1. AdBlock: Advertised as "The Most Popular Extension for Chrome," AdBlock does an amazing job of blocking ads on the Internet. Try pulling up YouTube without AdBlock, install it, then refresh the page. WOW, right?!
2. Goo.gl: You are likely already familiar with the power of shortened URLs (bit.ly, tinyurl.com), but this little extension gives you the ability to turn any url open in your browser into a short URL with a QR code with one click. Neat, to say the least. Short URLs are important for getting people in your training sessions or classroom to the place where you want them to be quickly.
3. Trash Can: This nifty extension has no fancy advertising and runs with a simple picture of a tiny trash can in your extensions area. I've accidentally closed about a million web pages that I wished I could get back again. This happens to inexperienced web users often as they try to get used to working with multiple tabs. Install this app and they will be able to quickly get back to the previously closed tabs.
4. LastPass: A free password storage utility and form filler, LastPass is probably a security freak's worst nightmare, but MY worst nightmare is standing in front of a few hundred people (or even a few people, or really even be alone) and not be able to log into a website I use every day. After you install LastPass it will bug the crap out of you every time you log into something to save the password on the site. Do it. Eventually, the password for every site you use will be stored in LastPass and will pop up automatically when you access the site.
*Note from the security freak in me: when you log into Chrome on a public computer, make sure to disconnect your account before walking away from that machine. For good measure, I also create a new Chrome account and close my own.
5. Buffer: Soon to add Google+, Buffer is already my favorite tool for posting to my Facebook Page, Twitter Account, and LinkedIn all at one time. Once G+ is added, it will truly be ideal. When you find something cool online, you can click the Buffer button and automatically share it to all your channels, but what's even better, if you use the Buffer function (instead of Post Now), Buffer will spread your updates out so that you don't overwhelm everyone with your enthusiasm, not that that would ever happen to you. When your Buffer is full, you can either relax or pay money to get more space. I tend to take that as a sign that it's time to log off.
UPDATE! Don't miss "Black Menu," a compact Google Dashboard for Chrome. Learn all about it on the Chrome Story blog here or GET IT here.
Honorable Mention Chrome Apps:
- One of the many great Delicious bookmarking tools. I use the one from Kasun somebody, and it works great. The days of browser based un-shareable bookmarks are coming to an end, and until Google gives me a better solution, this is it.
- Awesome Screenshot is . . . well, awesome. Truth is, I have SnagIt and Jing, but when I use a Chromebook, this thing is invaluable!
- I know everybody's obsessed with Pinterest, but when I need a brain break or to get re-inspired, the truth is, I rely on StumbleUpon. Having it running in my extensions makes it easy to remember to access it.