Essentials Week spotlights unexpected items that make our daily lives just a little bit better.
The right side of my browser window holds an important collection of tools and tricks that I can’t internet without.
The extensions I use on the Chrome browser are mostly practical (they help me block pop-up ads, remember passwords, and save links) but there are plenty of fun browser extensions, and even a few that some people swear save them money.
So whether you use Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, or even Tor or Brave, here are some must-haves to add, whether you need to be productive or silly.
Get things done
Pocket: This link saver is a life saver. Instead of emailing yourself articles or keeping millions of tabs open, click on the Pocket icon and save the website to your Pocket link collection and add a tag to make it easier to find later.
Clipboard History Pro: You cut and/or copy and paste so many things, but you only have the latest one on your digital clipboard. This extension keeps track of your every copy, so you don’t lose anything. You can even search for keywords if something you copied weeks ago comes up again.
Pomodoro extensions: The Pomodoro technique is supposed to keep you focused on getting your work done in timed 25-minute stretches. If the timer built into your browser with this extension can’t keep you on track, maybe the website blocking will do the trick.
Keep it private
AdBlocker and Adblock Plus: These do what they set out to do: block pop-ups and other ads that come up on websites. You can whitelist publications and even mess with the settings to block some tracking and online creepiness.
ublock Origin: An open-source version of other ad-blockers.
Privacy Badger: The Electronic Frontier Foundation built this extension to help users block ads and tracking cookies.
LastPass: This year I’m thankful for my password manager. But seriously. LastPass sits innocuously on your browser and once you’re signed in with your master password, it fills in all your passwords and log-in information every time you need to sign into a website or service. I even keep my passport, credit card, and AAA membership info locked into its digital vault.
Wayback Machine: This gem from the Internet Archive gives you a glimpse into the past. Literally. Click on the extension while on a site and see past versions of the same website. If you stumble onto a dead link, you can see an archived version from before it disappeared from the internet.
Google Translate: If you use the Google Translate app you’ll appreciate this for your web browsing. Highlight sections of text and the extension will bring up a translation. Viola!
Honey: It’s all about the money, honey. The extension finds online coupons for online shopping sites you’re browsing. They’ll pop up when you’re checking out and you can apply the codes for secret online savings.
Just for fun
Cloud to Butt: Anywhere you see the word “cloud” on a website, this switches it to “butt.” Take that, butt computing.
Netflix Hangouts: If you really need to watch your Netflix at work make it look like a conference call! Bingeing at the office is now a thing.
Just Not Sorry: This is more serious than it sounds. Eliminate undermining, qualifying, and unnecessary words from your Gmail emails. The browser adds a squiggly line any time you use words like “just” or “sorry” in a message, so hopefully you’ll start treating those words like spelling mistakes. Sorry not sorry.
News Feed Eradicator: Instead of your Facebook newsfeed filled with inane updates from your high school classmates and mother-in-law’s neighbor this replaces it all with a refreshing quote about not wasting your time. Take back your time, one feed-obliterating browser extension at a time.