14 Chrome browser extensions for a streamlined experience

From preserving privacy to decluttering browsers, there are a number of useful extensions out there waiting to be downloaded.
By Charlie Osborne, Contributor on
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OneTab is a highly useful extension for cleaning up your browser and reducing memory usage. When you find you have too many Web pages open, you can click the OneTab button to compile them all into a list which can then be used to restore individual tabs or in one go -- as and when you need to restore access to them.

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If you find yourself procrastinating and checking Facebook every five minutes for updates -- or just taking 'just a moment' to surf YouTube -- the free Stayfocusd extension can help keep you on track. The extension restricts the amount of time you are allowed to spend on websites such as Facebook and Twitter by blocking access once your allocated time allowance is up. A strength of the extension is how customizable it is -- from blocking full websites to specific pages and for whatever amount of time you wish.

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Momentum is another productivity-based Chrome extension which replaces your browser's homepage with useful functions. You can add elements such as a to-do list, goals, current weather and custom pages.

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Privacy Badger

Privacy Badger is a Chrome extension which is always on within my browser. The free extension blocks a number of trackers and spying adverts. However, with some services -- such as payment windows -- the extension may accidentally block scripts you need. Therefore, you can choose which sites to block or to allow incoming connections if problems occur.

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Grammarly, available in free or paid versions, is a handy automatic spelling and grammar checker. The extension offers you word replacements and suggestions to improve your writing as well as pinpoints spelling mistakes you may have made -- functions which can only be useful if you're continually writing emails.

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Hola Better Internet

These days, a VPN or proxy service is often required to access content which is linked to certain geographical regions or websites which are censored in particular countries. Hola Better Internetis one of the better services currently available for download, offering a streamlined VPN proxy service -- for free.

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Disconnect, a free and premium version Chrome extension, is another option on the market for users looking to block search and browser tracking. However, what makes this extension interesting is that the websites and services which track you are revealed in a visual format to keep you informed of what -- and where -- is tracking you.

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Pushbullet is a clean and clear Chrome extension which syncs up your PC and devices. If you have an Android smartphone, you can connect to the device through the extension, which then notifies the user of communication such as text messages sent to your phone. You can respond to them directly from your browser. In addition, Pushbullet is an alternative way to send media and files between your device and PC.

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When you're at work but stumble across an interesting article or two, sometimes productivity can suffer. However, if you use the Pocket Chrome extension, you can save articles, videos and Web content for watching later by saving links in one place.

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AdBlock is another must-have Chrome extension which can declutter and eradicate many advertisements from your surfing experience. The free extension automatically blocks ads appearing on social media, YouTube and a host of other websites by default.

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If you're a fan of gesture-based control, consider downloading and installing crxMouse. The Chrome extension allows you to create custom gesture control functions, including keystrokes, mouse gestures and dragging, in order to control your browser. It is not perfect, but is still an interesting way to customize your browser experience. The extension supports Windows, Linux and Mac systems.

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We've all done it -- spent 30 minutes filling out an online form only to have our systems freeze or crash on us, losing the data and sending us into a fit of rage. However, if you download the Lazarus extension, you can choose to have everything you type saved in an encrypted format, so you can recover your work in the case of errors, timeouts or crashes. The only limitation is saving work in WYSIWYG editors, as according to the developer, a bug in Chrome currently prevents Lazarus from operating properly in these environments.

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Hover Zoom

Hover Zoom is a simple but useful extension which allows you to simply move your cursor over thumbnail images in order to enlarge them without having to open a new tab. The extension works with a variety of websites including Flickr, Reddit, Amazon and Facebook.

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Finally, Streamus is a good Chrome extension for music lovers. The extension acts as a portable playlist which compiles saved YouTube pages and songs into tab-free listening.

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