Google+ enhanced: Four must-have Chrome extensions

Google+ enhanced: Five must-have Chrome extensions

It’s been two weeks since the launch of Google+. So far, the new social network is a monstrous hit. Everybody’s talking about it. And even though the service is still in invite-only test mode, it’s estimated that millions of people have already joined. We’ve explored some of the glitches and flaws to G+ that Google needs to fix before opening its doors to the public. But with more people joining every day, we thought we’d offer some suggestions for how to enhance your Google+ experience right now, with the help of these extensions for Google Chrome, which is (unsurprisingly) the best browser to use with Plus.


Plus users call it the “crack bar” — the black Google+ notification bar that sits atop all Google-owned websites, beckoning you with its fiery orange-red glow anytime someone does anything that involves you on Google+. But for true G+ addicts, Google websites alone just aren’t enough; we want to be connected to Plus everywhere we go. That’s where +Everything comes in.

This simple extension places the crack bar at the top of all websites, so no matter where your online escapades take you, getting in on some hot Google+ action is never more than a mouse click away. Fortunately, you can close it on any website, if it gets in the way, or the temptation to use Plus simply grows uncomfortably strong.


Another, less obtrusive, option is Surplus, which places a G+ notification icon on your Chrome toolbar, rather than display the entire notification bar across every screen. This is probably a better option, and one that is gaining popularity. But since we were never able to actually get this one to work properly, it doesn’t get top billing.

Replies and more for Google+Replies and more for Google+

If you’re on Google+, you know that comments in the Stream (similar to Facebook’s Wall) move quite quickly, especially on posts by users with a heavy following. This is both good and bad: good because the discourse feels like an actual conversation, with comments appearing in real-time; bad because responding to the author of a post can be a somewhat cumbersome endeavor if other comments keep popping up. To solve this, Replies and more for Google+ instantly adds a “Reply to author” button at the bottom of every Stream post, making it easy to respond directly to the person who posted.

Replies and more for Google+

Replies also allows you to hit Ctrl+Enter or Shift+Enter to post a comment. It adds a share button for quickly publishing Plus posts to Facebook, Twitter or sending one via email. And it makes the notification bar remain constantly at the top of the screen, which saves users from constantly scrolling up to check notifications. Basically, this extension ads the functionality you wish Google+ had in the first place.

+PhotoZoom +PhotoZoom

We absolutely love how Google+ handles photos. Nearly everthing about the system is better than Facebook’s. But it’s still annoying that you have to launch the photo viewer every time you want to check out a picture one of the people you follow has posted to their Stream. With +PhotoZoom, users must simply scroll over any photo, from Stream posts to profile pictures, and a larger version of the pic will appear on the screen. Move your mouse and it disappears. To turn it off, just click the icon that appears on the far-right corner of the notification bar. It’s easy, simple, and one of our favorite extensions currently available.


Helper for Google+Helper for Google+

This extension does a few simple things. First, it adds “Tweet” and “Translate” buttons to the bottom of every Stream post. If you’ve also installed the Replies and more extension, then the Tweet part will be a bit redundant, but it does make it easier to send Plus posts as Tweets. Translate does exactly that: translates posts into your language of choice. Lastly, Helper for Google+ displays new Stream posts in a pop-up window at the bottom of the browser screen to help you make sure you never miss a beat.

Helper for Google+

Update: We have removed the Google+Facebook extension from this list due to possible security issues with the extension. The developer of the extension has been contacted, so that we can conclusively confirm or deny the validity of the claims that the extension has malicious properties. If you downloaded Google+Facebook, you should uninstall it, at least until the matter is cleared up. Thanks to our reader, odei, for bringing this to our attention.

Product Review

Google’s Pixel 3 is a hair away from pocket-sized perfection

Google’s Pixel 3 smartphone is the best Android phone you can buy. It doesn’t have the best looks or the best hardware, but you’ll be hard pressed to find better software and unique A.I. functionalities.
Product Review

Mediocre battery and a big notch slight Google's otherwise perfect Pixel phone

Google’s Pixel 3 XL has two big flaws: The gigantic notch on the front, and mediocre battery life. That being said, this is the best Android experience you can find in a smartphone today.

An app can solve all your problems with the Pixel 3 XL’s notch

The Google Pixel 3 XL has a lot of A.I. brainpower, but there's a lot of blow back over the design -- specifically, the notch. But there are a few ways to get that great Google experience without having to deal with it.
Smart Home

Google Home Hub vs. Amazon Echo Show

The Google Home Hub vs. Amazon Echo Show: which is better? Both are smart displays that control your smart home, but that's where the similarities end. We compare design, features, price and more to find out which is right for you.

Microsoft co-founder, Seahawks owner Paul Allen dies at 65

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen died on October 15 of complications from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The cancer survivor was best known for his entrepreneurial spirit and his frequent contributions to charities.
Product Review

Don't bother with any other 2-in-1. The Surface Pro 6 is still the best

The Surface Pro been updated to its sixth generation, now coming dressed in black and packing a quad-core processor. Outside of that, you’ll have to dig a little deeper to see where Microsoft has made some truly noteworthy improvements.

Leaked benchmarks suggest rumored AMD GPU could be king of midrange graphics

AMD's next GPU may not be Navi-based after all. Rumors continue to build about an RX 590 which has now shown up on 3DMark's benchmark database, delivering results that easily outstrip stock clocked GTX 1060s.

How does Microsoft’s newest Surface stack up against the Apple iPad Pro?

In an era where everyone is taking a bite at Apple’s products, we’ve stacked up the 12.9-inch iPad Pro against the latest Surface Pro 6. Check out this comparison guide to see which one gives you more bang for your buck.
Emerging Tech

Curious how A.I. 'brains' work? Here's a super-simple breakdown of deep learning

What is deep learning? A branch of machine learning, this field deals with the creation of neural networks that are modeled after the brain and adept at dealing with large amounts of human-oriented data, like writing and voice commands.

Qualcomm’s ‘Snapdragon 1000’ could bring octa-cores to Windows laptops

The rumored Qualcomm Snapdragon 1000 CPU may bring the octa-core design of mobiles and tablets to Windows laptops, offering four powerful cores for high performance, and four low-power cores for efficiency.

Is the new Surface Pro 6 worth the extra money or is the Surface Go good enough?

Each of Microsoft’s Surface devices are great, but with the recent addition of the Surface Pro 6, you might be wondering how it stacks up against the Surface Go. In this comparison piece, we’ve put the two devices up against each other…

Is the Surface Pro 6 a sidestep, or does it blow away its predecessor?

How good is the new Surface Pro, and is it worth an upgrade? The best way to find out is to pit the Surface Pro 6 vs. Surface Pro 5 in a head to head that tests them both on performance, design, and portability.

These gloves will make virtual reality feel even more immersive

Scientists from EPFL and ETH Zurich have come up with a thin and light VR glove which makes it so that a touch of an object in the virtual world equates to the physical touch you would expect in real life.

Apple Mac users should take a bite out of these awesome games

Contrary to popular belief, there exists a bevy of popular A-list games compatible for Mac computers. Take a look at our picks for the best Mac games available for Apple fans.