The 100 Best Free Google Chrome Extensions

2016-08-25 - By 

It’s been an up and down couple of years for Google’s Chrome Web browser.

When we first did a version of this story in January 2015, Chrome had about 22.65 percent of the browser market worldwide, according to Net Applications. As of July 2016, Chrome has 50.95 percent—it crossed paths with Microsoft Internet Explorer in March, when both hit 39 percent. IE continues to dwindle, as does Firefox and Safari. Only Chrome and Microsoft’s new Edge browser have gained, but Edge is only at 5.09 percent of the market.

Then it lost some kudos—from us. After several years as PCMag’s favorite browser, a resurgent Firefox took our Editors’ Choice award. The reason: Chrome lags in graphics hardware acceleration, and it isn’t exactly known for respecting user privacy (just like its parent company).

That said, Chrome remains a four-star tour de force for Web surfing, with full HTML5 support and speedy JavaScript performance. Obviously, there is no denying its popularity. And, like Firefox before it, it’s got support for extensions that make it even better. Its library of extras, found at the Chrome Web Store, is more than rival Firefox has had for years. Also, the store has add-ons to provide quick access to just about every Web app imaginable.

Rather than having you stumble blindly through the store to find the best add-ons, we’ve compiled a list of 100 you should consider. Several are unique to Google and its services (such as Gmail), which isn’t surprising considering who made Chrome. Most extensions work across operating systems, so you can try them on any desktop platform; there may be some versions that work on the mobile Chrome, too.

All of these extensions are free; there’s no harm in giving them all a try—you can easily disable or remove them by typing chrome://extensions/ into the Chrome address bar and right-click an extension’s icon in the toolbar to remove it. As of Chrome version 49, every extension must have a toolbar icon; you can hide them without uninstalling the extension with a right-click and selecting “Hide in Chrome Menu.” You can’t get rid of the icons for good.

Read on for our favorites here, and let us know if we missed a great one!

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