Thursday, January 21, 2016

My 10 Favorite Google Chrome Extensions

I need more time in a day like the next person, but we know that's never going to happen. All we can do is make better choices and use our tools more efficiently.



Chrome extensions are small tools that do one or two regular tasks. They install into your browser and often appear in the upper right, next to the omnibox (where the Web address is typed).

Here are my favorite extensions that save me time and facilitate making a better product.

1. URL Shortener

Sharing Web addresses can cause clutter if you can't link text or objects. Whether it's Twitter, Remind, or email, I make sure that the URL doesn't take over the content of the message.

You can choose among a few good shorteners that can be set to use native shortening or base it on a search engine like Google (goo.gl). 

2. Snagit

This is essential for anyone who needs to give clear direction to groups of people. It's probably my most used tool on this list. I use it to solve a variety of time-saving issues, including snipping document excerpts to make DBQs (document-based questions) and taking screenshots to support instructions.

Snagit automatically makes a folder in Google Drive and can even make videos or GIFFs (20 seconds or less). The png image quality is perfect for publishing to the Web, and videos can be uploaded directly to YouTube.

3. QR Code Generator

We still use paper to share information. For some things it's easier than relying on digital means exclusively. But that doesn't mean we can't throw in a QR code to go from analogue to digital in a second.

Make sure that you choose a QR code generator that is easy to use. My favorite is the one that makes the code with one click and provides a jpg that can be dragged from a drop-down and placed into a document. 

4. Boomerang for Gmail

Want to send an email, just not right away? Send one at a specific time and date from Gmail with the Bommerang extension. Manage your people with scheduled followups or set a message to resend if it's not opened in specified time period.

5. Pocket

The Pocket app for iPhone works great, so it only makes sense to have the extension handy on my browser. The great thing about Pocket is the ability to tag articles. This makes it easy to call up articles by topic.

6. Pin It

Every image on your browser will give you a Pin It button when you hover over the image. Click the button, and you can save it to your Pinterest where I believe some of the best on the Internet is stored.

7. Save to Google Drive

The spirit of extensions is to save time by completing a simple task without leaving the a site. Save to Google Drive is aptly titled. Try it out. 

8. TL:DR

Our reading time comes and goes. Too Long, Didn't Read is a great tool that keeps you in the flow when you don't have time to read it all. It makes a summary of the article in different lengths for you to choose, which is my favorite feature. 

9. Buffer

We often have a lot to share on social media, but blasting our friends and followers with posts is not helpful. Buffer automates your posts to keep your feed alive without having to check it seven times a day.

The Buffer extension also includes a button that shows up when you hover over an image. 

10. Clearly

Too many ads or extraneous content cluttering a page and distracting a good read. Clearly is one of many extensions that will rid the page anything but the text you want.

What extensions do you use? Share it in the comments.