Power up your browser
Browser add-ons bring convenience, pizzazz, and efficiency to our surfing. There are add-ons for saving passwords, ones for automatically sending web pages to our e-reader or smartphone, and ones that help us juggle our social (networking) life. No matter the browser you use – Chrome, Firefox, IE, Opera, or Safari – I’ve rounded up some of the best to help you get the most out of the web.
Evernote Web Clipper
Bookmarks and notes are useful for keeping track of your web findings, but here’s a better way to keep them organized. Evernote Web Clipper is a browser add-on from the developers of Evernote, a free service that collates in notebooks your links, notes, images, and audio clips. With this add-on you’ll be able to clip links, images, or text from pages to your Evernote notebooks—especially useful when you’re researching ideas online.
Pocket, formerly Read It Later, is a service from Idea Shower that collates your links to interesting articles you find online. You can then review all these articles in your browser (or a number of tablet and phone apps) in a stripped-down interface focused on the text and images. With this add-on you can easily clip links and access the reading mode.
If you want to keep track of all your social networking and IM accounts, then you can do it in one place with Yoono. It’s an add-on that connects to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, MySpace, Flickr, Foursquare, Google Buzz, Yammer, AIM, and Yahoo IM. It lets you update your status across all networks simultaneously from one place, and you can keep up with updates in various columns combinations.
When you want to take a screenshot of a website and annotate it, better tools are available than the Print Screen button and Paint. Awesome Screenshot stays true to its name and lets you take screenshots of an entire page (no more stitching images together in Word!) or just the part of a page you want. Right from your browser, you can annotate it with rectangles, circles, arrows, and text, and make it look professional by hiding sensitive information with the erasing tool. You can download and attach the result or share it via a link directly.
The Google Translate extension spares you several clicks and new tabs when you want to translate a page. The add-on puts a discreet button in your browser toolbar and suggests a translation when it detects that you are visiting a page that’s not from the language set for your computer.
LastPass is a trusty password manager across browsers and devices that detects new logins and prompts you to store them. When you return to a website, all you have to do is press the autologin LastPass button. You get one master password to manage your account, and LastPass can also store your personal information and automatically fill forms.
Cooliris is a Chrome add-on that lets you browse Google Images using a 3D photo wall with infinite scrolling. It’s useful when you have to scroll through a lot of images, and it’s not obtrusive—it pops up only when you hover over a thumbnail image result in Google Images. Then click the icon on the thumbnail and you’re in the Cooliris wall.
If Flash animations and videos loaded in the background are slowing down your computer, FlashBlock can help fix this. It automatically blocks Flash elements on web pages and replaces them with a placeholder. You can click on the placeholder to load the video and also set up a whitelist for sites like YouTube and Vimeo.
Speaking of blocking annoying parts of websites, we hope you’ll include us in your whitelist. AdBlock does what it says without a hassle, and you can still support your favorite publications, such as PCWorld, by allowing certain sites to continue serving you advertisements. (This add-on is different from the Firefox Adblock Plus and Adblock Lite, although both of those are effective tools for that browser)
Chrome to Phone
If you use Chrome and have an Android phone, you can easily send links to your device with this Google add-on. You can also push to your phone such data as maps directions, phone numbers, and any selected text when you leave your computer in a rush.
When you have to do a lot of repetitive tasks such as imputing data from your browser, this add-on from Wips.com s.r.o. can save you time and energy. It automatically copies selected text in your browser to the clipboard, so you can paste it in your text editor. It can copy the text as plain text, or include a link to where the text originated.
Search by Image
This Chrome add-on from Google is the tool you need when you want to reverse search an image. You can drag and drop an image from your computer into the search box, right click an image, or paste an image URL to initiate a Google search with a photo and discover similar photos or articles about it.
Check out our other slideshow showcasing the top 10 travel gadgets for productivity.