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50 must-have Google Chrome extensions (and they're all free)

If you are a Google Chrome user and you're not making use of extensions, then you are really missing out. Here are a selection of extensions aimed specifically at boosting your productivity and privacy.

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1 of 51 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Get more done with free privacy and productivity extensions for Google Chrome


Here are 50 extensions that focus on privacy and productivity. With these you can take screenshots, secure your browser, keep your passwords safe, take control of your tabs, secure your connection, do more with Gmail, grab text out of images, and much more.

All these extensions are free and are available to download from the Chrome Web Store.

Speedtest by Ookla
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Speedtest by Ookla

Take a Speedtest directly from your toolbar to quickly test your internet performance without having to open a new tab.

Download.

Office Editing for Docs, Sheets & Slides
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Office Editing for Docs, Sheets & Slides

View and edit Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files -- without needing Office installed on your computer.

Once the extension is installed, Office files that you drag into Chrome, open in Gmail, Google Drive, and more, will be opened in Docs, Sheets, and Slides for viewing and editing.

Download.

ExtensionGoogle Keep Chrome Extension
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Google Keep Chrome Extension

Found a webpage, image, or quote that you want to save for later? With the Google Keep Chrome Extension, easily save the things you care about to Keep and have them synced across all of the platforms that you use -- including web, Android, iOS, and Wear.

Download.

Google Hangouts
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Google Hangouts

Use Hangouts as you move from tab to tab in Chrome, or even without a Chrome window open.

Download.

Screencastify (Screen Video Recorder)
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Screencastify (Screen Video Recorder)

Screencastify is a simple video screen capture software for Chrome. It is able to record all screen activity inside a tab, including audio.

Download.

Send from Gmail
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Send from Gmail

Makes Gmail your default email application and provides a button to compose a Gmail message to quickly share a link via email.

Download.

Cite This For Me: Web Citer
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Cite This For Me: Web Citer

Automatically create website citations in the APA, MLA, Chicago, or Harvard referencing styles at the click of a button.

Download.

SpeakIt!
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SpeakIt!

SpeakIt reads selected text using Text-to-Speech technology with language auto-detection. It can read text in more than 50 languages.

Download.

TooManyTabs for Chrome
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TooManyTabs for Chrome

Manage your tabs, improve your browsing, and maintain your sanity when you have many tabs open.

Download.

Awesome Screenshot
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Awesome Screenshot

A screen capture extension for all or part of any web webpage. Add annotations, comments, blur sensitive info, and share with one-click uploads.

Download.

Tab Wrangler
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Tab Wrangler

Automatically closes inactive tabs and makes it easy to get them back

- Automatically closes idle tabs after designated time

- Saves closed tabs, easy to re-open

- Chrome sync saves settings between computers

- Doesn't close pinned tabs

- Lock tabs from closing

Download.

PanicButton
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PanicButton

PanicButton makes it easier for you to hide all of your tabs at once just by clicking on a button. They are then saved as bookmarks in a separate folder. Afterwards, the PanicButton turns green and shows you how many tabs are currently hidden.

Download.

ExtensionPrint Friendly & PDF
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ExtensionPrint Friendly & PDF

Print Friendly removes ads, navigation and junk before your print. Pages are optimized for the ultimate print reading experience.

Download.

All-in-One Messenger
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All-in-One Messenger

Use messengers like WhatsApp, Telegram, Messenger, Skype and many more in one app!

Download.

Signal Private Messenger
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Signal Private Messenger

Everything in Signal is always end-to-end encrypted and painstakingly engineered in order to keep your communication safe.

Download.

Telegram
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Telegram

The Telegram web-client is a free, fast and secure way to enjoy most of Telegram's features right in your web-browser.

Download.

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Disconnect Search

Disconnect Search is a service that uses a specialized VPN to allow you to search privately using your favorite search engine. The reason to use this is that they claim they don't log searches, IP addresses, or any other personal info.

Disconnected Search is available as an extension and a web service.

Download.

Session Buddy
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Session Buddy

Session Buddy is a session manager for your browser that allows you to:

  • See all open tabs in one place.
  • Save open tabs and restore them later. Great for freeing up memory and avoiding tab clutter.
  • Recover open tabs after a browser or system crash.
  • Organize links by topic and find them when you need them with keyword search.
  • Easily consolidate link sets and eliminate duplicates.
  • Export link sets in a variety of text formats for use in email messages, documents, spreadsheets, and online posts.
  • Create sessions from a list of URLs.

Download.

Wolfram|Alpha
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Wolfram|Alpha

Wolfram|Alpha is the world's definitive source for expert, computable knowledge across thousands of domains.

Download.

TabCloud
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TabCloud

TabCloud allows you to save any window session and restore it at a later date or on another computer. This allows you to sync open tabs between multiple computers.

Download.

Advanced start page
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Advanced start page

This Chrome extension lets you quickly and easily create your own home page. Forget about having numerous memory-hungry tabs open in your browser. Now you can do it all from your custom dashboard.

Download.

HTTPS Everywhere
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HTTPS Everywhere

HTTPS Everywhere is an extension that encrypts your communications with many major websites, making your browsing more secure.

HTTPS Everywhere is produced as a collaboration between The Tor Project and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Download.

IE Tab
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IE Tab

IE Tab exactly emulates IE by using the IE rendering engine directly within Chrome. This will enable you to use ActiveX controls and test your web pages with different versions of IE.

Windows only.

Download.

Google Translate
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Google Translate

View translations easily as you browse the web.

Download.

Tampermonkey
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Tampermonkey

Tampermonkey is the most popular userscript manager for Google Chrome.

Download.

LastPass
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LastPass

LastPass is an award-winning password manager that saves your passwords and gives you secure access from every computer and mobile device. Very secure, and very easy to sue

Download.

