Advantages of Chrome extensions that you must use


The chrome Web store is just six years old and it has already fence in us into using our browsers for productivity. But it has only given us the bridges to connect with the right kind of extensions. Chrome extensions do the heavy lifting and thank to them the browser.

There are millions to choose from. And in that horde, it is easy to overlook the official Chrome extensions that belong to Google.

Official Chrome extensions are supports for other Google products. They come with another side benefit — they are automatically authenticated and safe. The Chrome Web Store is safer now than before, but it can still be the Wild West for malicious extensions developers.

Maybe you know about some of these official extensions…maybe you don’t. Either way, let’s visit the little corner on the Store that holds some of the best official extensions you should use.

Earth view from google earth

Staring at a blank tab even for a second is boring. That’s why there are a sea of Chrome extensions promising to make every new tab more fun. Earth View from Google Earth helps start your day on a beautiful note. Every time you open a new tab, Earth View displays a beautiful satellite image from Google Earth. You can also select any image and turn it into a desktop wallpaper.

Want to soothe your bedraggled mind? Click on the menu and go to the Earth View Web Gallery. Select the Leanback Mode to enjoy a slideshow of the best images from around the world. I also like to open any interesting images in Google Maps and explore the world around them – it is an educational time waster when you are in the mood to procrastinate!

And while you are out giving your browser tabs a makeover, try the Google Art Project official Chrome extension too.

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Google Dictionary

The best way to avoid the mental emasculation of the idiot box is to read intelligent content on the web. And one of the better ways to increase your vocabulary at the same time is to understand the meaning of a difficult word. The Google Dictionary Chrome extension is your word reference tool on the go. Highlight a word and double click to read its meaning in a bubble. You can view the complete definition of any word or phrase using the toolbar dictionary.

Going into the Options allows you to set up a few more things. You can store the words you’ve looked up with the extension, go back in history and practice them later. The word history can be downloaded as an Excel file.

Foreign words are automatically translated to your language of choice. Hit the audio icon to get an instant pronunciation of any word in any language supported by the extension.

Google similar pages

There’s a lot to be said for serendipitous browsing. But instead of rummaging about wildly, filter your interests around the best sites. Google Similar Pages is a search tool that helps you to find more websites around the topic you are reading. It does it on the fly and you can preview the sites you get in the results.

It is not a sophisticated extension. And it may not be that useful for old hands, but sometimes you might just find related websites you weren’t aware of in the web ocean.

Save to google drive

If you work with images a lot (for example, share screenshots) and rely on Google Drive, then this is a time-saver. Instead of opening Google Drive and taking the old save-drag-drop route, you can just right-click on an image and save it to a Drive folder.

You can also save web content to Google Drive. After you save using the extension, you’ll see a pop-up that tells you to open the file in Drive, rename it, or view it in your Drive list.

To do the saves smoothly, set up the extension from its Options page. Specify a destination folder and choose the format to save HTML pages. It’s actually a good way to take a screenshot of an entire webpage.

Personal blocklist

Effective Google Search is an exhausting business as it is. Even as Google improves its algorithms, you can do with any tool that makes searching through the haystack easier. The Personal Blocklist Chrome extension enables you to block a site in the SERP. You won’t see results from that domain again in your Google search results. You can undo this block anytime and bring back the domain in your search page.

You can also import your own block list and pre-empt their appearance on the search page.

Note: The information on blocked site is relayed to Google who “may freely use this information to improve their products and services.”

Google translate

Google Translate is heaven sent if you a traveler crossing borders and cultures. It is also Apollo’s gift if you are learning a language. Chrome senses when you land on a foreign webpage and it offers to translate the whole page for you. Other than this big ask, the little extension is useful for the tiny translations on the fly. Highlight or right-click on a selected word and click on Translate icon next to it to translate it to your language.

You can also click the translate icon on the browser toolbar to convert an entire webpage to the language of your choice.

Set your primary language in the extension’s Options. The audio pronunciation in the pop-up is invaluable, though I wish they would also add a shortcut to Phrasebook. Till then, click on Open in Google Translate and use the Phrasebook to build your vocabulary.

Google input tools

After listening and reading in the language of your choice, use the Google Input Tools to practice your writing. What’s great? The Google Input Tools extension provides virtual keyboards for over 90 languages, full IMEs or direct transliteration for over 30 different scripts, and handwriting input for over 40 languages.

Click on the extension’s icon in the toolbar and go to Options. Select your preferred languages or input methods.

Google tone

This experimental Chrome extension tries to make two computers “talk” to each other. Instead of mouths and ears, you use the computer speakers and two computers that have the extension installed. 

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