I've gotten better at maintaining a steady set of tools that work for me. These Chrome extensions are part of that larger toolset and I would love to share them with you.

Clearly

When clipping pages into Evernote many people will highlight only the relevant text instead of clipping the whole web page.

Other times it's simpler to run the page through something like Readability to strip it back to the bare essentials.

The Clearly extension — made by the same great folks who do Evernote — wraps Readaibility-like functionality and Evernote clipping all in one. Coolness +1 = whenever possible it combines multi-page articles into 1 Smile

Hit the icon or press CTRL ALT Right Arrow and the extension strips the page back. Or press CTRL ALT Up Arrow and the extension strips the page back and then sends it to Evernote.

It's one of my most used extensions by now.

Download

Readability Redux

Talking about Readability: I don't like the new(er) service and prefer the way it used to be set up.

Nowadays when you click the Readability icon of bookmarklet you get whisked away to a new URL. That doesn't work for me as now when I clip the page to Evernote this new, incorrect source URL gets attached to the note.

The Readability Redux extension brings the good old-fashioned basic Radability service back. Recommended, especially if you wouldn't be using Clearly.

Download

ActiveInbox for Gmail

Whether you buy into the GTD (Getting Things Done) productivity process as described by David Allen or not, ActiveInbox has something actionable for anyone's email/productivity process.

Build upon Gmail's native tagging and labeling abilities, ActiveInbox's interface makes processing email and following up on the To Do's embedded in it, easy, effective, and consistent.

There's a lot available through ActiveInbox but these are some of my favorite features.

"Do this and move on to the next email": makes for super fast processing of emails. Archive & move on; Remove flags, archive & move on; Delete & move on; Report spam & move on.

Send & Archive we know as one of the Gmail Labs features; ActiveInbox goes further and turns it into Send & Archive — and move to the next email.

I love the Set A Date feature (available in the paid version only). I use it to make emails actionable in the future ("ask me again this summer?") and to follow-up on emails I've sent (flagged as Waiting On).

Download

FlashBlock

Steve Jobs was right: Flash sucks the energy out of any battery powered device.

Worse is that battery powered devices are often underpowered in the CPU department. Flash then not only wastes your electricity; it slows down your machine as well.

On my HP MIni 210-2200 (tricked out with 2 instead of 1 GB of memory and an SSD drive) both battery longevity and speed are noticeably better when serving the web with FlashBlock engaged.

When needed you can click the black F in a blocked object to see the Flash anyway. Or you can whitelist domains like YouTube to always allow Flash.

In most everyday web surfing though, most Flash objects are animated advertisements or ad objects specifically setup to bypass your cookie/security settings for ad tracking purposes. In other words: nothing lost.

Download

AdBlock

Talking about ads; sure the web with AdBlock enabled for a couple of days, then disable it for a "what the hell!?!" experience.

Yes, ads are the backbone of many sites. But honestly, it isn't my job to keep these web circulations in the running.

Those sites I do want to support I white-list (seriously, I do) so I see there ads. My caveat is that they have to be non-annoying ads though. It's super user unfriendly to have someone try to read a good article while an animated monkey is freaking in your peripheral vision…

AdBlock basically works out of the box. Install, go along with the suggested basics and the web turns quiet and serene all of a sudden. But remember: support sites you enjoy.

Download

Conclusion

These extensions are enabled in my Chrome installations at all time. They make everything faster. Faster, easier, better clipping. Cleaner, clearer pages. Faster loading time. Less clutter. More efficient email.

They are each highly recommendable.

Question: which extensions do you use? Which extensions do you recommend?

Ruud Hein

My paid passion at Search Engine People sees me applying my passions and knowledge to a wide array of problems, ones I usually experience as challenges. People who know me know I love coffee.

Ruud Hein

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15 Responses to “5 Chrome Extensions That Really Make Being Online Better”

  1. Mitch Holt says:

    Thanks! I love your posts.

    A few more I use pretty much every day:

    -SEO Site Tools
    -BuiltWith – tells you what CMS/framework a site is built with
    -Check My Links
    -Awesome Screenshot: Capture & Annotate

  2. Andy says:

    Thanks for that Evernote plugin. I didn't know about that one. Just installed it and I love it! Easy to use and just a perfect extenstion for an already awesome program.

  3. Julie says:

    Such a nice collection of great tips! I think that I'm going to install the ActiveInbox extension as soon as possible, it seems to be a must-have thing for me, thanks for the inspiration!

  4. danny says:

    i too recommend activeinbox

  5. Ahmad says:

    Adblock is a lifesaver! I had to go a couple of days without it (new Windows installation on a new machine), and that just made me realize how important a plugin it really is! But there's a ton of plugins out there which can now easily bypass Adblock or any other ad-blocking software that one might be using.

    On a side-note, anyone using Adblock: make sure you donate to the developer!

  6. Lukas M says:

    Recently I have found great weather extension. It´s not something new but finaly it is made for normal user, so the graphics is easy.
    Weather now.
    https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/imflhicibaneljgphmfahdknpmidflel?hl=cs

    Also it is nice to see the the developers are active and they respond to any question od bugfixes.

  7. Brian says:

    That adblock extension is something else, just something else that keeps me from getting any ad revenue. I know the use of Chrome is increasing. I have a social media site in which 33% of visitors use Chrome. I have a photography site that has 26% of visitors using Chrome. The future doesn't look good for website ads. I can't believe Google allows such plugins. This will spur me onto figuring out some other way of making money.

    • Ruud Hein says:

      The extension exists for both Chrome and Firefox. I don't think the majority of people have it installed. One way of dealing with it as a site is to display a notice the way http://alternativeto.net/ does, for example.

      It sucks to be a website owner and see that the price of online ads is going down, clickrate is going down, and these type of ad-removers exist. Seeing how huge cooperations like the New York Times have found it impossible to stay profitable with just ads I think many websites may need something to sell first and have ads as an additional, supporting income stream. Ads as the business model doesn't seem to scale.

  8. Brian says:

    Looks like I'll need some products. Thinking about services as a freelance social media manager, a few reports, or an ebook. Just need to research all of those options.

  9. Akash Kumar says:

    Out of all those I use only AdBlock and its a nice extension to have.