It is a well-known fact that Google Chrome is the most popular browser out there even though it is gradually losing its market share to its rival Mozilla Firefox browser. Though the default vanilla installs of Google Chrome is more than enough for normal internet users who use it for reading news, listening to music and watching videos online, there are many other internet users who feel that they need even more features integrated into their web browser. In this post, I’m going to share some useful Chrome extensions for Google Chrome and any browser based on the Chromium open source project. Before you start installing a gazillion number of extensions on your Chrome browser, let me share an advice – installing too many extensions can slow down your browser and Chrome will start eating your computer’s memory (RAM) in no time.
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uBlock Origin is a free and open-source yet efficient ad blocker. What we mean by efficient here is that it doesn’t use much of your system memory, unlike other ad blockers which can eat up your freely available memory as you start browsing through the internet. Though uBlock Origin may look small and might be the new kid on the block, don’t be fooled by it. It can easily enforce thousands of additional filters than other traditional ad blockers like AdBlock, AdBlock Plus, AdGuard, etc. One of the main reasons why I love uBlock Origin over other ad blockers is that it is less memory-intensive than other ad blocking extensions available on the Chrome Web Store. uBlock Origin is currently used by more than ten million active users to safeguard them from malicious advertisements and to block advertisements in general.
Another useful tool is ExpressVPN’s Chrome browser extension. ExpressVPN secures your internet connection when you connect to public Wi-Fi hotspots in places like airports and cafes, which prevents hackers from gaining access to your usernames and passwords for your emails, online banking, and social media accounts. The extension also allows you to access video content which might not be available in your country or region, which makes ExpressVPN particularly useful when you’re traveling abroad.
ExpressVPN lets you connect to 148 VPN server locations in 94 countries. The extension stops websites from figuring out your IP address and location and spoofs your browser’s geolocation data so that it matches the VPN server to which you’re connected.
The best part? ExpressVPN offers 24/7 customer support, so if you’re ever uncertain which VPN location to connect to, you can just live chat with a support agent and get instant help.
As the name suggests, HTTPS Everywhere encrypts your data traffic and uses HTTPS whenever possible, that is, it tries to use the secure protocol whenever possible while you try to open any web pages, even when it doesn’t offer HTTPS service. This is actually a part of the popular HTTPS Everywhere extension for Firefox, created by EFF and the Tor Project. It automatically switches thousands of sites from insecure “HTTP” to secure “HTTPS”. It will protect you against many forms of surveillance and account hijacking, and some forms of censorship.
HTTPS Everywhere is installed on all TOR browsers by default. The added advantage of using this extension is that it’ll make your online experience even more secure especially while online banking, online shopping, etc.
And just like ExpressVPN, this extension is also light on your system’s resources.
Privacy Badger extension blocks and protects you from spying ads and invisible trackers. It ensures that companies can’t track your browser history and browsing activity without your consent. The extension was designed to automatically protect your privacy from third-party trackers that load invisibly when you browse the web. It sends the ‘Do Not Track’ header with each request, and it evaluates the likelihood that you are still being tracked. If the algorithm deems the likelihood is too high, it automatically blocks your request from being sent to the domain. But the problem is that Privacy Badger is still in beta, and the algorithm’s determination is not conclusive that the domain is tracking you.
The extension has three states. Red means it’s blocking the tracker. Yellow means that it doesn’t send cookies or referrers to the tracker. Green means unblocked (probably because the third-party does not appear to be tracking you). We can click on the Privacy Badger icon in the browser’s toolbar if we wish to override the automatic blocking settings. Or, we can browse in peace as Privacy Badger starts finding and eating up web trackers one by one. By the way, Privacy Badger is a project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Unlike ‘Ghostery’ extensions (another extension similar to Privacy Badger), this extension doesn’t start blocking trackers automatically from the first run itself. It learns from your browsing patterns and recognizes which trackers are to be blocked or allowed. So, don’t be baffled when you see that it’s doing nothing initially when you browse a website just after installing it.
LastPass: Free Password Manager
Generally, it is not a good practice to re-use your passwords, that is, use the same password on more than one website. That’s the reason why I use a unique password for every online account I have. Moreover, I don’t use dictionary words as my passwords as they can easily be cracked. So what do I do to create strong passwords? I use the LastPass Chrome extension to generate strong passwords for my online credentials. Also, it has got a secure vault where all your passwords are securely stored. This way, I need not remember all my passwords. With LastPass, all you need to remember is one master password and you can carry your passwords anywhere. They support almost all major browser available out there and have also got their apps on Google Play and iTunes.
Ever wondered how people use all those nice emoticons from their phones and you too wanted it badly but you didn’t own a good phone and felt bad? Have no worries, FSS is here to your rescue. With these extensions (you need to install an additional extension too, the extension itself will guide you), you will have quicker and easier access to all Facebook emoticons. After installation, you will see displayed a small icon in Facebook status/comment boxes. When you click on it, you will see all the secret emoticons. But you need to install an icon pack too, which I just mentioned, but it’s just as hassle-free as adding any extensions.
These new emoticons are not just local machine compatible, they are visible to everyone regardless of whether they have this extension installed or not – Not like those spammy so-called Facebook themes that run unwanted scripts in your browsers.
Using the Mailvelope extension, you can encrypt your emails. It provides an end-to-end encryption service; a secure e-mail communication based on OpenPGP Standard. Mailvelope allows to encrypt and decrypt emails in your favorite webmail provider. It is integrated directly into the webmail user interface and is easy to use in your regular workflow.
It comes pre-configured for these webmail providers:
Hope you guys found this post useful! 🙂 Stay tuned. More interesting posts are coming up next! 😀