Slideshow

A dozen of the best browser add-ons

We pick out some useful add-ons for the top four Web browsers

  • Internet Explorer is the most-used Web browser, and eBay is the most-used online shopping service — why not combine the two? If you're an eBay addict, the [[xref:http://www.ieaddons.com/au/details/shopping/eBay_Australia_Accelerator/|eBay Australia Accelerator|Internet Explorer: eBay Australia Accelerator]] makes it easy to search for extra useless trinkets to buy — complete with suggestions and Buy Now prices.

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  • Available for both Firefox and Internet Explorer, [[xref:http://www.foxytunes.com/|FoxyTunes|Multiple Platforms: FoxyTunes]] allows you to control (almost) any media player from within your browser — you can adjust volume and change tracks within Windows Media Player, iTunes, Winamp and others. Various online services like YouTube and Last.fm are also supported.

  • The Opera Web browser may not have the same market share as Firefox or IE, but it's just as powerful and supports its own extensions called Widgets. The [[xref:http://widgets.opera.com/widget/7206/|Twitter Opera widget|Opera: Twitter Opera widget]] allows you to update your status and view friends' tweets from within your browser, without the hassle of opening an extra tab and navigating to the Twitter Web interface.

  • Oddly enough, one feature the Google-centric Chrome doesn't feature is the integrated ability to refer mailto: links to Gmail. If you want to be able to click mail links and have Gmail pop up a window for sending a quick email, download the [[xref:http://www.mychromeaddons.com/chrome-addon-chrome-mailer/|Chrome Mailer plug-in.|Google Chrome: Chrome Mailer add-on]]

  • A list of browser add-ons wouldn't be complete without mentioning [[xref:http://widgets.opera.com/widget/4282/|Google Toolbar|Opera: Google Toolbar widget]] at least once. If you're a big user of Google's online services like Gmail, Google Docs and Google Calendar, an easy-to-access Google toolbar might save you a bit of hassle.

  • Whether you use Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera or Google Chrome for browsing the Web, there are add-ons available that will enhance your browsing. Some give you easy access to Web services like eBay and Twitter, while others allow YouTube video downloads and easy spell-checking with an Australian English dictionary.

    We think an essential part of any Aussie's Mozilla Firefox install should be this [[xref: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/3099|Australian Dictionary add-on.|Mozilla Firefox: Australian Dictionary add-on]] It'll ensure that whenever you're writing an e-mail, posting a comment or tweeting your daily grind, you're maintaining the unique nuances of Australian English.
  • If you don't have an Internet security solution that stops you from visiting malicious sites that could infect your computer with spyware, you should consider [[xref:https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/3456|Web of Trust's safe browsing tool.|Mozilla Firefox: Web of Trust add-on]] Web of Trust rates Web sites with a simple traffic light system, alerting you when you're about to enter a site that may attempt to compromise your computer. It doesn't offer the functionality of an antivirus program, but it does have the advantage of being completely free.

  • Google's Chrome Web browser is a bit quicker to run than Mozilla Firefox in our experience, but there are a few areas it lags behind its competition. One add-on we really liked using in Chrome was the [[xref:http://www.chromeplugins.org/extensions/session-saver-session-manager-extension/|Session Saver|Google Chrome: Session Saver plugin]], which allows you to save your current browser tabs for later access — and you can save as many different sessions as you like and recall them any time.

  • This isn't strictly an add-on, but it's a feature we like about Google Chrome that can be really useful. The [[xref:http://www.chromeplugins.org/plugins/google-chrome-dual-view/|Dual View faux-plugin|Google Chrome: Dual View plugin]] allows you to view two Web pages simultaneously on a single tab, which is a boon if you're comparing information, or using a Web page as a reference for writing your essay in Google Docs.

  • If your browser lags when playing YouTube videos, or you want to save one for later viewing, there are many options available. One of the best is [[xref:https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/3006|Video DownloadHelper|Mozilla Firefox: Video DownloadHelper add-on]], which integrates with your browser and only requires a few clicks to save YouTube, MySpace, Google Video and other files to your PC.

  • [[xref:https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/1865|Adlock Plus|Mozilla Firefox: Adblock Plus add-on]] is a Mozilla Firefox add-on that detects and disables picture and flash advertisements from appearing in your browser. Online advertising help Web sites to make money and continue operating, but we find Adblock Plus useful when we're on a slow computer like a netbook that can struggle on ad-heavy Web sites. What's great about Adblock Plus is that you can exempt sites from ad-blocking (such as GoodGearGuide and PC World, hint, hint).

  • Interestingly enough, [[xref:http://widgets.opera.com/widget/5040/|SimAquarium|Opera: SimAquarium widget]] is one of the most popular Opera Web browser widgets, with almost 3 billion downloads since its release in 2006. It's a nice way to spend a few minutes in between tedious work tasks, just tending your fish and kitting out your aquarium with new rocks and plants.

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