Chrome extensions I have to have!

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I’m a big user of Google Chrome, and have been for years.  In my professional life I also use Firefox, but when I’m home, Chrome is the de facto standard browser.

As with most modern browsers, Chrome supports the use of extensions.  And over time, I’ve come to utilize — and even rely on — several.  So I figured I would post my favorite Chrome plugins that I have to have, in the hope that it might be helpful for someone else.  Here we go…

Ad Block Plus

Hate annoying ads?  I sure do.  So without fail, Ad Block Plus is the first extension I add after I install Chrome on a PC.  This little gem blocks all sorts of ads, popups and other such annoyances so you can browse without all the distractions and interruptions.  As a plus, by default it will allow ads that are “non-intrusive” (i.e. ads that don’t create annoying popups or hijack your browser session), but if ads of even that caliber bother you, you can block those as well.

As with most content-modifying extensions, you can whitelist (or blacklist) certain sites so if you don’t mind ads on, say, YouTube, you can whitelist that site and view those ads to allow the content creators there to generate ad revenue.

Speed Dial 2

Just as important as the ad blocker extension (and possibly even more so), Speed Dial 2 has transformed my browsing experience.  This extension replaces your default new tab page with a page of clickable blocks, which you can define to be any link you want.  Additionally, you can separate your blocks into different tabs, so you can, for example, have a tab for all your news sites, your shopping sites, etc.  I’m a very basic user of this extension, and it has a myriad of features I haven’t even explored yet.

If you like organization and quick access to your favorite sites, you should give this extension a try.

Web of Trust

This extension is an absolute must!  Web of Trust is an online database of web sites and their reputations, based on user feedback amongst other things.  It can keep you away from nefarious web sites that at face value seem legitimate or otherwise safe.

Here’s a real world example: notice that I have Googled 202-555-1212 (which is not a valid phone number, btw).  If you will notice, the first result is innocuously titled “Contacting the White House”.  But if you look at the details, you will see the URL does not end in .gov; rather, it ends in .net and it is a “very bad” site.

People have reported this to WoT, and WoT has also used its automatic data-gathering and site-ranking algorithms, to determine this.  So they display the big red circle beside the site to warn you not to go there.

Conversely, “safe” sites are in green.  I don’t surf without this extension, and you shouldn’t either!


That’s the short list for now; I’ll add more to the list in the days/weeks ahead as I find extensions that I cannot live without!  Thanks for reading!