capsule review

FastestChrome

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder FastestChrome

    PCWorld Rating

    Speed up browsing when using Chrome with this free add-on.

FastestChrome is a useful extension for Google's Chrome Web browser. When it works properly, it offers several useful tools that can make your time on the Web more productive. That's the good news. The bad news is that it doesn't always work properly, so you may find it useful at some times, and not so useful during others.

The FastestChrome extension offers a grab-bag of enhancements. In one of the most useful, when you highlight text on a Web page in Chrome, a bubble pops up that lets you get a summary of the text from Wikipedia, and also lets you click on icons to go to the Wikipedia entry, search on Google for the text, or search using the Surf Canyon and Duckduckgo search engines. The Wikipedia feature is certainly useful, as is the ability to search Google. I've found the Surf Canyon and Duckduckgo search engines to be less than useful, though.

FastestChrome plenty of other Chrome enhancements as well. When you perform a Google search, for example, at the top of the search results, you'll see links to related searches. Text URLs you come across on the Web are also automatically turned into links.

However, several other features promised by FastestChrome work only fitfully, or not at all. I wasn't able to get the Endless Pages feature to work, for example, which is supposed to automatically load the next page in an article, so you don't have to click "Next." (On the extension's page on Google, some people have reported that they can't get the feature to work, while others say they can get it to work.) The extension also adds a "Related articles" link to Wikipedia, although it never actually delivered those related articles.

Fans of the Firefox add-in FastestFox will be familiar immediately with FastestChrome, because it offers essentially the same features, such as Endless Pages and the popups. Unfortunately, FastestChrome doesn't work quite as well as FastestFox because it's not quite as finished. Some FastestFox devotees will be disappointed if Endless Pages doesn't work for them.

The FastestChrome extension is still worth a try, because its capabilities are quite useful. But keep in mind it may or may not perform properly on your system.

Note: This link takes you to this extension's page at Google, where you can automatically install the file into your Chrome browser.

--Preston Gralla

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Speed up browsing when using Chrome with this free add-on.

    Pros

    • Gets Wikipedia information fast; Improves Google searching

    Cons

    • The extension's features don't always work
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