Google has a wide selection of extensions and add-on widgets for their popular Chrome Browser.The Chrome browser is available for both Windows and the Mac. This means that you can have a consistent browser experience when moving from one computer to another in your household, once you get them all set up with the same extensions. Google Chrome already has an excellent sync feature for bookmarks so getting the extensions normalized makes it even more perfect.


Google Chrome Browser

 There are two main types of extensions. One type has a launch icon at the top right side of the browser panel, which provides the most convenient method for launch.The app launches in a small daughter window that only partially blocks the main browser window. The other kind of extension is a little different in nature.  It shows a launch icon only when you start a new browser tab. If you click on that icon, the app will load this new tab with a full size webpage, to perform its function. This method is considerably more disruptive to your online experience. Sometimes, you can pin the app launcher for this type, to the Windows taskbar for better convenience.

 Here are seven of the most useful free extensions of the first type that I actually use:


AdBlock - by Michael Gundlach

This is a must-have add-on for any user these days. It uses the EasyList filter list to block both text and picture ads on visited web pages. The key feature, to me, is that the pull down option menu let’s you disable blocking on selected web pages. The page exception is remembered the next time you visit that site. If you’re a web developer, you may want to always see how the ads look on your own site, but not during general browsing, making this a desirable feature.


Chrome SEO - by Sean Bannister

There are many Search Engine Optimization reporting apps for Chrome.  I like this one best, because it has just enough information. It shows the quantity of indexed pages, number of backlinks and the Alexa ranking for any page that you are visiting. The app also shows the number of social site backlinks and domain details for the current page.


Google Mail Checker - by Google

This app shows how many unread mail items you have in your Gmail account in its launch icon. To read them, click the icon to launch Gmail in a new tab. 


Google Voice -  by voice-extension

Get a free Google phone account if you haven’t already done so. Google assigns you a real phone number that you can then use as an online voice mailbox. Real landline and cell phones can call this number, turning it into a free answering machine service. The messages play back as audio files on your computer. Also, you can send sms text messages and make free voice calls to other Google voice users, with this service. One popular use for Google Voice is as a dedicated public phone number, for use with an online resume, to protect the privacy of your other phone numbers.


Google Screen Capture - by extension-feedback

With this handy app, you can capture a selected screen area or the entire screen or webpage on both Windows and the Mac. You can then add text, lines and circles to the picture as markups and save the result as a png image file. Both Windows and the Mac have non-intuitive ways to do general purpose screen captures, so this app at least allows browser screen captures to be done in a consistent manner.


Chromey Calculator - by bwrobinett

This is a nice expression evaluator calculator with a persistent history, even at browser relaunch. The persistence works locally on both Windows and the Mac, but there is no sync between different machines. It can be used for simple functions like 12 + 173 or for complex scientific calculations with layers of embedded parenthesis.  It also has a history tape and adjustable drop down size.


Chrome Note - by Bruce

Not to be confused with Chrome Notes, this extension is found in the “Fun” category on page 13 in the Google extensions directory. This app allows the user to make simple notes but does have options for lists, font type and color and syncs to your Google docs account. It creates a special file in Google docs, that you can also view and edit using their online editor. This method allows you to sync this simple notepad between Windows and Mac machines, at work or at home, using your Google account. It’s useful as a quick way to save a note in a hurry. With a lot more effort, you can also perform this function using Google docs directly or EverNote.


 Everyone has different needs for browser add-ons. The most useful ones perform a function that would take much longer with a dedicated PC application or cloud based app. The above list, I feel, represent seven of the best extensions currently offered. To download any of them, just click on the wrench icon in the top right of your Google Chrome browser and choose Tools, then Extensions, in the menu structure. Once you get to the Google extensions webpage, search on the subtitle names from this article.