If, like me, you’re both a Mac user and a Google Chrome zealot, you’ll be happy to know that the latest beta release of Chrome for Mac, version 5.0.307, finally supports extensions. (Download it here.) It also adds a bookmark syncing feature, as well as a bookmark manager, a task manager, and a cookie manager.
The newest Mac Chrome isn’t perfect. It still has a few kinks, like, say, causing WordPress and Tumblr to crash repeatedly — bad news if you’re a blogger, to say the least. (Paging Google’s engineering team.) But extensions really do add value in a meaningful way: even if you’re not a total computer geek, you’ll find that they can do a lot.
Below, a few of our favorite Mac-friendly Chrome extensions: Click on their names to go to their download pages.
FastestChrome: “Save time by speeding up repetitive tasks. Get auto-loading of next page, improved searching, and more. Enhance your productivity!”
We found that this really delivered as promised and make browsing noticeably faster. It does make search boxes for Google, Twitter, Wikipedia, and Oneriot appear when you highlight text — and you can’t customize that selection — but speed is speed.
Evernote Web Clipper: “Use the Evernote Web Clipper extension to easily save all the interesting stuff you see while browsing the web. No more bookmarks, tabs, or open windows. See something you like, clip it and you’ll have it forever.”
Evernote is a fairly new service — its open beta came out in mid-2008, and its stable release came out just this month — but we predict you’ll be seeing a lot of it soon, thanks to its ease of use and clean interface. Plugging it into Chrome makes it that much simpler to use.
WOT [Web of Trust]: “WOT’s safe browsing tool warns you about risky sites that can’t be trusted: Online shops that cheat customers; download sites that deliver malware; sites that send spam; and those with inappropriate content for kids. Millions of members of the WOT community rate websites based on their experiences, giving you an extra layer of protection when browsing or searching the Web. The WOT add-on provides reputation ratings to search results when you use Google, Yahoo!, Bing, Wikipedia and other popular sites. Your Gmail, Yahoo! mail and Hotmail account is also protected.”
Crowdsourcing trustworthiness lets you know what you’re getting into and share your knowledge with others, making the Web a better place in the process. Don’t Google Jessica Biel without it.
InvisibleHand: “InvisibleHand discreetly notifies you if the product you’re browsing is available more cheaply from another retailer. The notification provides a convenient link straight to the relevant product page on the competing retailer’s website.”
If you’ve ever wasted far too much time jumping from retailer to retailer to save those extra four dollars, you’ll appreciate InvisibleHand, which automatically compares prices across retailers in an unintrusive tab and provides you with links to competing deals. It’s not yet terribly comprehensive — it worked for us on Amazon, Buy.com, and Newegg, but not on Bestbuy.com or walmart.com — but it’s a start, and hopefully later versions will have even more meat.
Weather Forecast: “This is one of the simplest and fastest weather extensions available. It will show the current weather as an icon with the current temperature. Uses the same weather information as Google displayed in your language.”
Because you’ve got to know the weather, right?
ChromeMilk: ” ChromeMilk lets you access your tasks right from your Chrome toolbar. Clicking the button can show a popup with RTM’s iGoogle, Gmail, or iPhone gadgets, or just open the RTM page when clicked.”
The Chrome-ready version of the popular mobile task manager Remember the Milk, ChromeMilk organizes the things that you know you need to do but always seem to forget in one always-accessible dropdown menu.
ChromeSEO: “The Google Chrome SEO Extension provides easy access to Search Engine Optimization Tools that can help you with Competitive Analysis, Keyword Research, Backlink Checks, PageRank Checks and other daily SEO tasks.”
This extension is a little insidery and may not be of that much interest to civilians, but if you work on the Internet and the idea of pageranks, indexed pages, backlinks, and keywords for any given site at the push of a button causes you to fall out of your chair in delight, you’ll probably love ChromeSEO. If that idea causes you to fall out of your chair because you have dozed off in boredom, it may not be for you.
Feedly: “A magazine-like startpage. A fast and stylish way to read and share the content of your favorite sites and services. Provides seamless integration with Google Reader, Twitter, Delicious, YouTube and Amazon.”
Much, much prettier alternative than iGoogle’s personalized pages. If you’re on the fence, the link has screenshots.
Upside Down: “Play a prank on your friends by turning every webpage upside down! (version 0.2 features multiple options like flipping the whole page, only images, everything but images, and a delay to set the prank as a time bomb)”
Yes, it’s a little odd that this is currently the top featured Google Chrome extension, but who doesn’t like pranks? Not functional, per se, but a clever one-off joke.
TooManyTabs: “Ever tried having 20 tabs or more open in Chrome? You can’t even see the favicon of the tabs, not to mention the tab titles! If that happens to you, TooManyTabs is a must-have extension that manages your tabs, reduces your tab overflow, and saves your sanity!”
The description text might sound like an exaggeration, but it isn’t: if you’ve gulped and made the jump to Chrome, one of the first things you’ll notice is that unlike many other browsers, which support tabs when you open a new webpage but keep new windows as the default, the functionality-minded Chrome is all about tabs, tabs, tabs. This handy tab visualizer makes them a lot more manageable.
Remember: if you OD on extensions and want to disable or uninstall some (here’s looking at you, Upside Down), go to chrome://extensions/ for the extensions manager. And you can get plenty more at Chrome’s extensions page. And you can download the latest Chrome for Mac here.
Did we miss any of your favorite Chrome extensions? Tell us in the comments section below.
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