When many people hear the above terms they may think of some complex hair-salon procedures but in fact, what we are here to talk about today are browsers. In this context, Plugins, extensions, and add-ons are software components that add a specific feature to a browser that it does not already come with. They can be installed into Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, Edge, and Firefox to provided additional functionality to your browser and the things you do online!
Plugins, extensions, and add-ons can be used to block advertisements, correct your grammar, organize notes, explore Netflix categories, manage your time and really just about everything else under the tech sun. In this article, we want to talk about the which of these programs we like and some of the ones we think you should avoid. For help installing any of these programs, feel free to drop into our stores or call us on 250-890-1065.
Ad blockers are possibly the most popular addon programs. Designed for desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones, these apps and browser extensions give you the web content you are after while removing the blinking, flashing ads. Why do people get them? It makes your browsing experience safer, it stops ad servers from tracking your behavior, it makes pages load faster and generally declutters your browsing experience.
Malware and Virus companies are buying up advertising space in some of the world’s most popular websites and loading them with malicious ads that can do major harm to your computer and your data. The fastest and easiest way to avoid this is to avoid seeing the adverts entirely.
There are some downsides. Some websites you go to may rely on their ad revenue to stay in business. In addition, some websites may not function properly with your adblocker possibly blocking a necessary popup. However, if this happens it’s easy to set your adblocker to not run on certain websites and simply reload the page (by pressing f5).
Millions of people worldwide trust Grammarly’s free writing app to make their messages, documents, and posts clear, mistake-free, and effective (yours truly being one of them). Just like the spellcheckers of old, Grammarly works within your browser making sure no matter what you are typing both your spelling AND grammar will be correct.
We are tech’s first before writers so our website and newsletter would certainly contain more errors if not for this excellent blessed plugin. Grammarly is easy to use, easy to install and by far the best application of its type available as a browser plug-in. It will occasionally try and convince you to install the paid version that offers twice the corrections, better results and plagiarism detection but for most of us the free version works just fine.
There is a range of tools and applications to help us keep track of our time. Marketed as helping you to find your ideal work‑life balance, Rescue Time helps you keep focused and helps you become more productive. It does this by measuring the time you spend on certain categories of websites online, and by helping you understand your daily habits, make better decisions before heading back to Facebook for the 5th or 6th time that day.
Rescue Time gives you a readout of how long you have spent online on any given day, how productive you are being and even how this compares to your average day. By helping diagnose your wasted time, it can greatly improve your productivity. The old Maxim is “If it’s not measured, it’s not managed” and most people who use these apps are surprised by the results.
For those who don’t know it, Netflix is big business. Their online catalog of movies and series grows weekly and has convinced over 8 million Canadians to pay up for the service on their computers. There are several plugins which help smooth out the Netflix experience that we recommend that we have listed for your viewing pleasure.
Chrome only – Link
Netflix rates things for you personally based on your viewing history but does not tell you if the content you are thinking about watching is critically acclaimed. Rateflix adds IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, and Metacritic ratings to Netflix, letting you know if you are about to regret your choices or count the next few hours as time well wasted!
Skipflix: Auto Skip Netflix intros
Chrome Only – Link
Bothered by having to click “skip intro” on Netflix? Skip opening credits automatically using this Chrome Extension. This extension clicks the “skip intro” button automatically for you. It works when the button appears. The height of laziness? Perhaps, but you are already buying a service to avoid seeing adverts so why not distill that content down to what you actually want to see!
Chrome Only – Link
Netflix allows you to see things by categories but you are only ever seeing so many titles at once. Maybe you don’t want an action and adventure! Where are your period dramas, 90’s horror movies, and Central London Comedies? Netflix Catagories enables you to see thousands of “secret” categories that Netflix uses to arrange their collection. Use this plug in to easily search and add favorites.
Extensions you DON’T want
Just like installing malicious programs or malware onto your computer, there are some extensions, plugins, and add-ons that you don’t want to install. Make sure none of the browser extensions you are using are on the following list as they have been found to be using some pretty shady methods of data collection.
Block Site (also available as a Firefox add-on)
Poper Blocker (also available as a Firefox add-on)
AppLock | Privacy Protector
Mobile health club apps
When in doubt always feel free to reach out to your local and friendly tech guys (That’s us) to check a program or extension is safe. In addition, feel free to post the extensions you love and use below to help alert others with their choices!
That’s all for today! As always any questions please comment below or call us on 250-890-1065. Good luck and happy browsing!