Chrome is a pretty solid browser - it may not always be your browser of choice, but it offers up a lot of convenience and usability. One of the nice things about Chrome is the huge, huge library of extensions and plug-ins available that allow you to customize your browsing experience to a pretty wild degree. Pretty much everyone already has their adblock situation figured out, so we thought we'd recommend a few other extensions for Chrome that could improve your quality of internet life by quite a bit...
1. Boomerang For Gmail
Boomerang has a number of features (including resurfacing old emails at specific times and sending you reminders if you haven't gotten a reply back to an important email), but its most notable one is the ability to schedule email sending:
With Boomerang, you can write an email now and schedule it to be sent automatically at the perfect time. Just write the messages as you normally would, then click the Send Later button. Use our handy calendar picker or our text box that understands language like "next Monday" to tell Boomerang when to send your message. We'll take it from there.
This can save your butt in a number of ways - maybe you have something ready to go at 1am, but you know no one's online (well, at work) at that time and it'll get lost in the shuffle of emails overnight, so by the time they check their email they could easily miss yours. Instead, schedule it to go out at 9am, so you're guaranteed a prime slot in the recipient's inbox in the morning. Alternately, maybe you wanna make the boss think you're burning the midnight oil - even though you had an email ready at 5pm, maybe schedule it for 1am to make it look like you were working late.
In any case, it's a good thing to have handy - just in case.
2. Dark Reader
Do you have any idea what you're doing to your brain when you've got 90 tabs open at 3am? You're messing with your brain in ways it was not meant to be messed with and overstimulating it - all with blindingly white light bursting into your eyes at a time when evolutionary biology dictates everything should be extremely dark.
While a lot of websites and apps have "night-time versions" that darken the overall color palette to something that's a bit gentler on your eyes, many do NOT. That's where Dark Reader comes in - it automatically darkens and inverts a lot of the colors of various websites to make them a bit easier on your eyes. Of course, it comes with plenty of specialization and personalization options - from choosing the EXACT tones you want for each site and any kind of color / contrast settings you might find preferable. Honestly, you owe it to your sleep patterns to at least give it a shot.
3. CamelCamelCamel / Keepa / Honey
Here's the real deal - you probably shop a lot on Amazon. I mean, we all know that we probably SHOULDN'T, but we all do regardless, because it's easy, convenient, and it's got SUCH GREAT PRICES, right?
Well, how sure ARE you that those prices are so great? Because a lot of the time when an item is discounted for some extraordinary percentage, it's not actually cheaper than it used to be - they just jacked up the price extraordinarily and then put it "on sale" to make it SEEM like it was being sold at a discount. Extensions like these will give you a sense of an item's price history, particularly if it's something you've ordered in the past and they've decided to hike up the price (which is something sellers will do frequently, relying on repeat buyers to not notice the gradual increase in cost over time).
4. Privacy Badger
In case you hadn't been paying attention to the news as of, uh, the last SEVERAL YEARS, the entirety of the internet advertising business relies on grabbing, sorting, and compiling your data - and usually without you being looped into that whole process at all. The twin empires of Facebook and Google are literally making BILLIONS based on your browsing habits, and - of course - you don't actually get any payment for essentially acting as a human marketing guinea pig. Instead, you get EXTREMELY SPECIFIC advertisments pushed into your newsfeed and search results.
But it doesn't have to be this way! You can block the trackers that create a 'profile' on you for third party advertisers. Hell, any way you CAN block people collecting your data, you should.
5. Google Earth New Tab
Sick of opening a new tab to Google something and being met with some boring blank background, or a list of commonly used websites? Me too - and that's where Google Earth comes in. With this extension, you get a random view of some spot on Earth you're PROBABLY not familiar with - so every time you open a new tab, you're taking a new journey across the planet you were born on, but know surprisingly little about. It's certainly not a NECESSARY extension, but it's one that could pique a lot of your interest, and maybe even teach you a few things.
Most people still don't really handle their online passwords with too much diligence - even after COUNTLESS data leaks and major hackings. And while everyone OBVIOUSLY SHOULD be much more thorough and thoughtful regarding their personal data security, there's a pretty huge hurdle to that - WE ALL HAVE SO MANY PASSWORDS TO REMEMBER. From streaming services to email logins to work logins to social media logins...it's a lot. And it's a little easier to justify in your head that you can just reuse some relatively basic password you've been using for the past 15 years (although maybe you add a number every now and then). After all, what's the worst that could happen?
A LOT CAN HAPPEN. Identity theft is not a joking matter, and I really hope no one reading this ever has to deal with it. So if you DON'T want your data to get stolen but you DO want to continue to be extremely lazy, LastPass might be just the thing. You can store a lot of data in it securely - passwords, credit card numbers, etc. Any kind of data you may need to use regularly and would prefer to not get stolen.
7. Word Replacers
Millennials-to-Snake People: Download Link
SJW-to-Skeleton: Download Link
Donald Trump-to-Horsey McSnuffles: Download Link
There are COUNTLESS word replacers - hell, you can even decide for yourself which words you're sick of seeing online and what you'd like to replace them with. But for everyone else, maybe these three popular single term choices would be all you need.
8. Make Google Images Great Again
There was a small, quietly-implemented alteration made to Google Image Search earlier in the year - the options to "View Image" and "Search by Image" were removed from Google Image results. Why? Because Google was getting pressure from photo licensing organization Getty Images, who argued that Google was effectively aiding and abetting copyright infringement (which, to be fair, isn't far off). When Getty threatened to pull their entire library of images (and Getty is responsible for a LOT of images), Google took some genuinely big steps to appease them.
But - as a result - Google Image Search is much less usable than it was before. Luckily, this Chrome extension simply brings you back to square one and allows the same options that previously existed in Google Image Search, prior to the alterations. It's a small thing that you may completely forget exists after you download it - and that's sorta the point.
9. Google Dictionary
If you're like me, you're kinda stupid and occasionally will run into words or terms that you realize you don't QUITE know the meaning of. But instead of copying the word, opening a new tab, pasting in the word, and scrolling to the definition, there's a better way - just install this extension, and you can automatically get a dictionary definition for any term you highlight. Finally, you can learn what "ennui" means without having to open a new tab.
10. Some ways to increase your productivity...
Block Site: Download Link
StayFocused: Download Link
The internet is a vast communication network, like nothing else ever even conceived of in human history. Its potential is infinite, its resources overwhelming - the amount of knowledge and data readily avaible to anyone dwarfs the greatest libraries in mankind's history. Scholars of old would weep if they knew what they had missed out on.
And, for the most part, we use it for porn and wasting time.
But it doesn't HAVE to be this way - with a tiny bit of willpower, we can use the internet for nobler means...like, actually getting some work done and staying MILDLY productive. Extensions like Block Site allow you to block out sites you know will be huge time wasters (social media stuff, reddit, anything EXCEPT CollegeHumor) so that you won't be tempted to casually open up a new browser window and mess around when you start getting bored. Alternately, if you don't have the willpower to outright remove some of these sites from your daily habits, there's StayFocused, which sets a time limit on specific sites so you can waste a LITTLE time there, but not too much. You can even pick specific times of the day to block out these sites (maybe during work hours, perhaps?).
The internet's amazing - but there are just TOO many ways to distract yourself.