Now the world's most popular web browser, Chrome is a major success for Google - and one of the reasons people love it so much is its support for extensions.
These add-ons are generally tiny and install in seconds, but can drastically change the way we use the web. From boosting browser performance and beautifying our new tabs to saving us money on our online shopping and keeping us safely password protected, there's an extension for almost everything - and new examples appearing all the time.
We've scoured the Chrome Web Store for the best new extensions, as well as identifying the older must-haves. Read on for the essential extensions that every Chrome user should download.
Best new extensions
1) Share to Facebook
If you’re one of the millions compelled to use Facebook on an hourly basis, this extension will streamline your workflow – or, at least, your share-flow. While you’re on a website, clicking Share to Facebook’s toolbar icon will bring up a dialogue box allowing you to instantly share a link (or, say, a YouTube video) to Facebook, along with a comment. You can share to your own Timeline, a friend’s Timeline, a group or via a private message.
2) Netflix Party
Netflix Party is the ideal solution to a very modern day problem – how to watch Netflix films and shows with your mates when you’re not all physically in the same place. Add this extension and you’ll be able to create a virtual watching party, sending friends a link to join and synching playback so that, no matter where you are, you’re all watching the same thing at the same time. There’s even a chat client built in, so you can share your thoughts when Frank Underwood does something particularly underhanded in House of Cards, or when Adam Sandler gets angry and starts shouting in anything he’s ever been in.
So, thanks to Chrome, you no longer do you have to binge-watch alone. It’s just a shame tech hasn’t discovered a way to virtually share a bowl of popcorn. Yet.
You probably shouldn’t be sitting in front of your computer late at night – it’s a cause of eyestrain that makes it harder for you to get to sleep. But let’s face it, if there’s some especially entertaining Facebook beef going down, or you suddenly decide you must know the entire history of Liechtenstein, you’re going to be sat in bed glued to that laptop screen.
Darkness helps reduce the strain on your peepers by adding free dark themes for Google and Facebook, and for Gmail and YouTube if you make a one-off payment. And it’s not just easy on the eyes in the literal sense – the themes are attractively designed, too.
4) Amazon Worldwide Shipping
Online shopping has turned us all into spoilt brats by making our once-regular trips to the high street and supermarket virtually unnecessary, but there are still some things you can’t buy on Amazon MY. Luckily, most of them are available on Amazon US!
And with this extension, you can buy them and have them send directly to your home, no matter where in the world you are – just add your desired items to your shopping cart, navigate to the shopping cart page, hit the extension icon in your toolbar and the postage costs will be calculated for you (NB: there’s no guarantee that said postage costs will be reasonable, and while the service tries to group as many purchases into as few packages as possible, sometimes it’ll be more than one box).