One of the reasons that Firefox has so many loyal users, is because of the countless add-ons that are available to extend the browser’s functionality. These free programs can increase productivity, boost performance, and amaze you with eye-popping graphics. Here are ten of my favorites.
1. AdBlock Plus – With over 800,000 downloads a week, this is undoubtedly the most popular add-on for Firefox users. Its sole purpose is to banish ads from any website that you visit. It is easy to use, customizable, and non-intrusive. Use Adblock Plus if you are tired of ads getting in the way of your browsing experience.
2. Video DownloadHelper – This is another hugely popular download for Firefox users. With the Video DownloadHelper, you can quickly and easily download web videos, and images, from a variety of popular sites like YouTube, DailyMotion, Google Videos and more. With this add-on you can watch web videos offline in your own time. Find out more about the Video DownloadHelper in this Worldstart review.
3. FoxTab – Bring some of the slick Windows 7 aero effects to your browser with FoxTab. Scroll through your tabs in a variety of 3D interfaces, save your favorite sites as a speed dial page like Chrome and Safari, and even access recently closed tabs. Firefox has never looked so good!
4. Download Statusbar – Are you tired of Firefox’s annoying pop-up download window? Do you wish that there was a neater, more efficient solution? Then the Download Statusbar is probably just what you have been looking for. It discretely adds your downloading files to the status bar at the bottom of your browser. You can launch downloaded files by clicking on them, pause and cancel downloads, and preview downloaded images by hovering over them. It’s truly a great solution to an age old problem.
5. Omnibar – This add-on combines your address bar and search bar into one multi-functional browser bar. Chrome has one, and so does the new Internet Explorer 9, but if you want one for Firefox, you need to install Omnibar. Simply type what you are searching for into the modified address bar and press return, or enter a web address to visit a site as normal. The Omnibar is a great timesaver and still lets you use all your favorite search engines.
6. Last Pass Password Manager – Lots of people now rely heavily on password managers to help them stay safe and secure online. Last Pass make one of the best. This award-winning add-on ensures that you will never have to remember another password again. It is also useful for automatically filling out web forms because you can set it to remember your name, address, email and other often requested details. Best of all, it is multi-platform so it works on Windows, Mac, Linux and all major browsers.
7. Screengrab – This useful add-on lets you take screenshots of anything in your browser. You can grab everything on the screen, an active window, or just a selection. It is a lot like the Windows Snipping tool, and can be very useful for recording error messages, or creating tutorials. Images can be saved as jpegs or png files.
8. Paste and Go 3 – Sometimes the best tools are the simplest one. Paste and Go 3 does not offer users a wealth of options, but it does provide a world of convenience. This add-on is great for copying and pasting URLs, or for copying search terms into Google. Simply highlight what you want to copy then right-click, select Paste and Go, and Firefox will bypass the need for you to hit enter. Sounds trivial? Try it. You’ll love it.
9. Cooliris – Cooliris is to images as FoxTab is to tabs. It offers a visually stunning way to browse Google Images, Flickr, and lots more, with just the click of a button. It can also be used to search video sites and look for TV shows online. You scroll left and right with the arrows at the bottom of the screen, zoom in with the scroll wheel on your mouse, and view a thumbnail by clicking on it. Essentially it turns your browser into a slick, 3D media center, but it is also great for showing off to friends and family!
10. Xmarks Sync – With Xmarks you can sync and backup your bookmarks automatically. Do you use more than one computer? Use Xmarks to make sure your bookmarks are stored and up to date on both. Just bought a new computer? Log in to your Xmarks account and your saved bookmarks will be automatically downloaded for you. Xmarks also works on Explorer, Safari and Chrome. Firefox 4 will have built-in bookmark syncing, but until then Xmarks is the best there is.
So, the next time you want to jazz up your browser, try one of these fantastic Firefox add-ons. They’re a great way to bring a new dimension to all that you do online.