Saturday, February 27, 2010

Google Chrome Extensions

My Family Tech column this week was about the choices we have in browsers.  I mentioned to my readers that I love Google Chrome and promised a blog post outlining my favorite extensions.

I moved to Google Chrome full time a few months ago.  Now that the latest release supports extensions, and there are many useful extensions out there, I can fully recommend Google Chrome for most people.

With web access most people's number one use of a computer, your browser is a big deal.  Changing it is akin to a sales company moving their CRM from Seibel to Salesforce, or a corporation converting their financials to SAP.  Of course, it is safer for browsers.  You can, and should, have multiple browsers on your PC.  While I use Chrome primarily, I also have Internet Explorer 8 which I use for one mis-guided web site that seems to work only with IE.  And I keep Firefox, my long time favorite, around too.

I thought I'd review some of the extensions I've found useful.  If you like the software I often advocate here like Dropbox, Evernote, and Google Voice, I have found excellent extensions supporting them.

There are two Dropbox extensions in the Google Extensions Catalog.  I use the the one by rececum.  The one by Michael York is well rated.  Both let you see the files in your Dropbox, view recent activity and download the files.

There are a large number of extensions for Evernote.  The one I use is the from Evernote itself.  It lets me capture the URL of any web page I'm looking at to Evernote. If I first highlight text on a web page, I can capture that text to the note portion of an Evernote note.  And it can capture the entire web page to Evernote.  I can add tags and determine which of my Evernote notebooks it will be saved in to.

There is also a clever way to search Evernote from Chrome's address bar.  Evernote's own blog explains how.

Again with Google Voice, there are many extensions.

The official sanctioned one created by Google quickly shows me the voice mails or texts in my inbox.  And it lets me place a call or send a text quickly.

By far its coolest ability is it turns every phone number you see into a web page into a link.  When you click the link Google Voice dials  your landline or cell phone.

If you are a sales person, you can click a number in Salesforce for example, and Google Voice automatically connects you to your customer.  Even if you are not in sales, you often have to sit and call everyone on the swim team, or in the Scout troop. This takes a lot of the pain out of it, and prevents mis-dialed calls.

We are inundated with messages these days.  Personally, I have messages coming in via e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, Google Buzz and Google Wave, and text messages.  Keeping on top of them all is a monumental task.

There are extensions in the catalog  for all sorts of notifications.  I use One Number.  It alerts me to waiting e-mails on my Gmail account, Waves, Google Voice activity and Google Reader articles.  I just need one now to do all those and Google Buzz, Facebook Messages and Twitter DM's.

While researching this, I did find several Buzz extensions, and one I've installed to give me a count of unread Buzz items.

Xmarks keeps me from going crazy.  It synchronizes my bookmarks not only among my various computers I use, but also among different browsers.   It is a free service.  Extensions support Chrome, and Firefox, Internet Explorer and Mac versions of Safari .  And if you are working on someone elses computer, you can access all your bookmarks through the Xmarks web site.

Each e-mail I send someone, I want to offer them more information that might be useful for them.   WiseStamp lets me make a signature for my e-mails that can contain images, HTML formatting and information.  My current signature contains my Google Voice number, and URL's to this blog, my Public Bookmarks, my Google Profile,  my Twitter homepage and a list of my Family Tech columns.

You can include your companies logo, web address etc. in yours.  And you can have a different signature for personal and business e-mails.

I have a few others.  Shareaholic lets me share items I find on the web to my Delicious, blog and other locations.  I have yet to use it.  And I use Weather Forecast.

Be sure to browse the full catalog of Chrome extensions.

1 comment:

  1. You may want to check out the IE Tab extension. It should allow you to open up that one mis-guided website inside chrome so you can get rid of IE.