The internet is an amazing tool that literally exists at our fingertips. I think it’s safe to assume that I’m in the majority when I say that I use the internet, in some way, every single day. I’ve learned so many new skills because of the power of the internet (thanks, Google!), connected with old friends I may never have heard from or seen again had it not been for the internet, discovered music that has shaped the way I process my emotions, discovered new ideas and read different perspectives that I may not have ever considered before, I was inspired to create this blog, etc. The list of the way the internet has affected my life is probably endless!
Generally speaking, the internet has helped to make my life easier and more enjoyable and a large part of this is because of my discovery of browser extensions. Say what? If you’re not sure what those are, simply put, a browser extension is a plug-in that extends the functionality of a web browser. Think of your browser as a T.V. and an extension as a remote controller. The T.V. works just fine without the remote, however, it works better WITH the remote. The remote serves no purpose without the TV because the remote’s job is to improve the functionality of the T.V. (in this case, making using the T.V. more convenient for you, the user.) While it may not be the perfect analogy, it illustrates the basic relationship between a browser and an extension. Another way to think about them is the relationship between a smartphone and mobile apps.
Now, of course, some people have a preference over which browser they like to use (Safari, Firefox, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, etc.). I personally prefer Google Chrome because it has a ton of really great, free extensions. Which leads me to the point of this blog post!
5 Google Chrome Extensions That Will Change the Way You Use the Internet:
I’m a habitual new tab opener. I stumble across an article that I want to read but don’t have the time to read it at that moment, or I’m busy working on something and I don’t want to get distracted, or I remember a debate I got into on Facebook and know that the article will come in handy backing up my argument. So, I end up with a bunch of browser tabs open which is not only cluttered and overwhelming but it also uses up memory and slows down browsing speeds significantly.
Pocket is a great tool for saving all of those articles, images, videos, etc. that you want to come back to later. Pocket collects them and saves them in one place with just a click of the mouse. You can tag them with keywords to organize them i.e. “recipes”, “shopping”, etc. Another thing Pocket does that I really enjoy is it suggests three different articles to read based off of your browsing history and pocket saves. It’s a great way to discover content you may not have otherwise. Check it out on the Chrome Web Store!
If you do any shopping online, you need this extension. If you’re shopping on Amazon, it will automatically scan other eCommerce websites for a cheaper price. If there is one, a pop-up will appear with the better price and a link to purchase it from that retailer instead. The cool thing is, is that Wikibuy will manage the sale for you and take responsibility if any problems should arise with your order. I’ve been using it for a few months and have purchased a handful of items using this extension and have had zero issues so far. I definitely recommend it! If you’re shopping on a big box retailer website like Target, upon checkout it will present a list of online coupon codes to try. They don’t always work but it’s definitely worth the five seconds that it requires to check. Basically, if you like saving money, this extension is for you. Install it from the Chrome Web Store.
I am in love with Noisli. It’s an easy-to-use extension meant to boost productivity. Essentially it’s an online soundboard of various ambient sounds such as rain, fire crackling, white noise, birds chirping, thunder, etc. You can customize different combinations to create the perfect sound for yourself depending on your mood. I have a playlist of camping, reading by the fire, and thunderstorm. I use this while I’m at work and it’s been really helpful allowing me to get away from mental distractions that can come from listening to music or just general noise in the office. It can be found here, on the Chrome Web Store.
This is my absolute favorite out of this list. It’s a search engine that works exactly like Google does–you probably won’t even notice a difference. But! There is actually a BIG difference. Ecosia donates a large percentage of their proceeds (generated through ad revenue) to planting trees around the world. They make all of their financial reports available online so you know that it’s a legitimate cause. The more you search using Ecosia, the more ad revenue the company generates, and the more money they can put towards their tree-planting mission. The extension even keeps track of how many trees your searches have helped plant so you can be sure you are contributing to the effort. It’s literally never been easier to do some good for our planet’s environment! You can install it here from the Chrome Web Store.
The last one on this list, but certainly not the least, is one that you absolutely need if you do any sort writing online. Grammarly is an extension that catches–you guessed it, grammar and spelling mistakes. Not only does it highlight the mistake, but it explains why it’s wrong and shows you how to correct it. I know this isn’t new or ground-breaking technology, but I do like that, instead of just pointing out the error, it teaches you how to correct it. This extension comes in handy for online applications, important emails, blog posts, etc. Try it out, and like all the rest of these, if you don’t like it or find you aren’t using it, just uninstall it. It’s as simple as that! Grammarly can also be used with Microsoft Word so if you’re in school and writing papers it’s a great tool for that in addition to online writing.
I hope you find at least one of these Google Chrome extensions useful! I know I certainly have.