FRAMINGHAM, 24 JANUARY 2011 - With every passing month, Google Chrome is becoming increasingly popular. Fans laud its lean, stripped-down interface, and its fast browsing. They also appreciate the free extensions that give Chrome the ability to do all kinds of nifty things.
With so many Chrome extensions available, which ones should you get? To help you decide, we've picked out ten of our favorites. They'll let you do everything from speeding up your Web browsing to checking Gmail and Google (GOOG) Calendar to grabbing videos and graphics from across the Web.
Get the Most out of Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Search
Given that Google created Chrome, it should be no surprise that some of the best extensions you can find for the Web browser help you get the most out of Google's core services, including calendaring, e-mail, and search.
Anyone who uses Google Calendar will want to install the excellent Google Calendar extension. Click its icon, and you'll be able to see your calendar, complete with all events, right in its own pop-up window. You can also add events. A nice plus is that it displays all of your Google calendars, or just those you want to see.
Another excellent extension, Google Mail Checker Plus, notifies you when you have new mail in Gmail--and it does plenty more, as well. Its icon shows you the messages waiting in your inbox; click the icon, and for each message you can see the sender, the subject line, the first line of text, and the day it was sent. Click any message to read the whole thing, or to reply. It's a great way to use Gmail without having to actually visit the site.
Although it focuses on contacts and attachments rather than messages, MailBrowser is another terrific way to get the most out of Gmail when you're using Chrome. You click its icon to drop down a list of all of your Gmail contacts. Afterward, you can click any contact to get more details, including links to the business where the contact works. You'll also be able to see all the e-mail you've exchanged with each contact, as well as to manage all the file attachments sent between you and the contact.
Plenty of extensions out there can help Chrome work better when you're browsing the Web. GleeBox, for one, is a clever extension that lets you use your keyboard rather than a mouse, for more-efficient browsing. Using it, you'll be able to scroll and select text fields from the keyboard, for example.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.