If you’ve been reading my last few GoogleTutor.com articles, I showed how extensions -small mini-programs that add into your Chrome browser, can make surfing the web faster, easier, and more efficient. If you use Gmail, Google Reader, Google Calendar, or any other Google app, then you have a Google account. Certain extensions for Chrome make accessing and monitoring these apps that run off of this account dead easy.
Gmail is one of the earliest and most common Google apps. There are a couple of Gmail extensions for Chrome, but I prefer Google Mail Checker Plus due to its features. It displays the number of unread messages and will give an audio chime and icon animation when new mail arrives (see image below – extension icons from left to right are Chromey Calculator, Google Reader Notifier, Picasa, Session Buddy, Google Mail Checker Plus, Google Earth, Mini Google Maps, and Google Calendar Checker).
Google Reader Notifier does the exact same thing for your RSS feeds through Google Reader. Both the reader and mail extensions feature drop-down menus from which users can see new messages or access the app directly in a new window. The mail function allows for a new message to be marked as read, deleted, spam, or archived without going to the Gmail page itself. For users of Google Calendar, the Checker extension allows quick access to upcoming scheduled events. The time remaining until your next event is given in the lower right corner of the extension’s icon. Hovering your pointer over the calendar extensions icon will give the time and description of the next event.
Other apps, such as Picasa, Google Earth, and Google Maps, all have similar extensions that allow quick access from Chrome. All feature drop-down menus (e.g. Picasa) or mini-windows (e.g. Google Earth – see image below) when their icon is clicked.
Extensions for Chrome are extremely easy to install. Go to the page for the extension (use the above links) and click the blue “Install” button. Confirm the installation, and then you’re done. Keep in mind that all of the apps that require a Google Account (e.g. Gmail) need you to be signed in for the applicable extension to work.
Have you used any of these extensions? Do you find them useful or just frivolous add-ons? Please let us at GT know.