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Monday, October 24, 2011

5 Browser Extensions Everyone Should Have

Top 5 Must-Have Browser Extensions

The browser you use will determine the level with which you can customize your web browsing experience, as well as your level of privacy, safety, and speed when browsing. Chrome or Firefox are two browsers that are on the rise in terms of popularity and usage, and provide more customization features than any other browser.

To learn about some of the features, pros, and cons of different web browsers, check out Lifehacker's series on the Best Web Browser for Mac and the Best Web Browser for Windows.

Otherwise, continue reading below for a list of our Top 5 favorite, must-have browser extensions.

5. TinEye / Google's Search by Image
TinEye is an browser extension that does reverse image searches. Just right click an image (see picture) and search the image using TinEye.

Use it to find out where an image came from, how it's used, for similar images, and/or for higher resolution images. If you search for an image such as the one displayed to the left, you can also find out who the artist is and what the name of the painting is.

Search by Image (by Google) is the same thing, but is only available for chrome, while TinEye is available for all browsers. I have found that Google's version returns more results than TinEye does.
Download TinEye: *Chrome   *Firefox   *Safari   *Internet Explorer
Download Google's Search by Image:  *Chrome

4. Web of Trust (WOT)
Would you like to know which websites you can trust? Web of Trust is a browser extension that is designed to help you browse more safely.

Next to each link it places a colored circle: Green indicates a safe site, Yellow means proceed with caution, and Red tells you it is not trustworthy and you should probably steer clear.

If you want more information, WOT can provide you with ratings on vender reliability (if you are looking to buy something online, it will warn you of a fraudulent store), privacy (how much information a site knows about you), and others.
Download WOT:  Multi-browser Download Page (Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari)

3. Tab Cloud
Tab Cloud is a great extension for managing your browser tabs on a single computer or across multiple machines. It is like your list of Favorite or Bookmarked sites, but you can save them in bunches. So, for example,  if you're doing research, you can save a whole group of tabs and articles you are reading, and open them all at once at a later time.

You can name browser windows and save sessions, view a graphical representation of all your tabs and windows, and sync tabs from one browser to another. Overall, it is a great organizational tool for those of us who can't help but keep 20 tabs open at a time.

Download Tab Cloud: Chrome or Firefox

2. LastPass
LastPass is a password manager that makes web browsing easier and more secure. It isn't just for passwords either - it can remember login credentials (automatically logging you in to web sites), credit card numbers, your address and phone number (for filling out forms), and other personal info you may need to enter on the web.

Not only does it do all this, but it stores everything securely and syncs with any computer or browser that has the LastPass extension installed - so if you switch between Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer, it will have all your information synced between them. Overall, it is a great, secure time saver.
Download LastPass: Multi-Browser Download Page

1. AdBlock
This one is pretty self-explanatory: it blocks all adds across the web, including adds in videos such as on YouTube.

Not only does it make for a cleaner experience when browsing the web, but it also can speed up your browser speed, as ads can slow down your connection.

Download AdBlock: *Chrome  *Firefox  *Safari

What extensions and applications do you use? Have you had positive experiences with the above, if any? 
We're all ears in the comments!