This week's Daily Record column is entitled "
Browser add-ons to simplify, secure your online life." My past Daily Record articles can be accessed here.
Browser add-ons to simplify, secure your online life
Since we all spend so much time these days using the Internet, both during work hours and during our free time, I’m going to focus on browser add-ons today. With the right browser extensions, your Web surfing can be far less aggravating—and safer.
It’s been a while since I shared my latest technology tips and tricks to help streamline and secure your online experience, so I figured now was as good as time as ever. So, without further ado, here are a few of my favorites, all of which are available for Google Chrome (my browser of choice), although most are available for other browsers as well.
First, there’s Adblock. If you don’t have that installed, do it — now. This add-on effectively blocks nearly all ads and increases your browsing speed — and enjoyment.
Next up, Web of Trust. This extension warns you when you attempt to visit websites that have been reported as unsafe. The app explains what the safety issues are and then you are given the choice to either abandon ship or visit the site
Another great add-on is LastPass, a password manager. LastPass stores your passwords via encrypted files and automatically populates sites with the correct passwords when you visit them. It also pre-populates Web forms for you and generates and stores secure passwords for you.
Next, Any.do, my to-do app of choice and one of the Web extensions that I use often. It allows me to add to-dos to my current list and I can also create to-dos directly from my Gmail inbox and then link the newly created to-do with the email it relates to. Any.do is also available as a mobile app so you can add tasks to your to-do list regardless of how you’re accessing the Internet.
Diigo is my bookmarking tool of choice. Diigo stores your bookmarks in the cloud so you can access them from any device. It allows you to save links to websites of interest and tag them with descriptive keywords so that they can be easily located at a later point in time. Another nice feature is that you can highlight Web pages and add sticky notes to them — in other words, mark them up — and save them in that format to your Diigo bookmarks.
If you often find yourself frustrated when trying to print out a clean copy of a website, then the Print Friendly & PDF extension is for you! It converts websites into printer-friendly PDFs thus eliminating that problem.
Next up, if you often shop online, then PriceBlink is a great add-on to consider. Whenever you’re on a shopping site, it automatically provides links to available coupons along with information about lower prices for the item that are offered elsewhere.
Another extension I use frequently is SimilarWeb. This browser add-on provides you with links to other websites similar to the one you’re visiting, along with page ranking and other traffic information about the page you’re currently viewing. I often find the feature that provides links to similar sites useful if I’m interested in locating similar content or sites that offer similar services.
And, last but not least, there’s Streak for Gmail. Although billed as a customer relationship management tool, what I use it for is its ability to track emails and advise me when the recipient has viewed my email. Sure it’s a little Big Brother of me to want to know this, but you’ve got to admit — it’s useful information to have.
So those are the browser extensions I find myself using the most frequently. My hope is that you’ll find a few of them to be interesting enough to download and that the add-ons will improve and simplify your online experience. Happy surfing!
Nicole Black is a Rochester, New York attorney and Director of Business Development and Community Relations at MyCase, an intuitive cloud-based law practice management platform for the modern law firm. She is also a GigaOM Pro Analyst and is the author of the ABA book Cloud Computing for Lawyers, co-authors the ABA book Social Media for Lawyers: the Next Frontier, and co-authors Criminal Law in New York, a West-Thomson treatise. She is the founder of lawtechTalk.com and speaks regularly at conferences regarding the intersection of law and technology. She publishes four legal blogs and can be reached at email@example.com.