Google’s extension gallery for its Chrome browser opened for business this morning. We've taken a look around the offerings—most of them, anyways—and pulled out a few picks that deserve a spot in your formerly pristine browser.
Actually, rating these extensions by “worth the slowdown,” as is often the case with Firefox, doesn’t seem applicable here. Chrome renders pages just as snappily on a Linux install with eight extensions loaded, and the memory use seems not all that different. Your mileage may certainly vary.
We pulled out extensions from the gallery for highlighting that do something a bit different from widely-available bookmarklets, or at least fill a crucial need for those who use the web productively. You can disagree with our picks or tell us how blind we must be to miss a great one—do so in the comments, and if we missed a really great one, we'll update the post.
You need to be running either the Windows dev version of Chrome, the just-released Linux beta, or a daily build that supports extensions. Mac users are, unfortunately, left out of the add-on party for the moment.
Google Mail Checker: Just what it sounds like. It sits in your address bar, keeps track of your unread messages, and opens Gmail when you click it. Take note that the author states it “does not yet work well” with Google Apps mail.
RSS Subscription Extension: Puts an RSS icon in the address bar when standard feeds are detected, and delivers the feed to a reader selection page when clicked. You can add custom readers beyond the standard five using URL syntax.
Xmarks for Chrome Beta: Just like the early Chrome alpha, this extension ties Chrome into your Xmarks bookmark account, synchronizing you between Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, and across multiple profiles, if needed.
iMacros for Chrome: We haven’t had nearly enough time to discover what this cool tool is capable of, but it seems like a nice solution for anyone missing their crucial Greasemonkey scripts and other Firefox-only helpers.
Aviary Screen Capture and Picnik Extension for Chrome: We’ve already spilled some digital ink on the neat Aviary extension, but Picnik does the same type of instant web page capture—and also lets you pick a particular image from a quick list that pops down.
Flash Block and FlashBlock: Both do the basic task of turning off Flash on all web pages, until you turn it back on for all pages from that domain. FlashBlock uses a keyboard shortcut, while Flash Black has a settings dialog with a list you can edit.
AdThwart and AdSweep: As you might guess, they both block ads, though they use different blacklists to do so. We’ve previously covered AdSweep in its early days, and AdThwart looks like a fledgling sibling.
Brizzly: The helpful, time-saving, at-a-glance Twitter/Facebook client for the web integrates smoothly into Chrome. Click the button, and you get a quick read on what’s happening in your social streams, with images automatically shown and videos embedded. You can, of course, also tweet or update Facebook from here.
Google Voice Notifier, Google Wave Notifier, and Google Alerter: The first two do just what you’d think they do, but make lots of sense for services you want right away and might only occasionally check, respectively. The last is a kind of uber-notifier that checks Gmail, Wave, and Reader for new items. If you’re a heavy Reader user, you’ll obviously want to turn those pings off in the settings.
ChromeMilk: There are many, many tools that bring to-do manager Remember the Milk into your browser, but this one's notable for popping up your task list right from the address bar—and offering Remember the Milk's very slick iPhone interface as an option for pro membership owners.
What have you found that’s worth installing, and bragging about, in the Chrome Extensions Gallery? Share the links and love in the comments.