10 cool free Chrome extensions

10 cool free Chrome extensions

Summary: The Chrome browser has evolved into a platform of its own, in large part due to the ability to add functionality through extensions. These are some of the most useful.

TOPICS: Mobility, Google, Laptops

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  • Awesome New Tab Page

    Good home screens get even better when they can be customized by the user to provide information at a glance and easy access to apps. This extension does all of that and more, with its own collection of widgets that can be installed on the home page.

    The Awesome New Tab Page becomes the default screen displayed when the user opens a new tab in the Chrome browser. It replaces the new page that Chrome throws up by default.

    The page is built by dragging apps and widgets to the desired location on the page. Once the page layout is just right it can be backed up to the cloud to restore on any Chrome installation.

    Widgets designed to work with Awesome New Tab Page are downloaded individually from the Chrome Web Store. They can then be placed on the home page with drag and drop. Widgets installed on the page shown above are the clock, weather, and the long calendar displayed to the right of the Facebook icon.

    Awesome New Tab Page download

  • Checker Plus for Gmail

    This extension is a full-blown app for those using Gmail that is as good as they get. It sits in the upper-right corner of the browser window and signals when new email comes in.

    That's useful but the least of the functionality found in Check Plus for Gmail. The icon in the browser bar shows how many new emails came in via a counter badge. 

    Tapping that icon is when the fun begins. A popup appears showing a rich list of each unread email. This includes the sender and a short summary of the email. Tap an email in the list and a full preview opens up that allows interaction with the email, including replying.

    Drop-down lists in the extension provide full email functionality. All of this takes place in the extension, the Gmail window is never opened. It makes it possible to quickly work with new email without moving away from the current tab.

    There is a nice accessibility feature, voice notifications, that has the extension notify you by voice when new email comes in. It will also read the email aloud. This can be toggled on and off in the settings.

    This is the most useful Chrome extension I use.

    Checker Plus for Gmail

  • Checker Plus for Google Calendar

    From the same developer as the Checker Plus for Gmail extension in the previous slide, this app brings much of the same functionality to those using Google Calendar. 

    The icon in the upper-right corner of the browser shows the time for the next appointment. Tapping it opens a calendar window that can be set to day, week, month, and agenda views. 

    New appointments can be entered in the calendar window in natural language. An example of this is "7pm Dinner at Bob's".

    All calendar functions are performed in the extension without opening the Google Calendar web page. Like native Google Calendar, this extension handles multiple calendars.

    Checker Plus for Google Calendar

Topics: Mobility, Google, Laptops

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  • Nice collection of extensions

    Usually we cast stones to zdnet editors, but in fact they make a great job making us to think in the edge of the tech industry.

    I would like to add my collection of extensions, in the sense that we look to improve our performance, privacy and creativity.

    Maybe should be interesting people list their own preferences.

    Adblock premium
    Do not track
    Gliffy Diagrams
    Mail Fred
    Safer Chrome
    Secure Gmail
    • Ya got that right!

      For Sure! ADBLOCK PLUS is the first extension I add to my browsers!
    • mucho gratis

      this is excellent
      kale schmier
  • Nice job

    But is it me, or does the new Tabs page customized that way look eerily like the much-maligned Windows 8 Start screen???
    • Lots of inspirations

      According to the developer when asked if it's a ripoff of Metro:

      Awesome New Tab Page is inspired by design and functionality from a number of sources, Metro UI being just one. Resizable widgets are modeled after Android. The grid is also modeled after Android, and isn't list-based like Metro UI. Custom shortcuts (created by clicking an empty tile when the grid is unlocked) are also a lot more customizable than anything in Metro UI to date.
    • At first I thought I might be looking at Windows 8.2.

      Why does it seem OSes are regressing? Graphics are preschool. Why to we need more than 64K ram?
      Arm A. Geddon
      • Not regressing, simplifying

        Gradients are complete unnecessary. I don't know why clean, Swiss inspired, typographical interfaces are so difficult for morons like you to accept.

        What's preschool, is having to make everything look like 3d objects when they aren't. Apples Glass buttons, and XP's Fisherprice look were far more immature and "preschool" than Metro, or any flat design.
        • Free tip.

          Free tip:

          When you are trying to convince someone you are right and they are wrong, you will usually get better results when you do not start by insulting them in the first paragraph of your rebuttal.
          Hallowed are the Ori
  • Interesting selection ...

    ... Thank you.

    I'm surprised that there aren't so many really good extensions - these are fine, but so many are pointless - but I'm sure the list will grow.
    • pointless

      maybe, but dont they all make money, even the bad ones,, ?
  • #11 -- Send to Kindle ~ !


    The one extension I use, probably more than any other is the "Send to Kindle" ext. Any time I read something on the web that I want to re-read later (when I have more time) or preserve (because it is so good) can be sent with just a click to my Kindle Reader.


    Hope others find this useful, too!
    • Or for other platforms, Pocket

      This is a great Chrome extension that stores articles/wikapedia pages/etc., for reading on my Android tablet.
  • Noooooooo !

    A slide show.
    Alan Smithie
    • this time

      this time the slide show was needed and worked ok.
  • Exactly...

    ...what Netscape was trying to do years ago. No wonder Ballmer treated Google as public enemy number one.
    John L. Ries
    • Also, Exactly

      This reads a lot of Firefox as well. I don't use that browser either.
      Crashin Chris
      • But Mozilla doesn't have as much money

        Ergo, it's not as big of a threat.
        John L. Ries
        • Elaboration

          The Mozilla Foundation has never been touted as the successor to Netscape, but that's the role it's played and it may even have been the reason why it was brought into existence during Netscape's last days as an independent company. And it has served a necessary function as it kept Netscape's technologies alive at a time when MS was actively trying to kill them (that was a large part of what the US antitrust case was about). MS advocates could try to accuse Mozilla's users, developers, and promoters of being sore losers (which they did; right here on ZDNet and elsewhere), but Mozilla was the main reason why MS' bid to make the WWW a Windows-dependent medium ultimately failed. If Google can turn Chrome into an application platform, its because Netscape and Mozilla paved the way. If MS vilifies Google while ignoring Mozilla, it's because Mozilla is a nonprofit with few resources with which to directly challenge MS (though Firefox was the browser that chipped away at IE's dominance, making it safe to browse the web on platforms not MS-approved). Google is big, rich, and dominates web searching in the way MS dominates the desktop, so that's the institution that has gotten the negative attention from MS. But Mozilla helped make Google possible, and the antitrust case MS lost has greatly hampered MS' ability to do to Google what it did to Netscape.
          John L. Ries
          • Bravo!

            A wonderful and succinct summary of the browser wars. I was there. I remember it all vividly, and yes, this is pretty much how it played out. Mozilla might not be the "cool kid on the block" not the "flavor du jour" anymore, but Mozilla is absolutely the reason why Microsoft has to run "I.E. Doesn't Suck" ads these days. Mozilla truly is the George Washington of the modern, open standards internet.
          • Re Education comment about MS and Mozilla/Firefox

            I very much enjoyed this background history "lesson." I lived through that era and watched as MS some of whose programs I like and yes, I have to live in the WinTel world exclusively in my work world...but the steamroller tactics of MS in those days and later in Europe really turned off much of my early customer loyalty to them stemming from the pre-historic days of MS-DOS.
            Also I wish forums would have far more comments on the level of this one.
            Thanks very much