More than half of all internet surfing is done through Google’s Chrome web browser, making it far and away the most popular way get online. It makes sense then that Chrome offers a vast array of extensions — small apps that can help you do everything from capturing photos, videos and text, to playing games, to increasing your productivity. Extensions available on the Chrome Web Store can also help you tailor Chrome to suit your surfing style and requirements. Here, we’ll look at five of the top extensions for doing just that.
According to Harvard Medical School, the blue light given off by our computers (and other devices) could significantly impact our health. Not only does it dramatically affect our internal body clocks, knocking our sleep cycle off track, but the university says, some studies suggest it can also be linked to more serious illnesses including diabetes, obesity and heart disease. You’re likely already familiar with blue-light-blocking apps and settings for your mobile devices, but there’s an easy way to add this functionality to Chrome as well with Night Shift.
Once installed, the straightforward extension lets you add a tint to your screen that knocks back the blue in favor of warmer hues like golds and reds. Once the extension is installed, a click of the red half-moon icon that will appear in your browser bar opens the options window, and a click in the white check box at the top-right will turn the extension on. From there you can choose the color that most appeals, adjust the slider to vary its degree of warmth and set a dusk-to-dawn schedule or customize your own hours.
When you open a new tab in Chrome, you get a search bar and perhaps some tiles of apps you’ve designated to appear in that space. That’s pretty boring. Momentum replaces the ho-hum tab with a dramatic photo, an inspirational quote, your goal for the day plus the date, time and weather, and a to-do list.
After you install the app and open a new tab, you’ll be asked to supply your name, email and pick a password, and then you’re free to tailor the extension as you see fit by clicking on the gear icon at the bottom left. Adding to-do items is as simple as clicking the “New Todo” link in the bottom right, and checking a box next to a task puts a satisfying line through it when you’re done. Plus if you need to access your old-style tab, you can do so by clicking the “Links” menu in the upper-left corner of the screen and then choosing either the “Apps” option or the “Chrome Tab” option.
Apple first introduced dark mode in its Mojave version of macOS and it will soon be rolling it out the iPhone and iPad as well. It basically inverts the look of your computer’s screen, placing text in white and the background in black — which can be easier on your eyes, especially at night. Dark Reader brings this same functionality to Chrome.
After installing the extension, enter the menu by clicking on the Darth-Vader-like head in the browser bar. Turn the dark reading mode on and off with the toggle at the top of the menu box, then fine-tune your view using the sliders. If you like a certain look for a certain site, you can click the “Only For …” option at the bottom of the box to lock it in for that page only. Clicking on the Site List tab lets you decide if you want Dark Reader to only work on certain sites (“Invert listed only”) or if you want to block it on specific pages (“Not invert listed”). You can further customize the look of your pages by clicking the “More” tab and choosing font options and even fine-tuning the thickness of the characters.
This simple extension allows you to quickly and easily adjust the sound on any website you visit. If a page is playing audio, simply click on the waveform icon in your toolbar and you’ll get an equalizer interface that lets you drag different ranges of the output higher or lower to customize the sound that’s right for you. If you’re not so much a sound engineer, you can click into the presets box and choose from a range of pre-made settings include such choices as “jazz,” “small speakers,” “lounge,” and more.
This extension gives you an easy and attractive way to access and manage your Chrome bookmarks. Upon installing the program, you’ll be prompted to choose how you’d like to access a list of your bookmarks: either by left or right clicking, mousing to the side of your screen or clicking the icon in your toolbar. You can also choose whether you want the bookmark bar to appear on the left or the right of your screen. Once that’s set up, simply execute the action you chose to pull up your bookmarks. When they are displayed, you can drag them into the order you want simply by clicking on the up/down arrow icon that appears to the side of each site as you mouse over them.