If you haven’t kicked your Internet Explorer to the curb yet to download Google Chrome, then it’s definitely time to. Chrome is better, faster and stronger (queue Kanye West). But while Google Chrome is already fantastic out of the box (you can download Chrome here), there are well over 10,000 available Chrome extensions currently available. In fact, if you browse to the Chrome Web Store and simply scroll your mouse wheel, it feels like there are an infinite supply of Google Chrome extensions to browse through. So how do you know which extensions are worth it and which ones are just unnecessary fluff? We’ll help you. Here are the 15 best Google Chrome extensions for Windows:
1. Adblock Plus
The most useful Chrome extension is probably AdBlob Plus. The extra handy extension blocks all annoying ads, including Banners, Youtube video ads, Facebook ads and pop-ups. If there’s one app that I use the most, it’s Adblock Plus. You can simply right click on any add and click “block element,” which will remove the ad completely from the page you’re viewing. You can also add/remove certain websites to the allow ads list, which will allow you to support ad-supported sites that deserve it.
Download the Adblock Plus extension here.
2. Magic Actions for YouTube
If you’re a heavy YouTube user — and let’s face it, who isn’t? — the Magic Actions for YouTube extension should be your first addition to Google Chrome. One of the most annoying things about YouTube is that it defaults to middling video quality (usually 480p), and you have to manually raise the bar to the highest 1080p setting. But with Magic Actions for YouTube, you can finally change the default resolution to whatever you’d like (of course, I changed mine to HD 1080p). But that’s not only the key change that Magic Actions brings. It also adds Color themes via a cinema mode, mouse wheel volume control, and enlarged video thumbnails when you mouse over them.
Download the Magic Actions for YouTube extension here.
3. Google Cast
The most obvious necessity as far as Chrome extensions are concerned is Google Cast to use with your Google Chromecast dongle. Not only can you simply cast any Chrome tab you’re working on for added workspace, but you can also cast optimized sites like YouTube, Netflix and Plex. As far as simplicity goes, you won’t find a simpler extension than Google Cast.
Download Google Cast here.
Nothing is more annoying when you’re typing away at something and hit the backspace key only to be taken back a page in your browsing history, losing all of your previously written work, usually. But thanks to Matt Cranham’s wizardry, you can rectify that pesky problem by simply downloading the BackStop extension. No longer will you snap your keyboard in half in a fit of rage.
Download BackStop here.
5. Awesome Screenshot from diigo
There’s a ton of reasons you might want to take a screenshot of a webpage, such as to capture SERPs, highlight something that your friend isn’t seeing on the same page, or saving something for later to read. With Awesome Screenshot from diigo.com, you can capture an entire page or clip a portion, and even add highlighting to it. Before this extension, you had to take a PrtScr and then paste what you need in PhotoShop to highlight anything. Now, you don’t have to.
Download Awesome Screenshot here.
6. Google Search with Bing Wallpaper
Probably the only reason to ever use Bing over Google is for its more aesthetically pleasing view. Instead of a boring, plain white screen of nothingness like Google, Bing has a photo background. The image shows up on the main search page as well as the results page. Sure, it’s pointless and unnecessary, but it adds a nice change from the norm.
Download Google Search with Bing Wallpaper
How many times have you tried to log into your email account only to be frustrated that you forgot the blasted password? I don’t know about you, but I do it on the daily. Or did, before downloading LastPass, a completely free password manager that only requires you to remember one password as opposed to every email, banking, social network or shopping site login. Seriously, make your life 10x less frustrating.
Download LastPass here.
Mighty Text allows you to sync your texts with your Android phone through an app, allowing you to send and receive SMS and MMS messages to your phone contacts directly through Chrome. You can also allow your phone to send you missed call and low battery notifications. It’s simple to set up and easy to use, and a useful tool if you don’t always keep your phone on you while you’re home.
Download LastPass here.
9. Personal Blocklist
Another great Chrome extension is Personal Blocklist, which allows you to selectively block any websites that pop up in your search results. You can also remove sites that you’ve accidentally blocked in error. This is great if there are certain sites you like to avoid but are quite popular (I won’t name names). But, you can block those sites.
Download Personal Blocklist here.
Honey is basically like your own personal shopping assistant that’s only here to save you money while shopping online. The app effortlessly sends you the best coupons for 1000s of stores. When you’re shopping online, all you have to do is click the button and click “show savings.” Where Honey differs from sites like Retailmenot is that Honey tests their coupon codes, themselves, as opposed to relying on user feedback.
Download Honey here.
11. Hover Zoom
Are you constantly viewing image galleries? If you’re like me, you’re always searching through images for one reason or another. Sometimes you just want a new desktop wallpaper, and other times you just want to look at flowers because, well, you’re feeling blue. But whatever the reason for browsing image galleries is, Hover Zoom makes it much easier by enlarging thumbnails with a simple mouse hover. It’s simple and quick, and allows you to view images quickly without having to load a new page.
Download Hover Zoom here.
12. Panic Button
Doing some Christmas shopping online? Doing some other stuff you’re supposed to be doing alone? Download the Panic Button Chrome extension which will allow you to hide AND SAVE all of your opened tabs with a single click in case you have an unexpected visitor. This will also help you at work if you’re shopping on the clock and the boss comes in.
Download Panic Button here.
13. Awesome New Tab Page
If you’re looking for something more visually impressive than Chrome’s default new tab page, look into Awesome New Tab Page. With an interface that resembles Windows 8 tiles, you’re able to customize your most-viewed web pages and services via software widgets for a visually stimulating and useful layout.
Download Awesome New Tab Page here.
Wondering just how much time you spend on a certain page? If your a statistics buff and love analyzing numbers, check out the TimeStats extension, which allows you to track stats of the sites you visit. You can organize the statistics by month or by day, even view a handy dandy pie chart. Who doesn’t like pie charts?
Download TimeStats here.
Love how your Android gives you notifications whenever anything in your life happens? You know, you get a Facebook comment, a Twitter response, an email, etc. Nothing feels quite as satisfying as being instantly notified when any of these things happen. Now, you can feel that enjoyment right in your Chrome browser.