Get more from your browser
Chrome is a fabulous browser - fast, well designed and packed with essential features - but that's just the start. Chrome's real strength is in the huge library of add-ons that give it endless new functions and abilities.
With so many options, it can be hard to find what's right for you (even searching for keywords like 'shoes' or 'fishing' return lots of hits).
That's why we've put together this list of 10 of the best Chrome extensions around. There are many more we'd like to have included, but these are a great start, and if you're looking to get more from the browser we'd try these first.
Chrome can soak up most of your RAM without a little third-party help
Session Buddy is an essential extension which gives you complete control over your tabs. When Chrome slows down, save the current session, give it a meaningful name and delete any tabs you don't need. Now you can easily restore that session whenever you like, no need to find the pages again, and often with a much-reduced impact on your system RAM.
If you prefer something simpler, there are also extensions which automatically suspend or close inactive tabs to save system resources. Take a look at Tab Wrangler and The Great Suspender to find out more.
Block out intrusive ads for faster browsing
With your tabs under control, the next way to accelerate Chrome is with a good ad blocker - and Adblock Plus is one of the best.
Installation is quick and easy, and the benefits are obvious immediately. Just point your browser at an ad-heavy site, the Adblock Plus icon displays a running count of everything it's blocked, and you'll probably find most pages display far more quickly.
The other major highlight with Adblock Plus is its extreme configurability. Whether you just want to prevent the extension running on a particular site, maybe to avoid causing problems, or you'd like to use a completely new set of ad blocking rules, the Options dialog has tools to help. All we'll say is that most websites rely on advertising to keep going so maybe think about disabling adblockers on friendly sites like TechRadar!
Weak passwords are a serious security risk. LastPass is the solution
It's no secret that using secure passwords everywhere is a vital part of staying safe online, but when something like gLR6@z!kklEc is so difficult to remember, it's tempting to use 123456 everywhere instead.
LastPass solves the problem by creating a different strong password for every site, storing it locally in an encrypted vault, and automatically filling web forms and logins as required. You just need to remember a single master password, and LastPass takes care of almost everything else on its own.
Even better, LastPass backs up and syncs your passwords across other devices. The free version only syncs with devices of the same type (desktops, tablets or phones), but the US$12 (about £9.20, AU$16) per year premium account syncs with all your devices of any type, and adds support for desktop application passwords and password sharing.
Grammarly for Chrome
Make sure your spelling and grammar are up to scratch when posting online
It's easy to make spelling mistakes online, and although most people won't care, you'll still create a much better impression if you can avoid them whenever possible.
Grammarly is an excellent extension that checks your spelling on social networks, forums, Gmail and just about anywhere else you type online.
What makes the system particularly smart is it doesn't simply highlight spelling errors (theyre), but also picks up when words are used incorrectly (there car had been stolen).
There's nothing to set up or configure. Just type as usual, Grammarly underlines any problem text in red, hovering a mouse cursor displays more details, and clicking a suggested correction fixes the problem right away.
Save to Pocket
No time? No problem! Save interesting snippets to read later
It's the first rule of the web: no matter how much time you spend online, there's always more you'd like to check out, and that generally means a pile of bookmarks to check out later.
Save to Pocket makes life easier by allowing you to save web pages, links, images, files and more to a central list, then automatically syncing the results across all your devices.
It's a great system for web research. Whether you're adding pages or links on your phone, tablet or desktop, they're immediately available for browsing on any of the others.
Give your self-control a helping hand by blocking online time-sinks
It's a familiar problem. You've launched Chrome, ready to start work on a pile of important tasks - yet somehow you've still managed to spend the last 30 minutes browsing Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
StayFocusd helps by limiting access to your choice of the most time-wasting websites. They're not blocked entirely, but your access is rationed, and once you've used up your time allowance the sites can become unavailable for the rest of the day.
While this might sound a little drastic, Stayfocusd is easy to configure to suit your needs. You don't have to restrict entire domains, for instance - the extension can also limit access to subdomains, paths, pages or content types (such as video).
Chrome Remote Desktop
Use Chrome to control multiple Windows devices from afar
If you're a Chrome fan then you probably already run it across multiple devices, and are used to it syncing your bookmarks, passwords, history and more.
Chrome Remote Desktop takes the process to the next level by enabling you to remotely access and control any one of your Chrome devices from the other.
Once you've set up the system, all your online devices appear on a list. Go to your tablet, choose your PC, enter a PIN (for security) and the Windows desktop appears. You can then open files, launch, run and control programs as though you were sitting in front of the other computer.
Magic Actions for YouTube
A host of extra tools to transform YouTube into the ultimate video player
There are so many YouTube extensions around that it's hard to stand out from the crowd, but Magic Actions for YouTube has managed it with one simple strategy: piling on every feature you could ever need.
The extension can improve the core site by blocking autoplay, hiding ads, customizing elements like comments or hiding many of them entirely.
Smart playback tools include multi-range looping, a simple auto-replay option, and instant volume control by spinning your mouse wheel.
The functions keep coming with a speed booster to improve performance, one-click snapshots to save video frames, ratings previews for related videos, 40 stylish colour themes, and more.
Manage your to-do list in your browser - no sticky notes required
Todoist is a very popular to-do list and task manager, just what you need to get your life organised and stay on track. It only takes a moment to enter a few basic items (like 'get milk' or 'phone Steve') but this excellent extension has much more to offer.
You can split items into subtasks, set due dates (which can also be recurring), assign colour-coded priorities, discuss tasks, assign them to other people, and get notifications when anything important changes.
A handy option to save URLs as tasks means Todoist also doubles as a web research tool. Save your news articles, Wikipedia pages and academic journals, and they're all neatly organised for convenient viewing later.
Always find the best prices and cheapest deals when shopping online
So, ahem, we built Pricehawk ourselves - we think you'll like it! It's designed to be your smart shopping companion - so whenever you land on a shopping page at Amazon, for example, it will give you a nudge if that same product is available cheaper elsewhere. It's designed to always find you the cheapest deals from trustworthy retailers, saving you both time and money. It also has a search function so you can find other products and instantly jump to the cheapest price currently available!
Pricehawk is currently in beta and works best with tech and games products in the US, UK, Canada and EU, but it will soon work with other product categories and in other territories so stay tuned for regular updates!
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