Chrome Extensions – Summer 2010

Firefox, that sleek alternative to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, became the victim of its personalization. Performance slowed to a crawl once extensions became all the rage. Your browser will suffer regardless of your computer’s speed if you add too many.

(We learned this listen back in the days of MS DOS in the 1980s when we crammed everything we could into the startup batch file and then learned that we had just reduced our 640K to pretty much nothing with “terminate-and-stay-resident” programs. Their descendants are in your Windows system tray right now)

So with Google Chrome as my regular browser, I set about finding the best of the extensions and pledging to ruthlessly purge any I did not use. My Winter 2009 Chrome extensions overview is still one of this blog’s top stories.   The followup from Spring 2010 isn’t far behind.

But I’m changing on you.  I’ve added more Chrome extensions and am unwilling to delete older ones to get to the arbitrary limit of 10 I set for myself.  So I’ve re-framed the goal.  This is still a great list of 10 all-purpose Chrome extensions.   But I’ve also segmented out 7 for web professionals–developers, marketers and those of us who make our living online.

Seventeen of ’em.  Any day, that old Firefox will look fast, but so far there is no noticeable slowdown.

Summer 2010 Top Chrome Extensions

1.  Feedly — the news reader’s magazine interface continues improving despite competition.

2. Xmarks sync your bookmarks to the cloud and to every computer you own or buy.  Chrome does this for Google accounts, but you won’t always use Chrome.  The 23rd most popular extension.

3. StumbleUpon — the granddaddy of social bookmarking.  #24 on Google’s most popular list.

4.  Speed Dial — mimics Opera’s thumbnail start page.  Amazingly, #25 on Google’s list.

5.  After the Deadlinespell-checking in web forms.  Amazingly simple.  From the creators of WordPress.

6.  Invisible Hand – shows a simple message if a product you’re looking at is less expensive elsewhere.

7.  Slide Show – create a browser slideshow from groups of images on Flickr, Picasa and other sites.

8.  Turn Off The Lightsdims the rest of the screen when watching videos.  #14 overall.  Very cool effect.

9.  Weather Underground – unofficial from the open weather community.  Current conditions, forecasts.

10.  Wikipedia Companionaccess Wikipedia in a pop-up screen.  Loaded with features.

Top Chrome Extensions for Web Professionals

A.  SEO Site Tools – Carter Cole’s SEO tool gets better every month.  The only repeating web pro extension.

B.  Clicky Chrome – For small businesses, this is great real time analytics data and a good extension.

C.  Eye Dropper – No more fumbling for hex codes.  Match colors exactly.

D.  Ghostery Shows what tools, analytics and scripts are on a page.  Introduces new ones the big boys use.

E.  MozbarSEOmoz tools in one easy, thin toolbar above or below your page.  Go Pro and get more tools.

F.  Resolution Test – Instantly resize your window to one of 12 resolutions.

G.  Tin Eye image search that displays other sites with the image, even modified versions.

So what fell off the lists?

A couple of web pro tools,  Lorem Ipsum Generator (nice, but not used often enough) and Chrome SEO (replaced by Mozbar), fell off the list from summer.  Also getting deleted were the popular Cooliris (I rarely used it and prefer Slide Show), Dotspots (great technology that didn’t enough users) and Orbvious Interest (a Read It later clone).

Chrome users: Do you agree with these lists?  What extensions do you find indispensable?

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