This was something that was making everyone stick to Firefox for a while, but this limitation has since disappeared, and Google Chrome 4.0 finally included extension support, as well as automatic translation support between a page’s language and your own, using the Google Translate service, starting with the 4.1 version. The only remark here is that you can’t turn it off as of yet, which means that you’ll get a pop-up bar at the top of each page which is not in one of the languages that you speak. However, this time around, we’ll concentrate on certain extensions we feel would be beneficial to many Chrome users.
Weather forecast and easy accessibility to current weather data is something that is very important to a large number of users. Although Windows itself offers weather forecast gadgets, many are already used to Firefox displaying that sort of information whenever it’s run. Google Chrome offers quite a few extensions for weather forecast display, the two most popular of which are Aniweather and ForecastFox Weather, transferring data from two reputed meteorological sites, aniweather.com and accuweather.com. Both extensions offer real-time weather situation. Aniweather looks four days into the future, while ForecastFox will display info for up to seven days in advance; both applications offer links to their main info sites for further or more detailed info. Aniweather looks a bit nicer, as weather conditions are displayed as simple animations - thus the name (short for animated weather).
Docs PDF/PPT Viewer
Chrome finally has the ability to quick-view PDF or PowerPoint documents in the browser window directly. This extension uses Google Docs, opening a new tab and displaying the document contents. You’ll have the possibility of quick-searching the document, quick-print or download it. The efficiency of this extension becomes the most evident upon searching a certain document type in Google Search (by using the filetype:pdf or filetype:ppt query). You can quickly view a large number of documents, while printing or saving only the relevant ones.
Google Mail Checker Plus is a simple extension checking your Google Mail inbox and displaying the number of new messages. It has the capability of displaying concise mailbox info, so that you don’t have to log into Google Mail only to check who sent the e-mail. This concise view also allows for the simplest of operations, such as reply, forward, delete, archive or report as spam. The extension also has audio and visual notifications options for new mail arrival.
It occurs at times that a certain webpage is optimized for Internet Explorer and is displayed badly (or not displayed at all) in other Internet browsers. This extension opens the selected webpage inside Google Chrome using the Internet Explorer engine, which provides a smooth surfing experience, regardless of the optimization of a certain website. It’s also a useful tool for web designers who wish to test and display their creations in multiple browsers quickly and easily, in order to verify compatibility.
We are bothered by the sheer quantity of ads on certain sites many times a day. AdSweep defines strict CSS rules and displays webpages without any ads using that filter. This makes it easier to concentrate on useful info on a page, since ads are often animated, drawing the attention to themselves and consuming system resources at that. This extension even removes ads from YouTube videos, enabling us to watch them in their native form.
Facebook in a compact packaging. This extension enables the user to read all notifications which appear on his/her Facebook profile. You can open a very clear and nicely designed window which contains feed, wall, notifications and messages sections. This view is no poorer than that you get on the actual website, which means that all of your friends’ photos are displayed as well, both the posted ones and those in their profiles. You can post statuses and comment on your friends’ posts, naturally. The only drawback is that you can’t write or reply to messages, and the chat option is absent as well. However, the Facebook Chat application is there to help, enabling full chat capabilities from a separate window inside Chrome. It displays notifications, messages and requests as well, albeit in a visually rather poor way. We hope that some developer will be able to create an app with advantages of both of these, since it would be the perfect way to quickly and efficiently use Facebook in any tab.
Twitter lovers will be delighted to hear about Chromed Bird. After the application is installed and verified by Twitter, you’ll be able to see all tweets sorted by posting time. Alongside that, you can also monitor certain tweet groups, replies, comments, add and delete favourite tweets. Short link creation is also supported, so that you can easily post them in your tweets directly. The extension icon itself displays a notification when new tweets have arrived, and it’s easy to mark them as read afterwards. The interface itself is beautiful, in fact, so beautiful that you’ll never have to use the actual Twitter site again.
Another increasingly popular site, used by many when they want to spend their time doing anything. You choose a certain area of interest and press the Stumble button on the extension, and the new tab will immediately be opened with a suggested site, offered by the StumbleUpon service and with a high degree of relevance to your query. All StumbleUpon sites contain interesting content, so make sure you’re careful, or you may end up using the function for hours.
A simple extension which eases link sharing and posting on social networks such as Facebook, Google Buzz or Twitter, as well as Google Mail. Over a hundred social networks and internet services are supported as of now, so it’s bound to fulfil the needs of the most demanding of users. The app is optimized in such a way that it doesn’t slow down the browser itself when the aforementioned services are used. It also supports keyboard shortcuts for quick link sharing.
Dual View is not an extension in the proper sense of the word, i.e. you don’t install it into the Chrome browser itself - it’s simply using Chrome scripts. Its usefulness is reflected in the capability to see two tabs in a single window simultaneously. Pages are separated by a vertical separator. If you often need to compare two webpages or use multiple sources at the same time, the utility of this plug-in rises even higher.
You can find all of the aforementioned extensions on chrome.google.com/extensions. They are installed by clicking “Install” on their respective pages, and many of them will be placed right of the address bar in Chrome. If you want to turn off or uninstall any of them, enter chrome://extensions/ into the address bar and you’ll get a list of installed extensions along with the options you require.