Google Chrome has shown to be the best new browser to hit the market for a while. Faster than other top contenders, Safari and Firefox, it has the added bonus of being extremely customizable. Personalizing your browser is fun and exciting, but show me the apps and extensions! Oh, Google has a whole Web Store devoted to that, too — how thoughtful!
First, let’s note the difference between an app and an extension (from Google Chrome Web Store):
- Web apps are advanced interactive websites. They may provide a wide-ranging set of features or focus on a single task like photo-editing or shopping. You can easily access the web apps you install from the Chrome Web Store through shortcuts in Chrome’s New Tab page.
- Extensions let you add new features to your browser. For example, an email notifier extension can show an email alert in your browser toolbar so you don’t have to log in to your email in a separate window to check if you have new messages. There are also extensions that work silently in the background, such as an extension that automatically formats and displays web pages in your preferred style.
From hundreds to choose from, you could have a field day exploring and downloading. Here, I’ll give you my top 5 free apps/extensions for Google Chrome:
1. Awesome Screenshot: Capture and Annotate (Extension)
Want to take a picture of a picture you took of yourself? Or maybe you just need to grab that recipe for someone’s grandmother’s special brownie recipe. It could be that you need that coupon and you just can’t find that God forsaken ‘print’ button. Well, you can do all that and so much more with this handy little extension.
With a click, you have the option to capture the entire page you’re viewing, a selected area, or the visible portion of it. Once captured, you’ll be able to annotate with text, shapes and more in a new tab. Save it online temporarily, email it, or download it when you’re done!
2. FB Photo Zoom (Extension)
It’s frustrating when you’re trying to speed-creep on your friends’ latest pictures, and you have to do all that clicking and navigating! Sheesh, it can really be time consuming. If only the thumbnails could enlarge themselves momentarily…!
Luckily, this extension is a mind reader for the part-time Internet creeps and lets you do just that. Hover over a picture and it magically gives you an enlarged view, without any clicking. Ah, it’s like having the ability to stalk 10x faster!
3. Quick Note (App)
Finding a pen and paper together when you suddenly need to jot down the phone number or a confirmation number to your dream vacay booking in the Bahamas is virtually impossible. Even if somehow you’re smart enough to keep them both on the end table, let’s face it — paper may beat rock but digital beats all.
This app is accessible at any moment in a new tab or a drawer on your current page, ready for your mental notes. You have the option to automatically save them online in a virtual notebook or store them in a free Diigo account.
4. Picnik (Extension)
Once you’ve creeped on someone’s Facebook picture with Photo Zoom, snapped the screenshot through Awesome Screenshot, and made some notes on Quick Note on something juicy in their profile you’ve just GOT to pass on to your BFF, it’ll just make sense to edit the picture up so you can make a more professional presentation…
Picnik allows you to upload one picture at a time without registration, and do some basic editing on the color, exposure, contrast, and more. Sign up for a free account and you can do 5 at a time. Once you’re finished, download to your computer or send along. Much easier, and faster (and less incriminating) than adding to your personal photo editing software!
5. Groupon Deals (App)
It’s always fabulous to be offered a bikini wax for a 56% discount to go with the trip to the Bahamas that’s 87% off right when I open my inbox every morning. But having offers come at me from 10 of these companies spoils my giddy excitement to open “13 new emails” just to find that almost all are worthless to read without my wallet on hand.
Groupon Deals allows you to scan the daily deals in a range of cities — perfect if you want to de-spam your inbox a bit, or if you know you’ll be traveling and want to scan out some hot buys beforehand.