The Chrome browser is already a handy doorway to Google's cloud-based services, from Google Drive and Photos to the Docs editors. But through Chrome extensions you can customize the popular web browser by adding tools and notifications to make your browsing life easier, more productive, and safer.

Chrome browser extensions are small apps that let users extend what Google's browser (Windows and Mac) can do. An extension often adds an icon to Chrome's toolbar, in the area to the right of the address bar. Extensions can show you everything from the number of unread Gmail messages to which trackers a webpage is using and help with tracking protection and managing third-party cookies. Extensions can monitor prices on retail websites, watch your grammar, send web content to your Kindle, help capture screenshots, and manage passwords.

You can search for and install extensions through Google's Chrome Web Store. The store organizes extensions into 12 categories, including photos and productivity. Find the extension you want, and then click the "Add to Chrome" button to add the extension to your browser. The web store also offers browser themes and apps, including games.

Once you've added an extension for Chrome, you'll see its icon displayed to the right of your address bar. Rearrange extension icons by clicking and holding one and then dragging it to a new location. You can also hide an extension by right-clicking its extension icon and selecting "Hide in Chrome Menu." View hidden extensions by clicking the three vertical dots at the far end of the row of extensions, and remove an extension by selecting that option when you right-click an icon. And finally, when you click an icon, you can choose Manage Extensions to see a complete list of the extensions you've installed. You can also see all your extensions by clicking the three vertical dots over to the right of the icons and selecting "More Tools and Extensions."

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1. Grammarly

Grammarly keeps an eye on your writing, making grammatical and spelling suggestions as you type. It's like having your freshman composition teacher with you, always.

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(Credit: Grammarly)

2. The Great Suspender

If your Chrome tabs breed like rabbits in captivity, The Great Suspender can suspend them, reducing the stress on memory caused by open tabs. You can suspend tabs after a set period of time or manually take them offline. Reactive a tab by clicking the page.

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(Credit: The Great Suspender)

3. OneTab

OneTab takes a different approach to conserving tab-filled memory by letting you place unwanted tabs in a pop-down list. Once the tabs are there, you can reorder them or click one to view the website as a tab again.

onetab.png
(Credit: OneTab)

4. LastPass

With the free version of LastPass, you can generate, save, and fill in passwords in Chrome. A $12 annual subscription lets you share passwords with family and friends and unlock applications.

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(Credit: LastPass)

5. 1Password

The 1Password Chrome browser extension handles your passwords and log-in information, giving you access to secured accounts and services with one master password.

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(Credit: 1Password)

6. Momentum

Open a new tab, and Momentum keeps you focused on the task at hand with an inspirational quote, your to-do list, and the current time.

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(Credit: Momentum)

7. Save to Pocket

If you want to save a webpage to read later, click the Pocket icon to save the page to Pocket for later viewing on any of your devices.

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(Credit: Pocket)

8. Speed Dial 2

Speed Dial 2 makes new tabs more useful by letting you add items to an empty tab, including favorite pages and apps, bookmarks, browsing statistics, and more.

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(Credit: Speed Dial 2)

9. Camelizer

The Camelizer extension for Chrome hooks into the cryptically named camelcamelcamel.com website to let you track prices, see price-history charts, and receive price-drop alerts for products sold on Amazon.

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(Credit: Camelizer)

10. Ebates

Save a bit of cash with Ebates, which offers coupons and cashback from over 2,000 online retailers.

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(Credit: Ebates)

11. Wikibuy

If you are wondering whether you are getting the best deals on Amazon, check out Wikibuy, which looks for lower prices at other retailers as you shop on Amazon and then displays deals it finds.

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(Credit: Wikibuy)

12. Google Mail Checker

Google Mail Checker displays how many unread Gmail messages you have. Click the icon to go to Gmail. Simple.

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(Credit: Google)

13. Earth View from Google Earth

This extension does one thing pleasingly well: Each time you open a new tab, the extension displays an interesting Satellite image from Google Earth. In the bottom-right corner, you can check out where in the world the photo is from.

earthview.png
(Credit: Google)

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Clifford is an Associate Managing Editor for CNET's Download.com. He spent a handful of years at Peachpit Press, editing books on everything from the first iPhone to Python. He also worked at a handful of now-dead computer magazines, including MacWEEK and MacUser. Unrelated, he sits next to fellow editor Josh Rotter and roots for the A's.