make your words matter.
Your snipping tool upgrade
Need to prepare a presentation with screenshots but you can’t quite get everything into frame? Capturing and downloading a screenshot has never been so easy thanks to GoFullPage. It’s a simple, fast way to take an entire screenshot of your browser window (above and below the fold). By clicking on the extension icon in your browser’s toolbar, you’ll find a capture of your current browser will open in a new tab where you can download it as an image or PDF or drag it to your desktop to save for later.
Not a Google Chrome user?
Don’t panic, other browsers like Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer also offer add-on features similar to Google’s Chrome extensions. Having said that, Chrome is not only the most widely used internet browser but is also considered one of the safest. When you install an extension, Chrome alerts you about any requests for your data so you can see if the extension is operating on a single website or has additional permissions.
If you rate an extension that’s not on the list, let us know in the comments below.