Recently there has been a lot of news and press attention surrounding the opening by Google of the 'developer area' for Chrome extensions. What are Google Chrome Extensions? What do they do? Why should you care? All of your questions will be answered here!

Chrome extensions
What are Google Chrome extensions?
If you're like me, you probably use Firefox or Microsoft Internet Explorer when you're surfing the web and browsing your favourite sites. There is another option, however. Google Chrome has been developed as an alternative to the 'big 2' browsers, and it has a lot of advantages – it's very fast running, it can be downloaded quickly and installs (and uninstalls) rapidly too. Now it has 'extensions' or addons, which are little bits of software which run alongside the browser, and help you do certain everyday tasks.

What examples of Google Chrome extensions are there?
The first few addons that Google developed to show the power of their browser were a little unimaginative, however you can already see the potential of them. If you use the Google Chrome web browser then you probably have a Gmail account to read and send email – well there is an extension that can help you see when you get a new message in your inbox (and if you click on the icon, you can go straight into the inbox and read the messages!). There is also a plugin for translating foreign websites from one language to another (very useful if you are working with people from different countries).

Why should I care?
Google is one of the biggest companies in the world, and when they release software products they usually put a lot of research into them. They also spend a lot of time developing the product so that it adds value to the sector (think about their Maps product, which is now the standard in world mapping, and it came in to a sector which was already relatively saturated). When Chrome is fully finished it will be an excellent product, and extensions and addons will be able to improve your browsing experience even further.

Where can I find Chrome extensions?
Right now, the official developers gallery that Google has created is closed to the general public (it's only open for people who write software to upload their work) – however you can check out Chrome Extensions – a new website with reviews and downloads of the latest and best addons for the browser.

If you've used Google Chrome extensions, let us know what you think of them! What are your favourites? Which ones don't work?