Build a better browser

CHOICE Computer's pick of the best add-ons for Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome
 
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04.Google Chrome

Chrome logo

Rather than releasing big, infrequent updates like Microsoft and Mozilla, Google regularly updates its Chrome browser and provides three versions to try: Stable, Beta and Developer. The Stable version recently hit version 10, and among the major players is the fastest browser out there. See www.google. com/chrome for more.

Installing add-ons

Click on the spanner in the toolbar, then choose Tools > Extensions, bringing up the Extensions tab in Chrome. This is the place to configure, activate or deactivate add-ons. Click Get more extensions and Google’s webstore will load. On the left under the Extensions heading are the various categories you can browse, you can use the Search field in the top right to find a plugin. Installing is as easy as clicking Install to add to Chrome.

The pick

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Chrome Notepad

provides a note pad within your browser window. It’s not only a handy place to jot things down, but will also synchronise across all your computers. It’s very simple: just a single pane on the right.

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Autonito

makes Chrome’s incognito mode automatic for sites you nominate. Normally, you have to explicitly choose incognito mode every time you access a site where you want to avoid leaving footprints, so there’s always a risk you won’t remember to do it.

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Flash Block

automatically blocks the flash content of websites, saving download time and avoiding Flash-based annoyances. It will also filter out ads, which makes it doubly useful.

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Web2PDF

lets you convert any website to PDF format at the push of a button, quite useful for those sites that don’t print nicely. You can download the PDF file, or view it with Google Docs. One limitation though: it can’t handle sites you’ve signed into. It’ll present the sign-in page instead.

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Fast YouTube

search provides one-click access to searching YouTube to help you find the videos you’re looking for, which is not only handy for frequent users but can save your bandwidth too.

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Google Translate

helps you out if you wander into strange lands, or languages, online. It will detect foreign languages on a webpage and offer to translate the whole page. You can even set it to do that automatically.

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Dual View

splits the current tab into two views, very handy for comparing two sites side by side, or making notes about a site on one side while viewing it in the other. It’s a much easier way to do this than managing two browser windows.

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Send from Gmail

takes any email links straight to Gmail, not the default link to Microsoft Outlook you normally encounter in Windows. It also makes it simple to email a link to the page you’re looking at to someone else.

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Stop Autoplay for Youtube

doesn’t just stop a video from playing, it buffers it up so you can wait until the whole video has downloaded before watching it. It avoids the stopping and starting you get when the download speed is less than the speed of the video itself.

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Feedly

gathers all those RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds you’ve subscribed to into one neat webpage in your browser. If you use RSS feeds regularly, it’s like having your own online magazine tailored to just your interests. It also keeps track of what you’ve read, so you can tell at a glance how many new items from feeds are waiting for you to read.

 

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