Google Chrome extensions are a dime a dozen nowadays. While these simple little add-ons can help you with everything from games to being more productive, the problem is that many of them aren’t that great. Even worse, some extensions can pose a massive security risk. For example, it was recently discovered that four major Chrome extensions (which together had over half-a-million downloads) were malicious. That definitely raises the stakes when it comes to choosing the right extensions.
If you use Chrome as your browser at work, you need to be especially careful about which extensions you install. The last thing any of us want is to get in trouble for accidentally compromising confidential company data. If you’re an IT Manager, it’s not a bad idea to put together a list of approved extensions for your coworkers. You may end up saving yourself a lot of hassles in the future.
We’ve put together this list of our eight favourite Chrome extensions that will help you be more productive while also keeping your computer secure. Whether you plan to use them at work, at home, or both, these handy extensions will kick your Chrome experience up a notch without inadvertently making you mine Bitcoin for hackers (Seriously, it happened in December).
We all know that Google Hangouts is a great tool to chat, call, and video conference with your colleagues. The Hangouts extension gives you everything you’re used to in a more convenient package. Sitting in Chrome, you’re able to get notifications and use Hangouts regardless of whether you’re switching from tab to tab or have Chrome closed. You’re also able to move the small window all over your screen(s) or hide it in your application bar. Generally speaking, it makes using Google Hangouts way easier. Another plus, since it’s made by Google, you know that it’s secure.
Full disclosure, this is one of our products. It’s awesome though. If you use Google Drive, this extension is a godsend. UFO allows you to work on non-Google files (think Microsoft Word, Adobe Photoshop, etc.) from your computer then automatically update those same files on Google Drive. For example, say that you’re working with a client who doesn’t use Google Drive. Traditionally, if they uploaded a Word document to Drive, you would need to download it, make your changes, then re-upload the file. If you have lots of documents or revisions, it can get be confusing to understand which version of the document is the correct one. If you were using UFO, you would download the Word document and make your changes like before. However, the difference is that all of your updates will sync directly with the document on Google Drive. That means no more “Final_Final_V4” filenames or 30 different versions of the same document. Just one file with all the changes.
Since we’ve been talking about security, it would be impossible to not mention LastPass. If you’re not familiar, LastPass is a password management tool that helps you secure your online accounts. First, you make a master password to access LastPass. Then, LastPass automatically generates secure passwords for your accounts. Your new passwords are auto-filled into the websites that you use so you don’t need to worry about memorizing them. All the security in the world can’t make up for a weak password. That’s why LastPass is so useful. It does a great job in keeping your profiles safe and sound (plus you only have to remember one password).
If you’re anything like me, you probably have 15 or more tabs open on your browser right now. The problem with this is that it can slow down your computer and kill your laptop’s battery life. The Great Suspender solves this problem. If you haven’t used a tab in awhile, this extension will suspend it. What does that mean? It’s the equivalent of pressing “pause” on your tab. So, when you refresh the suspended tab, you’ll find yourself right back where you left off. In meantime, it takes a load off of your computer so you can work faster and save battery life.
HTTPS Everywhere is a handy extension that automatically turns unsecured “http” websites into secure “https” sites. Despite being hardly noticeable, this extension does a fantastic job of keeping your computer safe. By simply switching to “https”, you will be protected from surveillance, account hijacking, and, in some cases, censorship.
If you work in sales, the LinkedIn Sales Navigator extension is a must-have. In a nutshell, Sales Navigator matches your Gmail contacts with their LinkedIn profiles. When you receive a new sales inquiry from a prospect, you’ll have access to their job title, company name, shared connections, and more. Having access to this kind of information makes it way easier to build better relationships with potential clients.
There are few things more embarrassing than sending an email to your boss with typos in it. That’s where Grammarly comes in. It automatically checks your spelling, grammar, and punctuation to make sure that your messages are mistake-free. It works on Gmail, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and a ton of other major sites to make sure that your grammar is great wherever you post. If you’re writing a blog or report, it has an online editor where you can check your content as well.
Momentum is a personal favorite of mine. It replaces Google Chrome’s classic new tab layout with a beautiful productivity suite. Featuring a stunning background photo (that changes daily) and a customized welcome message, Momentum allows you to set a daily goal, track your to-do lists, monitor the weather, and more. When it comes to ridding yourself of distractions and easily tracking tasks, it’s hard to find a tool more convenient.