If you are using the Chrome browser only to load web pages, then you are under-utilising it.
The Chrome Web Store is home to a number of apps and extensions that help improve your productivity, make it easier to share content, protect your privacy, edit photos and even record webcam videos.
It beats installing software that consume hard drive space and may only be used occasionally. Ashutosh Desai tells you about…
Grammarly ensures that emails or status updates are free of embarrassing typos and incorrect English.
It kicks in when you type in websites like Facebook, Twitter and WordPress. If you see words with a red underline, simply hover over them, choose one of the suggested options or add it to your dictionary. Doubleclick a word and Grammarly will even display synonyms or its definition. Register with this service and the extension will save your settings and custom dictionary. Remember: If the logo is not green, there are errors in your copy .
Keeping a Gmail tab open in the browser can be distracting and cumbersome when you have to navigate multiple tabs.
With Checker Plus for Gmail, you can view notifications, read, delete and compose new e-mails without opening a new tab. In fact, you can even manage multiple Gmail accounts. You can archive e-mails, assign labels, get Checker Plus to “read an e-mail“ out to you, and even assign different notification sounds for each account.
It also comes with a “Do Not Disturb“ feature and the option to run in the background even when Chrome is closed.
Boomerang Calendar is a smart scheduling assistant that integrates with your Gmail inbox.
It can understand plain text emails that contain appointment requests and displays dates, time and locations as colour-coded hyperlinks. Red signifies you are busy , yellow means you already have an engagement close to the suggested time, and green implies you are free to meet. Place the mouse pointer over each hyperlink to see your schedule, click on a time you prefer, enable reminders for the attendees, and “add the event“ to your calendar. You can do all this, and schedule emails, without opening a new tab.
You don’t have to reach for your Android phone every time it beeps.
With MightyText, you can receive all alerts in your web browser, so you save time by only responding to the important ones.
You will also have to install the MightyText Android app and link the two with your registered email address. When the set up is complete, you will be able to send-receive text messages, access your contacts, view battery status, and browse recent photos and videos saved on your mobile device.
Print Friendly & PDF
Printing web pages, even after using the Print Preview option, usually leads to paper wastage.
Ads, embedded videos and images also make it difficult to select text. Print Friendly & PDF takes care of these issues by converting web pages into an editable preview. You can reduce text size, remove images, and delete paragraphs or links, by clicking on them. The final version can then be e-mailed, downloaded in PDF form in A4 or Letter size or directly printed.
Polarr Photo Editor
Polarr Photo Editor is a feature packed tool that lets you touch up your pictures, resize them, add a watermark and save them as JPG, PNG or TIF files. You get over 24 free photo filters and the ability to adjust brightness, contrast, shadows, sharpness, hue, saturation and more.You also get a batch processing tool to edit multiple images at one go. Its History tool lets you view all the changes you make and backtrack to a specific action, just like you would in a desktop editor. You can save the final image to your PC or upload it to your Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive account.You can always refer to the Guide to learn how to use the editor and watch video tutorials on its YouTube channel.
Fireshot is a nifty tool that lets you take a screen grab of a specific area or the entire web page.
The extension auto-scrolls the page and opens a new tab with options to save the image as a JPG, PNG or as a PDF. Alternatively, you can choose to email the screenshot as an attachment via Gmail or just fire a print.
If you want to make a quick video recording of your actions in a browser tab then Screencastify will come very handy . It can even be configured to record your desktop area or use your webcam and microphone to capture audio and video. The free or “lite“ version includes a watermark, but lets you record up to Full-HD resolution, 10-minute videos in the WebM format. The latter can be opened in any web browser that supports HTML5 and in the popular VLC Player.Videos can include annotations, be trimmed later, uploaded directly to Google Drive and YouTube, and saved to the computer as well.
When the browser crashes or is closed accidentally, reloading all the tabs again from the browsing history is a tedious affair.
But with Session Buddy, you will be able to restore them in a jiffy. It saves tabs as “sessions“ and lists them by date and time. You can save frequently used sessions and reload them later with a click of a button. This extension lets you perform a number of actions from its page: Search for and navigate to a tab, close individual tabs or the entire session, sort web links by title or URL, and more.
Web pages are packed with so many elements like advertisements, animations and related news links that it takes away from the main article you might be reading. Mercury Reader removes all this “noise“ to load a wellformatted version of the story. It allows you to change typeface, adjust text size and switch from a light to dark theme. Plus, you can use this viewing mode to fire a print without the ads and surrounding clutter. And if you own a Kindle, you can configure it to send the formatted article to your ereader.
Now, if you don’t even have the time to read the news then use a text-to speech service like SpeakIt! to do it for you while you complete your chores.
Just select the text you want to listen to and click the SpeakIt! button or use a keyboard shortcut to activate it. This extension can read text in languages including German, Hindi, Polish, French, Italian and Japanese.You can adjust volume level, pitch and even change the speed at which the voice reads the text.
Web of Trust
Web of Trust (WOT) employs algorithms and global user reviews to identify rogue web sites, unsafe links and scams.
It works in real-time to display colour-coded `reputation’ icons next to search results, social media, email, and other popular sites: Red indicates potential danger, yellow means you should be cautious about the link and green denotes a safe website. If you come across a page without a reputation rating, then you can request the WOT community to review it.
Websites track your web activities to learn your browsing habits for targeted advertising. If you don’t want to be tracked, then install Ghostery.
It lists the trackers found in a website and gives you the option to individually block or trust them. Its advanced settings give you granular control to block trackers for advertising, site analytics, social media and those related to adult ad networks.
If you’ve been browsing the internet for a while, you have probably given third-party websites and apps access to your personal information.
You should track these connections and revoke the services you don’t use any more with Privacy Cleaner. When you sign in to your Facebook, Twitter, Google, Instagram and Dropbox accounts via this add-on, you will see all the services they are connected to, along with the information that is being shared. Revoke access to the ones you don’t trust or use any more.
Simply right click on the web page you want to share, select AddThis and choose where you want the link to be posted.
This extension supports many popular services like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Blogger, Pinterest, and more. You can customise this list to only display the ones you regularly use. It also makes it easier to email links to folk without moving away from that tab.
All-in-One Messenger lets you chat with friends on WhatsApp, Skype, Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, WeChat, etc from a single PC browser window.
Each messenger is loaded in a separate tab and you can even have multiple instances of the same chat service. Just sign in with your account ID or second phone number to validate your identity and name the messenger appropriately , just so you don’t message in the wrong group. Most importantly , AIO Messenger does not read your messages or store your login credentials.
Lets you take notes, save web pages, images, etc as little sticky notes. They can be organised with searchable labels and set as reminders.
Plus, all data is then synced with its mobile app for Android and iOS devices.
Google Bookmark Manager
A simple tool that maintains a copy of your bookmarks online, so you can access them from a Chrome web browser on another computer.
Bookmarks can be saved in folders, can contain details like an image and notes. Of course, they are also searchable.
This makes translating web text easier. Just highlight specific lines and click the Translate button to read in the language of choice.
You can translate text to over 70 languages including Hindi, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil, German and French.
When you select a word in a web page, this extension will automatically display a definition in a text bubble.