5 seriously useful Chrome extensions

There's one major element that sets browsers like Google Chrome apart from Safari and Internet Explorer: add-ons. Check out our top five Chrome extensions for the seriously efficient types.

AdBlock Plus removes unwanted pop-ups, ads, banners, and YouTube video advertisements. Screenshot by Sharon Vaknin/CNET.

There's one major element that sets browsers like Google Chrome apart from Safari and Internet Explorer: add-ons. Some are entertaining--Angry Birds, anyone?--while others add convenience or manipulate the look of Web sites you visit.

Below, you'll find the most useful extensions available in the Chrome Web Store. Everyone has their favorites, so I asked you for recommendations on Facebook and Twitter. Although there were many excellent suggestions, here are the top five useful extensions (and one app):

1: AdBlock Plus. Most Web sites pay their bills using advertisements, which often distract you from seeing anything else on the page. Originally created for Firefox, AdBlock Plus blocks banners, pop-ups, ads, YouTube video advertisements, and other bothersome images.

Feeling guilty about blocking ads on your favorite Web sites (because that's the only way they'll stay afloat)? AdBlock Plus lets you to enable advertisements for specific sites.

2: Screen Capture (by Google). Screen Capture lets you grab entire pages or selected areas and annotate them with highlights, drawings, and borders. Then, quickly save your screenshot, or share directly to Facebook or Picasa. Simple, convenient, and seriously useful.

3: Read Later Fast. Although it's technically an app (the extension is coming soon), this add-on is too good to pass up. Anytime you see an article you'd like to read later, right-click the page, select "Read Later," and it'll be added to your queue. When you're ready to catch up on your reading, open the app in your browser, and read the articles in a beautiful interface.

Read Later Fast also syncs your items with other computers, iOS devices, and Android devices.

4: Xmarks. Sure, Chrome syncs bookmarks across multiple computers using Chrome, but what if you use other browsers? Xmarks syncs your bookmarks and open tabs across multiple browsers, which is especially helpful if you've decided to switch browsers, or simply use a variety.

5: StayFocusd. Let's face it, sites like Facebook and other entertaining places like Reddit and Stumbleupon are extremely distracting--especially when you need to get work done.

If you're noticing a destructive pattern, StayFocusd restricts the amount of time you can spend on addicting sites, letting you focus on more important things like work. There are many customizable options there too, including adding exceptions for certain days and times.

Is your favorite, useful extension missing? Leave a link in the comments below.

 

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