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Handy Google Chrome extensions that make browsing a breeze

Handy Google Chrome extensions that make browsing a breeze
© Cosmin - Constantin Sava | Dreamstime.com

Your browser is your window into the wide world of the internet. Google’s Chrome browser is one of the most popular, and it’s also very customizable thanks to add-on extensions. You can think of extensions as extra features that modify or enhance your browser. Check out the wonderland of extensions through the Google Chrome Store. There are thousands available, but we’ll highlight some popular options that can perk up your internet excursions.

Here’s a quick refresher on working with extensions: To add an extension, visit the Google Chrome Store, find the extension, and click on the “Add to Chrome” button. To disable or delete extensions, click on the three vertical dots in the upper corner of Chrome, select “More tools” and click on “Extensions” to see and manage what you have installed. It’s easy to test out an extension and then remove it later if it’s not what you need.

Momentum

The Momentum Chrome extension has over 2.5 million users and you can see why once you install it. It has a compelling purpose: to turn your new tab page into a useful (and beautiful) productivity tool. Momentum walks you through the setup process after you install it. What you will notice first are the lovely background images. You will also see the weather up in the corner, the time displayed prominently in the middle, a pleasant greeting, and an inspirational quote at the bottom.

Momentum lets you build a to-do list, set daily goals, and keep important links at your fingertips. Every time you open a new tab, you will see a reminder to help keep you on task. It’s a big step up from the regular Chrome new tab window.

Google Keep

The internet is a big place and it can be a challenge to keep track of what’s truly important to you as you’re traveling from website to website, absorbing information. Google Keep is a way to catalog pages, images, and text for easy access later on.

You can access your saved information through keep.google.com. To add to your Keep collection, install the extension, and then just click the lightbulb icon in the upper corner of Chrome. It will give you the option to add a note. You can also save individual images and selected text. Later, you can head to keep.google.com to add labels, archive or trash a saved item, or set a reminder. This is like a much more advanced version of the old bookmarks feature. Your inner organizer will rejoice.

Wikiwand

Wikipedia is an incredible resource, a fountain of knowledge covering everything from celebrity biographies to historical events. But it’s not the prettiest website around. You can transform Wikipedia’s utilitarian interface into a more modern web experience with Wikiwand. Install the extension, head over to Wikipedia, and you will immediately notice the cleaner layout, larger font, and visually appealing photo collages. The table of contents for each page now loads in a bar on the left and stays accessible even as you scroll through long articles.

Naturally, Wikiwand will appeal to anyone who spends a fair amount of time browsing through Wikipedia, but it’s also a welcome improvement on the interface for casual users looking for a more comfortable way to interact with the site. You will have a hard time going back to the regular Wikipedia formatting after you’ve discovered Wikiwand.

Grammarly

We all like to make a good impression with our writing, but typos and grammar errors can easily slip into emails, status updates, and other internet endeavors. Chrome has a built-in spell-checker, but you can access more features by installing the Grammarly extension.

Grammarly handles the usual spell-checking duties by underlining words and giving you suggested replacement options, but it also monitors your writing context and looks for correctly spelled words that may be out of place, like “very” and “vary” or “pore” and “poor.” The extension does have some limitations. For example, Grammarly doesn’t work with Google Docs, but it will help clean up your writing on most popular sites, including Gmail, Facebook and Twitter.

Lazarus: Form Recovery

You’re filling in a contact form, spending some time on a well-crafted message. There are many things that can go wrong. Maybe you accidentally close the tab, or you get a network error and when you reload the page, everything you just wrote is gone. The Lazarus extension has your back when these problems crop up. It automatically saves everything you type into web forms, so you can just refill the form and go on with your day.

You know Lazarus is at work when you see a small ankh symbol in the corner of the text box. Click on it to see what Lazarus is saving or to choose the text you want reinserted into the form. You might not need it very often, but you will be glad it’s there when you do run into a problem.

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