For many years I’ve used multiple web browsers on my laptop computers because each one offers different advantages. My two primary browsers today, on both my Mac laptop as well as my iOS devices (iPhone and iPad) are Google Chrome and Safari. Since Safari is the default iOS browser, I end up using it the most on my iPhone and iPad, but do use Chrome for iOS a bit… Generally when I need to copy and paste something from a website or web link and I’m trying to share something directly to Twitter or Buffer within Safari. On my laptop this situation is reversed: I use Google Chrome continuously for 99% of my web browser needs, and use Safari only infrequently. In its recent updates Safari’s speed on laptop/desktop computers (running Mac OS X) has improved quite a bit. Originally when I switched to Chrome from Safari and FireFox, a big reason was speed. Chrome was SO fast, relatively speaking.
by ell brown
One of the main reasons to run Chrome or FireFox on your laptop or desktop computer is support of browser extensions. Safari doesn’t support them. Browser extensions extend the functionality of a web browser. Like mobile apps, however, it’s easy to give a large number of extensions a try and end up with many more installed than you actually use or need. Unlike mobile apps, if you have many extensions enabled, you can end up slowing down the operating speed of your web browser significantly.
This past week at the Inspiring Digital Age Teaching & Learning Conference in Keystone, Colorado, I had an opportunity to hear Ben Wilkoff (@bwilkoff) lead a fantastic session titled, “Chromebooks for Learning: The Missing Guidebook.” The way Ben had participants simultaneously contributing to a shared Google Document, captured in this six second Vine video, was just one of the fantastic ingredients of this session.
Ben shared several new Chrome extensions in the session which I’m absolutely loving, so I’m including them in my current list (linked below) of “indispensable Chrome extensions.” By “indispensable” I mean that I’m keeping these extensions running all the time, while others are toggled off until I actually want to use them. Here are my seven current “indispensable” Google extensions, along with a short description of how I use each one / why I think it’s great.
uBlock Origin is a new extension for me, which I discovered tonight thanks to this reddit thread. I love to use ad blocker browser extensions, especially when sharing YouTube videos with students, since I have no desire to subject them (or myself) to advertisements when we’re trying to watch something together. According to that reddit thread, there are big differences in the memory utilization of ad blocker extensions. In the past I’ve tried AdBlock, AdBlock Pro, and Adblock Plus. So far uBlock Origin seems to be just as effective as the alternatives… and I’m hoping I’ll notice the memory utilization improvements as well.
Tab Suspender is one of the new extensions Ben introduced me to. It’s absolutely fantastic: If you haven’t used a browser tab in awhile, it automatically suspends or “caches” it so it’s no longer using so much computer memory. According to the description, it can save up to 80% of your computer browser memory. I love how it goes into effect automatically, no configuration is required once it’s activated. When you want to use a suspended tab again, just click on the big blue “refresh” button and it will again become active.
by Wesley Fryer
Extensity is another new extension Ben introduced me to. This one provides quick-click access to turn individual extensions on or off, right from your browser window. This is MUCH faster than accessing extensions from within the Chrome settings menu.
by Wesley Fryer
Both Save to Pocket and Buffer are two of my essential extensions for saving web articles I want to read later on my iOS devices, and sharing links via Twitter. I address both of these in my conference breakout session, “Discovering New Ideas.” I also use a bookmarklet for Flipboard, mainly to share articles in my free Flipboard magazine “iReading by Wes.”
Google Tone is an extension I learned about a couple weeks ago from Tony Vincent (@tonyvincent) which functions like the iOS app Chirp. When someone else has Google Tone installed and activated, it’s possible to play/send a series of computer tones to their computer so they can open up a specific webpage. I haven’t used this in a classroom setting yet, and I can imagine that it could be potentially chaotic, but it also might be extremely useful in the same way QR Codes can be to quickly enable students to directly access web links.
— Wesley Fryer, Ph.D. (@wfryer) June 11, 2015
Share Extensions is the last item on this list, and I discovered it this evening when I wanted to find a quick way to generate a linked list of extensions I have activated as well as installed but inactive. Here’s that list! What are your “Indispensable” Google Chrome extensions that didn’t make my list?
My Google Chrome™ Extensions
Generated: Thu, 25 Jun 2015 03:41:35 GMT
User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_10_3) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/43.0.2357.124 Safari/537.36
- Share Extensions v0.1.1
- uBlock Origin v0.9.9.2
- Tab Suspender v0.4.6
- Extensity v1.1.11
- Save to Pocket v1.9.15
- Google Tone v1.6.3
- Buffer v2.12.1
Disabled Extensions: 14
- Toodledo Tasks v0.76
- Dualless v0.4
- ColorZilla v0.5.5
- Listly v0.2.0
- Google Cast v15.605.1.3
- User-Agent Switcher for Chrome v1.0.43
- MediaCore Capture v1.1.2
- Flickr CC Attribution Helper v0.810
- Pin It Button v1.37
- 1-click-timer v8.3.0
- TabCloud v1.17
- Storify v0.7.16
- Evernote Web Clipper v6.4
- Privacy Badger v2015.4.1
- Google Drive v6.4
- YouTube v4.2.7
- Google Search v0.0.0.30
- Daum Equation Editor v2.0.1
- Convert Case v1.0.5
- VoiceThread v1.0.2
- The QR Code Generator v0.2.6
- Kindle Cloud Reader v188.8.131.52
- Pixlr Editor v1.2
- Evernote Web v1.0.8
- ShiftEdit v1.39
- TwistedWave v1.0.6
- Gmail v8.1
- Google Slides v0.9
- Write Space v0.60
- Google Docs v0.9
- Google Sheets v1.1
- Readium v2.18.1
- TweetDeck by Twitter v3.9.805
- feedly v34
- Pixlr Touch Up v1.5.0
- Text v0.5.68
- TypingClub v6.0
Exported with Chrome Extensions Share
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