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Surf Smarter: 10 Extensions to Upgrade Your Web Browser

Stacked3Here is my recent Daily Record column. My past Daily Record articles can be accessed here.


Surf Smarter: 10 Extensions to Upgrade Your Web Browser

Like it or not, you probably spend several hours each day online. Nowadays, the internet serves as our lifeline, offering immediate access to whatever we need, whenever we need it. Whether on your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop, the online world offers a window into the world of limitless information.

We've come to rely on—and often take for granted—the tool that grants us instant access to cyberspace: the web browser. While not necessarily an exciting piece of technology, it’s nevertheless a reliable workhorse that we use daily. Browsers are highly functional on their own, but adding browser extensions can make your online experience both more productive and secure.

Browser extensions are typically available regardless of the tool you’re using, and many are accessible across multiple platforms. To add them to your browser you need to locate the extension “store,” usually located within your browser’s settings. The store includes categorized add-ons, and you can also search for specific ones. 

I take advantage of a host of different extensions that enhance and improve my online experience and regularly add new ones as I discover them. Below you’ll find my top ten most-used extensions, along with an explanation of how each one adds to my daily workflow.

AdBlock: This browser extension serves as a digital shield, filtering out intrusive advertisements from web pages and enhancing your experience by reducing page load times and conserving bandwidth.

ChatGPT for Google: This add-on integrates GPT-based conversational AI into Google search, providing you with enhanced search capabilities, contextual assistance, and even real-time language translation, making Google's ecosystem more interactive and intuitive.

Consent-o-Matic: This extension automates the often cumbersome process of managing GDPR cookie consent forms across various websites, and streamlines your navigation by automatically selecting or declining cookies based on your preferences.

DuckDuckGo: More than just a search engine, this extension offers a comprehensive privacy solution by blocking third-party trackers, encrypting connections, and providing a private search functionality that doesn't store your data.

Grammarly: Grammarly is a comprehensive writing assistant that scrutinizes your text for grammatical errors, offers stylistic improvements, and even employs algorithms to detect the tone and suggest revisions to enhance the readability of your writing.

PayPal Honey: This shopping assistant extension goes beyond finding and applying coupon codes at checkout; it's integrated with PayPal to offer a seamless transaction experience, and even provides price tracking and alerts.

PrintFriendly: This extension transforms cluttered web pages into clean, print-ready versions by stripping away ads, navigation bars, and other non-essential elements, making it easier to print the page or save it as a PDF.

Search the current site: This browser extension streamlines your web navigation by enabling focused, site-specific search queries directly from your browser's toolbar, eliminating the need to navigate through a website's own (often cumbersome) search function or manually search a page by entering site:URL into a search engine.

Trim: This extension enriches your streaming experience by embedding IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, and Metacritic ratings directly into Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and other streaming services, enabling you to make informed choices about what to watch next.

WOT (Web of Trust): This extension serves as a real-time sentinel by evaluating the reputation of websites you visit and warning you about potential security risks, scams, or phishing attempts, based on community reviews and machine learning algorithms.

Install any or all of these extensions and reap the rewards of a more streamlined, ad-free, and data-rich browsing experience. Gone are the days of unsafe websites, paying full price, or blindly choosing movies. Instead, you’ll be armed with grammatically correct documents, instantaneous ChatGPT search results, and the best online deals in town. What more could a sophisticated internet traveler ask for?

Nicole Black is a Rochester, New York attorney, author, journalist, and the Head of SME and External Education at MyCase legal practice management software, an AffiniPay company. She is the nationally-recognized author of "Cloud Computing for Lawyers" (2012) and co-authors "Social Media for Lawyers: The Next Frontier" (2010), both published by the American Bar Association. She also co-authors "Criminal Law in New York," a Thomson Reuters treatise. She writes regular columns for Above the Law, ABA Journal, and The Daily Record, has authored hundreds of articles for other publications, and regularly speaks at conferences regarding the intersection of law and emerging technologies. She is an ABA Legal Rebel, and is listed on the Fastcase 50 and ABA LTRC Women in Legal Tech. She can be contacted at [email protected].