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Brett Nordquist (Customer Experience Engineer)

The Only 5 Chrome Extensions I Install

Written on September 15, 2017 by Brett Nordquist

Over the  years, I've used Google Chrome as my default browser more than any competitor. A couple of times I ran into issues with a build and switched to Firefox, but that didn't last more than a few months. Chrome has served me well for over a year now on both my Puget Systems Serenity running Windows 10 and my MacBook Pro. Chrome syncs my bookmarks and extensions between my two computers without any issues. 

I don't believe you can go wrong choosing Chrome or Firefox. It really comes down to personal preference. I use a number of Google services each day which include GMail, Google Docs and Google Play Music. For that reason, I feel most at home on Chrome. 

One thing that hasn't changed regardless of which browser I've used are the extensions. I've used the same five to seven extensions for as long as I can remember. The fewer extensions you run, the fewer issues you'll have with your browser, so it's wise to only add those that add tremendous value. In fact, one of the best things you can do right now is fire up your browser and remove any extensions you don't use. 

With that said, I've found a few that add value. These are the only five extensions I install: 

goo.gl URL Shortener - We've all got that friend who sends emails or texts with URLs that scroll off the page. This extension takes a long URL and makes it short enough to share with friends or on social media. I use this most when I'm sharing links over Slack to coworkers or links to products at Amazon with my spouse. One click on the icon and your URL is copied to the Clipboard and ready to share. 

Google Dictionary - I've used extensions similar to this one that open another window to provide a full definition of a word, but I love how this one shows me a quick definition as soon as I double click on a word. I can then get on with my reading. 

New Tab Redirect - Does exactly what it says: redirects you to the site of your choice when you open a new tab. It seems this feature should be built into Chrome at this point. If I'm doing research from a specific website, I'll have each new tab open to that site. 

Click&Clean - With one click, this extension will delete typed URLs, cache, cookies as well as your download and browsing history. I have a couple of kids who jump on my computer to play Overwatch or write a report or go crazy on Pinterest. Of course, they never remember to logout of these websites so I do it for them with this extension. 

Gestures for Chrome - This extensions allows you to control your browser using gestures with your mouse. I know that sounds ridiculous, but it's a huge time saver once you learn the tricks. I often begin my browsing from my homepage so I set a gesture to go to that homepage each time I right-click and drag a line down on the page. I know it sounds odd. But once you learn the shortcuts, it becomes addicting. This is the last extension I'd give up. 

My philosophy when it comes to software is only install what you use. I also generally software I can pay money for because it encourages developers to maintain their products. You can use each of these extensions at no cost, but some allow you to donate to the developer, which I encourage if you find it useful. 

What browser extensions do you use each day? 

Tags: Chrome, browser, Google, extensions

You should also include the Electronic Frontier Foundation's (EFF's) "HTTPS Everywhere" and "Privacy Badger." They talk about them here:


Posted on 2017-09-18 15:01:08

That's a great idea. I will check out both of them.

Posted on 2017-09-19 04:55:16

No adblocker? Couldn't live without one.

Posted on 2017-09-19 13:46:36

I considered recommending one. But I have mixed feelings using them because some of them are now adding sites to the whitelist in exchange for payment. For advanced users, I think they are fine, but they often break sites, especially ecomm sites. Advanced users will have no problem adding these sites to their exception list, but for many normal users they can be a pain.

Posted on 2017-09-20 02:40:45

The problem with shortened URLs is that nere do wells use them to disguse dangerous content. Emails asking you to log on to your inline banking, Inland Revenue, PayPal etc. with URLs hidden within hyperlinks. No problem you think. I'll hover over the hyperlink to see where it wants to take me, only to find a truncated URL that we have no way of checking. And even when you are aware of this stuff, and deeply paranoid, they can still get you. I recently had to reinstall Windows 10 after I clicked on a perfect looking Defender pop-up from the Action Centre in the Task bar, and my system became _very_ sick. Note I do not know for sure that one thing led to the other, but that's how it looked.

Posted on 2017-09-24 06:59:26

Sorry, I should have added to my last comment that you guys provide one of the most valuable resources of its kind on the planet, and that we are incredsibly grateful to you all.

Posted on 2017-09-24 07:01:42