I’ve collected some really great browser extensions that make my online surfin’ and communicatin’ so much nicer, and since I haven’t done one of these kinds of posts in a while, I thought it would be fun to share what I’m using. These will strip away online ads, clean up the clutter, and keep you relatively untracked as you hop from site to site. Note: I use Chrome and Firefox, not IE or Safari. Some of these may be available for Safari but you’ll have to look those up yourself… Also, if any of these links don’t work sometime in the future, just do an extension search within the browser and you’ll probably find it. Links change all the time. 🙂
AdBlock (Chrome / Firefox)
Not only does AdBlock strip away 95% of the advertisements that clutter most sites these days, but it’s highly configurable in case you want to pinpoint specific items. You can even add sites to a whitelist so they’re not altered, which is great for those few times when AdBlock interferes with scripts or other things that the site needs to use. Lately I’ve been using it to clean up Facebook by removing entire chunks of crap, leaving my newsfeed as the focus (you know, the way it should be). Here are my custom filters and what they do, you can add these to your own via the extension options (or experiment with the right-click menu on any website).
Custom filters I use — add these minus the stuff in italics:
- http://www.facebook.com##DIV%5Bid=”rightCol”%5D Kills the entire right-hand column of crap
- http://www.facebook.com##DIV%5Bid=”pagelet_friends_online”%5D Kills the Friends Online box on the left
- http://www.facebook.com##DIV%5Bid=”pagelet_bookmark_nav”%5D Kills the Bookmarks box on the left
And just so you can see how these filters make FB look, here’s a before and after shot of my own newsfeed.
clea.nr (Chrome / Firefox / Safari)
This is an amazing add-on which does wonders for cleaning up YouTube and Amazon clutter. Amazon is especially horrific. You can disable it on either site at any time by clicking the button at the top of the screen (which only shows when you’re on one of the sites). Check out the website to see it in action.
Disconnect Me (Chrome / Firefox)
Prevents multiple social network sites and search engines from tracking where you surf and what you click on. Tells you how many it blocks for each site, very nifty! There’s also a Chrome-only extension which works specifically for Facebook called Facebook Disconnect, but I recommend blocking more than just Facebook.