Computer Workshop - Google Chrome Extensions: Part 1
Google Chrome Extensions: Part One
For quite a few years now, I've recommended Google Chrome as the best web browser to use. Its speed, stability and safety on the 'net make it an easy to use, feature packed experience.
Now I'd like to talk a little about Chrome's Browser “Extensions”. Extensions are like little helper programs that perform 1 specific task for you while you are surfing the net. They don't work anywhere else but in Chrome, but they can improve your overall browsing experience or simplify repetitive tasks so you can “git 'er done!”. Here are two that I just can't live without!
Ever wanted to define a word when you are on the internet? Do you hate having to get up out of your comfy spot to go find a dictionary or worse yet, have to search one of those super slow web-based dictionaries out there? Google Dictionary extension solves this really easily. Just install the extension, and a tiny red dictionary icon will appear in the upper right hand corner of your browser window.
To use Google Dictionary, just double-click on any word, on any web page that you are curious about and a little box will appear with a simple definition or two and even a little speaker icon so you can hear how it's pronounced if you're not sure. Pretty cool, eh?
Google Dictionary Extension link
Send From Gmail
Do you have a gmail account? It's actually worth setting one up just so you can use this extension! Send From Gmail does just one thing and does it superbly. When you find a web page that you want to send to a friend or even to yourself for later perusal, just click on the Send From Gmail icon in your Google Chrome browser, and up pops a new email window with the link to the web page inserted in the email and the name of the web page already in the subject line. (You don't even need to be in gmail to use it.)
All you have to do then is put the email address in the right place and press Send. Sounds a little silly until you stop and think how many steps you have to do to set up an email. Why not eliminate a few of them and save yourself a little time? Send From Gmail Extension link
Computer Workshop - Google Chrome Extensions: Part 2
Photo Editing Tools
Many of us would like to be able to learn or play with fancy photo editing software or be able to fix up a simple photo (get rid of red-eye, brighten up a dark image etc) but don't want to invest in the fairly expensive products out there when they know they will only use occasionally. Enter Pixlr Express' free online photo editing tools. They are fabulous, pretty easy to learn to use, and did I mention that they're free?
You can get to this one simply by going to Pixlr.com and adding it to your favorites/bookmarks. Or, you can add the extension to your Chrome web browser at this link Pixlr Express at Chrome Web Store (be sure it says "from pixlr.com" next to the app.)
There are three levels of photo editing tools available on the Pixlr homepage. Try the Express version, which is comparatively simple. Just follow the instructions at each step to upload and play with your own photos or use one from their library. It's incredibly full featured and fun to use.
Here's another cool. free, photo editing program that i just discovered called Picmonkey. It's similar to Pixlr but does come with some nice tutorials and a more simplified user interface. As always, there is a paid version available, but the freebies are quite nice so there's no need to pay unless you really get into it.
This link is for the picmonkey app (as opposed to the extension), and can be found in your google apps list. Or just go to picmonkey.com to check it out.
Computer Workshop - Google Chrome Extensions: Part 3
Incredible Start Page
Incredible Start Page is a home, or start page for your Chrome web browser that can be set to come up when you start Chrome. Incredible Start Page gives you a visually pleasant heads-up display of the items on your bookmarks bar and lets you click right on the page links themselves to go to your favorite site. It's visually appealing, dependable and pretty fool-proof.
Don't make the mistake of relying solely on your browser's history list of recently visited pages to reliably get to your favorite sites. This list can be whisked away in a split-second by clearing the browsing history or a number of other actions. Instead, bookmark your favorites/frequented pages and try Incredible Start Page. If you change your mind, it can be uninstalled in an instant with no loss to you.
Incredible Start Page at Google Chrome Web Store
Explain and Send Screenshots
Explain and Send Screenshots does one thing very, very well. It take a screenshot (a picture) of everything that you see on a web page that you are on, or allows you to pick just how much of the page you want a picture of.
It takes the picture for you, opens it in a new browser window and then allows you to do things like add text, circle portions of the image or even draw arrows to point things out.
If you've ever tried to explain something on a web site to a confused friend or relative, you'll understand how useful it is to be able to send them a picture showing what button they should push, circled in red and say "It's THIS one!" Explain and Send Screenshots at Chrome Web Store