By Nick Rink
Here are my selection of the best extra features - with handy and helpful functionality - that you can easily add to Chrome. These will help with communication, social media, security, time management and many other areas. I've also included some that my Google+ friends use on a regular basis:
Awesome Screenshot (recommended by Malcolm Maybury)
Sometimes the only way to explain what you’re seeing on your screen is to take a picture. Sure you could grab your smartphone and take a quick snap but it’s much quicker to just take a screenshot. This extension allows you to do that and then crop, annotate and generally markup that screenshot. It's a really handy tool and one that I probably use several times a day. Download Awesome Screenshot from the Chrome Web Store.
Sharing links is a great way to share information across the web. However they can be very long and sometimes tricky to remember. Sure, a quick copy and paste would do the trick but Bitly just makes the whole process easier. For sharing to Twitter, where every character counts, it’s almost the only way you can share some links. Accounts are free and you can even buy domains so that you can brand your links, or as some folks call them “vanity links”. My links all get shortened to smrtl.cl, which is Smart Local without the vowels!
Pushbullet (recommended by Skua Media)
Notifications can be tricky so anything that can help you get a better handle on them is welcome. This clever little extension syncs notifications between your devices so no matter whether you’re on a laptop, iPad or HTC One M9 you can quickly respond … or dismiss, as the case may be. It also makes it a cinch to share links, photos and other files between devices. Can’t believe I hadn’t heard of it before researching this post! Download Pushbullet from the Chrome Web Store.
Anyone who’s involved in any kind of social media will likely already be aware of Buffer, which just makes sharing content to various social media profiles quick and easy. The Chrome extension simplifies the process even further so that within two clicks you can share something to four different social profiles. Integrate it with Bitly (and you’re vanity URL shortener) then you’ve got additional branding and tracking capabilities. Download Buffer from the Chrome Web Store.
Save to Pocket
Bookmarking interesting content to come back to and check out later can be a nightmare if you use the usual “Favourites” feature in your browser. Pocket is an app that lets you save a page with one click and then syncs it across all your connected devices. So if you find a clip on YouTube but you’re just leaving the office then save it to Pocket and access it on your phone while you’re on the train home. You can also quickly tag content, so if you’re looking for “funny” it’s quick and easy to find a chuckle. Download Pocket from the Chrome Web Store.
No roundup of Chrome extensions would be complete without Evernote, a tool that can be used for a vast array of things. The web clipper allows you to save web pages and then easily organise them within Evernote so that you can access them later, either through the web app or your mobile device. If you’re not already using it then please do take a look. Download Evernote Web Clipper from the Chrome Web Store.
How many times have you forgotten a password and then had to go through the whole password reset rigmarole? Exactly! With this fab extension that should be a thing of the past as it remembers (securely) all your login details for every site you tell it to. It’s super simple to setup and, allegedly, more secure that using Chrome’s own “Remember password” option. Big stress reliever this one! Download Last Pass from the Chrome Web Store.
Deadbolt (recommended by Ed Carter)
Another password and security related extension, Deadbolt doesn’t remember your password but scrambles it so that it becomes pretty much impossible to hack. So with this all you need to remember is a favourite phrase, something simple like “food makes me happy” and the extension renders that into something that looks like this “9erQ1p&z1Oqs8&I”. You can choose anything from 5 up to 15 characters and the same favourite phrase will always generate the right password for you. Download Deadbolt from the Chrome Web Store
If you spend a fair bit of time on the internet (ahem, guilty!) then finding out where you’re spending that time can be really helpful when it comes to managing your time and workload. This extension tracks every site you visit and then allows you to categorise them into useful folders – home, social media, clients, admin, etc. Lots of lovely coloured charts and graphs then let you identify where you’re actually spending your time rather than where you think you’re spending it. If time management is an issue then I’d highly recommend this one. Download timeStats from the Chrome Web Store
Nick Rink owns and runs Smart Local Marketing, a digital marketing company that helps independent businesses attract more customers in their local communities. You can generally find him over on Google+ and Twitter.