Greasemonkey scripts to turbocharge your browser

Add cool features to Gmail, streamline the Web, and get more out of the Internet with these must-have Greasemonkey scripts.

The Internet offers a wealth of excellent tools, information, and entertainment--and it asks very little from us in return. So don't get upset when a poorly designed online tool or site gets on your nerves; instead, use Greasemonkey, a free Firefox add-on that harnesses the power of JavaScript to right usability wrongs and improve the functionality of specific Web sites and of the Internet at large.

Greasemonkey can improve just about anything it touches--whether by adding must-have features to Gmail, streamlining your social life in Facebook, or speeding up your blog posts. The best part? Thousands of Greasemonkey scripts are free to download, and installing them is as simple as clicking a single link.

I regularly use Greasemonkey scripts to streamline my online workload, stay organized, and speed through the Web.

Even though Greasemonkey scripts are written primarily for use in Firefox with the Greasemonkey extension, many of them also work with Internet Explorer (via IE7Pro or Trixie), Safari (try GreaseKit or Creammonkey), and Opera (which includes built-in support for the scripts). After installing the appropriate add-on for your browser, you're ready to improve your Web experience.

Multimedia Tools

Pump up your favorite online music, video, and photo sites with these smart scripts.

1. Inline Google MP3 Player

When you stumble upon a link to an music file on a Web page, the dance is generally the same: You download the file and listen to it with your desktop music player, or you click on the link and listen to it in your browser with its default player plug-in. Either way it disrupts the flow of your browsing experience.

But the Inline Google MP3 Player script gets you back in the flow, automatically detecting linked MP3s and embedding Google's Flash player on the page so you can play the file inline and hassle-free.

2. Videoembed

Since video sites like YouTube don't offer much useful content beyond the actual video (that's right, I'm disparaging YouTube comments en masse), there's no point in going to YouTube to watch a video when you could embed it directly in the page you're looking at.

That's the idea behind Videoembed, a script that automatically embeds videos from sites like YouTube, Google Video, and Metacafe whenever a site links to a video without embedding it. Now instead of clicking through to YouTube, you can watch the video directly on the site that linked to it.

3. Greased Lightbox

You know the drill: You're doing a Google Image search, but rather than give you direct access to the pictures you want to see, Google makes you click through a couple of links to get to the full-size image.

The Greased Lightbox script turns your Google Image search results--along with gallery pages on sites like Flickr, Facebook, and MySpace--into inline, AJAX-driven galleries that you can navigate from your keyboard. Not only is it faster, but it has a more-attractive interface than do most other photo galleries on the Web.

4. Flickr Camera Images

If you spend much time surfing the popular and addictive photo-sharing site Flickr, you're bound to catch the shutter bug. You may also find yourself wondering, "What camera took that photo?" To read about the camera used, click the 'More properties' link; and if you install the Flickr Camera Images Greasemonkey script, you'll also see a photo of the camera in question. If you decide that a particular camera's output is so great that you simply have to have it, click the image to jump directly to the camera's listing on Amazon.

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Adam Pash

PC World

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