Many of us love using Chrome and Google Workspace products but are always wishing it could do “this” or it could do “that”. Let me introduce you to 5 Chrome Extensions you need right now. I could always use my Chrome browser without my extensions, but, let’s be honest, it would not be as fun or productive.
The first question that needs answered is “What is a Chrome extension?”. Chrome extensions are tools that you can add to your Chrome browser to enhance your browsing experience. These enhancements can range anywhere from productivity to fun to organizational. I even use extensions for my personal life when it comes to online shopping. Truth be told, I probably have too many extensions.
The next question that needs answered is “where do I find these Chrome extensions?”. You can do a simple Google search for something you are looking for if you are unsure of the name of a particular extension. But, if you do know the name, you simply will go to the Chrome Web Store, type in the name of the extension and install it to Chrome.
Now that we know what Chrome extensions are and where to find them, here are my top 5 that I use regularly:
1. Bitmoji (Fun)
2. Mercury Reader (Productivity & Creation)
3. Tab Resize (Organizational)
4. ColorZilla (Fun & Creation)
5. Loom (Creation)
The Bitmoji Extension
This extension only works if you have a personal Bitmoji account that you created via your cell phone app. The extension is free to register and use. Once you sign into the extension using your personal account, you can then click on the extension in your browser, search, and select to add a Bitmoji to your creations. What I like about this extension is that it adds a little engagement and fun to your created resources and presentations.
The Mercury Reader Extension
I absolutely love this extension and use it constantly. There is no registration or sign up required to use this free extension. Mercury Reader does two things for me: 1) it allows me to get rid of extraneous content, like ads, on any website and 2) save websites as PDFs that I can then use later or share with students.
The Tab Resize Extension
Tab Resize allows me to split my screen, tabs, and/or windows on my laptop with the click of the extension. It even gives me choices of how I want to split my screens – side-by-side, four squares, top-bottom, new window – and I can do this with a simple click. I no longer have to spend time resizing my windows to fit so that I can work on two tabs at once. Tab Resize is free to use and there is no registration required for using this extension.
The ColorZilla Extension
Anytime I am creating my own resources or presentations, I like to use ColorZilla. This extension lets me click on any color on any website and copy the HEX or RGB code to customize and add to my creations. This is especially nice if I am creating something for open house night and I want to incorporate my school colors. All I would do is navigate to my school district’s website, activate ColorZilla in my Chrome browser, and click on the colors I want to add to my resources. This extension is free to use and there is no registration required.
The Loom Extension
Loom is the perfect extension when you want to create instructional videos or any other kind of videos. Loom is quick and easy to use (similar to Screencasifty) with the added bonus of being completely free for educators. There are no recording time limits or storage limits as long as you are logged in with your educator account. Loom lets you record your screen, your screen with your video, and/or your video alone.
Bonus Extension: Honey
Honey is a Chrome extension I enjoy when I do some online shopping. This extension is free to use and if you create an account, you can accumulate points to earn rewards. When you are ready to checkout while shopping, Honey will comb through online coupons and deals and automatically add them before you purchase.
There are some things to be aware of when you are installing Chrome extensions.
If you have too many extensions installed, they may slow down your browser and actually hinder your workflows. You can easily manage your extensions by using the puzzle piece icon in your browser or going to your Chrome settings and selecting manage extensions. I recommend to turn off any extensions you don’t use regularly and then turning them back on when you are ready.
Some extensions will come with ad pop-ups or will change your browsing experience to something other than Chrome. I recommend to not add too many extensions at once so that you can pinpoint if an extension is the reason that something is awry with your Chrome browser.
While I only list my top 5 Chrome Extensions here, I use more throughout the course the year. If you feel adventurous and want to explore some more, I also recommend the following:
Read&Write for Google
Explain and Send Screenshots