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Ghostery

Ghostery is an extension that reveals "invisible" web, which consists of trackers, web bugs, pixels, and beacons placed on web pages by Facebook, Google, and over 500 other ad networks, behavioral data providers, web publishers - all companies interested in your activity.

Find out - and more importantly, control - who is tracking your browsing.

Download.

ExtensionGoogle Dictionary
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ExtensionGoogle Dictionary

Get quick and easy access to definitions of words on web pages you visit without having to open a new tab or copy/paste the term into a search box.

Download.

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Click&Clean

A one-click solution to clean your browser and protect your privacy. With Click&Clean you can:

  • Scan your PC for Malware
  • Delete your browsing history,
  • Remove download history,
  • Erase temporary files,
  • Clear cookies and Empty cache,
  • Delete client-side Web SQL Databases
  • Remove Flash Cookies (LSOs)

And much more.

Download.

Strict Workflow
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Strict Workflow

This extension allows you to enforce a 25 minute period of distraction-free work by blocking a whole host of time wasting websites (the list is customisable). As a reward, you get 5 minutes to blow on the websites of your choice before going back to work.

Download.

Boomerang for Gmail
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Boomerang for Gmail

Boomerang allows you to schedule messages to be sent or returned at a later date. Write a message now, send it whenever, even if you're not online.

Download.

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Privacy Badger

Like Ghostery, Privacy Badger is a browser add-on that stops advertisers and other third-party trackers from secretly tracking what pages you look at on the web. If it detects that an advertiser seems to be tracking you across multiple websites without your permission, Privacy Badger will automatically block that advertiser from loading any more content in your browser.

Download.

Hotspot Shield VPN
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Hotspot Shield VPN

Need a VPN to secure your browser connection? AnchorFree has a tool called Hotspot Shield that's not only free to use, but is ad-free and totally unlimited. I've been using it here for some time now and it does what is says it does, and has been totally reliable.

Download.

Todoist
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Todoist

A sleek to-do app keeps you organized, focused, and more productive. The perfect to-do productivity app is there wherever you need it: on Google Chrome, mobile device, desktop, browser, Gmail, and more.

Download.

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Project Naptha

Project Naptha automatically applies state-of-the-art computer vision algorithms to every image your browser loads while browsing the web. The result is a seamless and intuitive experience, where you can highlight as well as copy and paste and even edit and translate the text formerly trapped within an image.

A very handy extension indeed.

Download.

StayFocusd
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StayFocusd

The web is an infinite source of distraction. StayFocusd does what is says on the tin - helps you to stay focused on the task in hand by blocking your favorite internet time-suck websites and services.

Download.

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Page Monitor

This extension allows your browser to monitor web pages for changes automatically. It can inform you whenever a particular page changes without you having to go and check every time, and it can even show you what the differences are.

I have a long list of websites that I keep an eye on using this tool, and so far it has worked flawlessly.

Download.

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BB Launcher Plus

Quickly and easily switch between Google accounts and services.

Simple, yet solid and very useful.

Download.

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Text Mode

Browse web pages without distraction. No images, no videos, no animation. It also desaturates colors for a more relaxed experience.

Not only does this extension make page loads faster, it makes information a lot easier to scan.

Very simple, but very effective.

Download.

Pocket
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Pocket

Not exclusively a Google Chrome extension, but it works in Google Chrome just fine.

Pocket is a place for you to put articles, videos or pretty much anything you want to later refer back to. Pocket an article or tweet on one device and it's instantly available across all your devices.

Download.

Minimalist for Everything
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Minimalist for Everything

Make Google services such as Gmail a lot easier to use by removing much of the toolbar and navigation clutter. Be warned though that for the advanced features you need to be good with CSS.

Download.

SecureGmail
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SecureGmail

Password protect your Gmail emails with this simple extension. Is it a 100% guaranteed bulletproof solution? I doubt it, but for stuff you just want to keep away from prying eyes, it's ideal.

Download.

OneTab
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OneTab

When your tabs are in the OneTab list, you will save up to 95 percent of memory because you will have reduced the number of tabs open in Google Chrome.

Download.

Checker Plus for Gmail
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Checker Plus for Gmail

Get desktop notifications, read, listen or delete emails without opening Gmail or Inbox by Gmail and easily manage multiple accounts.

Download.

Grammarly
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Grammarly

The free spell checker and grammar checker by Grammarly helps you write clearly and confidently on Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Tumblr, and nearly anywhere else on the Web.

With Grammarly, you can always be sure that your words are mistake-free and say what you mean.

Download.

The Great Suspender
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The Great Suspender

If you're anything like me than you constantly have dozens of browser tabs open at any one time. And mostly you keep them open to remind you of something, not because you're using them at that time.

The Great Suspender will automagically unload each tab while retaining its favicon and title text. A tab can be restored by clicking anywhere on the page when it is needed.

Download.

Momentum
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Momentum

Replace new tab page with a personal dashboard featuring your to-do list, weather, and inspiration.

Download.

Social Fixer
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Social Fixer

Social Fixer enhances your Facebook experience and makes the site easier to use by adding a ton of great functionality. One of its most useful features is allowing you to filter out junk (might be just what you need to get rid of all those political posts swamping your feed right now).

Download.

Evernote Web Clipper
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Evernote Web Clipper

Goodbye, bookmarks. Hello, Web Clipper! Clip the web pages you want to keep. Save them in Evernote. Easily find them on any device.

Download.

Bonus: Emoji Keyboard
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Bonus: Emoji Keyboard

Everyone likes emojis, right? Well, OK, maybe not, but if you do here's a quick and simple way to corral them and get 1-click copy and paste, or auto-input emoji anywhere in Chrome.

Download.

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