We had been avoiding the switch to Google's Chrome browser, despite its reputation as the fastest-launching and surfing browser on the planet. Why the delay? Chrome couldn't use extensions, those profoundly useful add-ons that extend the power of the humble Web browser. That all changed with the release of version 4.0 of Chrome on January 25th.
The onslaught began with 300 extensions when the beta testing was opened to the public last December, and since then, their number has exploded — now there are more than 2,200 extensions you can install into Chrome. That's why we've jumped into Chrome over the past couple of weeks, bringing along our favorite extensions from Firefox. Along the way, we found some that are truly brand new.
Sexy Undo Close Tab
Not sure what's so sexy about it, but with a single click on this curvaceous arrow, out pops a long list of up to 250 tabs you've recently closed.
Even URLs and email addresses that aren't properly embedded turn clickable with this useful extension.
Be careful to disable all the rubbish that comes along with this extension (you'll see what we mean), but keep the part called Endless Pages, letting you scroll from one page to the next, completely click-free.
Set up the sites you visit most, and Feedly constructs a magazine-like page that continuously updates, featuring all your faves. Working with Google Reader, Twitter, Delicious, YouTube and Amazon, this takes the RSS reader to the next level.
Sick and tired of futzing with passwords or filling out forms? LastPass brings serious power to the auto-entry arena, saving you tons of hassle by completing any form, filling in passwords, and being so doggone helpful it can be dangerous if it falls into the wrong hands. Not to worry, you can make it as secure (or insecure) as you like/dare.
Weather Watcher Live
Weather geeks' thirst for up-to-the-minute data is easily quenched by this extension, showing the temperature and forecast at a glance. With a quick mouseover, it'll show you all the weather numbers you desire.
For Google Apps lovers:
Naturally, a browser made by Google is going to work best with the various Google applications. Here's a section of the best extensions for Google apps, taking the best advantage of Google's cloud computing we've ever seen. All of these listed extensions work with Google hosted apps, too.
This extension makes Gmail's already-clean online email interface even better. Take out the parts of Gmail you don't use, then add an attractive row highlight when you mouse over. This one's great.
Google Mail Checker Plus
Gives you a little icon that shows how many unread email messages are waiting for you. One click and you get a preview, or you can set it up to open Gmail in a separate tab.
DayHiker (formerly called Google Calendar Popout)
No more rummaging around for that Google Calendar when you can single-click on DayHiker. It'll show you a drop-down list of everything on all your Google calendars. It even lets you add events to the calendar, using its convenient and quick drop-down list. Nothing like this is available in Firefox, and we think it's the most useful extension of all.
Google Reader Plus
Google Reader users will love the enhancements they can add with Reader Plus, bringing back Favicons, fixing unread counters, and generally making Google Reader what it should've been in the first place.
Google Voice (by Google)
If you're lucky enough to be in on Google Voice, this official Google extension makes it even more powerful. Click on a phone number and it'll make the call, using whichever one of your phones you designate. Or, you can enter a phone number you'd like to call, and Google Voice calls your phone first, and when you pick up, it dials the number you've entered. Using this extension is like stepping into the future.
&lp;font size="3" color="#6b3092">Google Wave Notifier
Hey, Google Wavers, the most inconvenient part of using that software is not knowing when someone has responded to your waves. This extension's icon has a number attached to it, corresponding with any additions entered.
Send using Gmail (no button)
For some reason, we were having trouble sending Gmail from our hosted account as the default client, but this button-free extension solved that problem right away. Bravo!