There’s a reason that Google Chrome is the most popular web browser in the world. First introduced to the market in 2008, Chrome’s global market share is nearly 60% and climbing. One of the factors that make Chrome so popular is the ability to add ‘extensions’ to the browser. Primarily developed to enhance user experience through improved functionality or additional features, extensions are small applications that can be added to the browser's tool bar. To continuously create extensions that keep up with the needs of users, Chrome is “free and open source” software. Open source means that Google releases the browser’s source code to developers who are free to use it to develop extensions.
Here are a few examples of Chrome extensions that have proven to be extremely useful.
Select and Speak (SpeakIt!)
Select and Speak (SpeakIt!) uses iSpeech's human-quality text-to-speech (TTS) to read any selected text in the browser. It includes many iSpeech text-to-speech voices in different languages. It enables you to customize the voice and speed of the speaker to improve user experience.
There are times when a shortened URL is a great convenience to those browsing the web - but it also disguises less than savory URLs, making them look harmless. With the Unshorten Chrome extension, any shortened link you click on will be automatically expanded and analyzed for malware, allowing the user to know exactly where the link is redirecting them to. Unshorten will also automatically remove known tracking cookies from the URL.
MightyText - SMS from PC & Text from Computer
With this extension, you’ll be able to send and receive SMS text messages and MMS messages from your Google Chrome browser on your computer. Your browser essentially becomes an extension of your smartphone’s texting ability, as your texts will still be transmitted using your current Android phone and number. Unlike many extensions with similar functionality, the use of MightyText does not prevent you from using your smartphone to text.
Honey automatically finds and tests coupon codes from an online store - instantly finding and scanning all the coupons and sales available for that store. Honey is constantly growing and currently supports shopping sites in the United States, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom and India as well as sites that serve global customers! It literally puts money back into your pocket.
ColorZilla helps you find the color code of a particular color that you’d find during the web browsing sessions. It is, at the same time, an eyedropper, color picker and gradient generator. All these capabilities are found in one tool, with low size and resource consumption.
Session Buddy is a unified session and bookmark manager. It saves open tabs and allows users to restore them later, managing open windows and tabs in one place. This feature is great for freeing up memory and avoiding clutter. It also recovers open tabs after a crash or when your OS restarts your computer.
Have you ever started reading a blog or article on the web and realized it was way longer than you realized? By scanning a page for articles and other readable content, Readism offers accurate reading time estimates while you browse the web.
With new extensions added all the time, Google Chrome is constantly evolving to meet the needs of its users. What are your thoughts on Chrome and its extensions? Do you have a favorite extension that didn’t make our list? Let us know in the comments!