By Jay Garmon
The holiday shopping season is fast upon us and many of us will be stuffing stockings with items purchased online. Fortunately, Google Chrome has a plethora of extensions that make online shopping simpler. We list the eight best in this roundup.
Before we get into shopping-specific Chrome extensions, you should visit (or revisit) our list of best overall Chrome extensions and top Chrome security extensions. The former will help streamline your online searches, the latter will make sure your privacy — and finances — are safe before money changes hands
Amazon Wishlist – There’s no easier way to compile your Christmas list than with the Amazon Wishlist Chrome extension. Find an item online you want Santa to send your way? Just click the Amazon icon beside the address bar and it’s added to your Amazon Wishlist, even if Amazon doesn’t sell the item. You can select which onscreen image is attached to the Wishlist entry, as well as request a specific quantity, list a price and add any additional notes (size, color, version, etc.) to the item. It’s like having a wedding registry for the rest of your life and you can e-mail it to everyone you know. If you only have one holiday shopping Chrome extension, the Amazon Wishlist extension is the one to get — both for you and everyone you shop for.
Awesome Screenshot – Need to snag a product photo or listing for future reference? The Awesome Screenshot Chrome Extension can grab all or part of an open web page in a single click, then lets you crop and annotate the screencap with simple, intuitive controls. It’s the Web 2.0 version of tearing a page out of a magazine or catalog, only with easier e-mail attachment options.
Click & Clean – If you do your shopping on a shared household or work computer and don’t want browser-history busybodies knowing when and where you’ve surfed, the Click & Clean Chrome extension is for you. It clears away every trace of your recent online activities as you surf — no browsing history, download records, temporary files or cookies survive its wrath. It’s the best way to ensure your browser doesn’t spoil a holiday surprise.
Invisible Hand – Named after Adam Smith’s metaphor for the efficiency of free markets, the Invisible Hand Chrome Extension is a bargain hunter’s best friend. Invisible Hand does a background search on most any shopping item you view online, then displays an alert bar if the service has found a better price somewhere else. No matter what shopping site you’re on, if Invisible Hand can find you a better deal, it’ll let you know. Best of all, Invisible Hand is a set it and forget it extension — it only generates alerts if and when it can save you money.
PanicButton – Spouse, child, parent or boss constantly walking in on your secret shopping? Hide your online activities with the Panic Button Chrome extension. Simply click the Panic Button icon and all your open tabs are instantly closed and replaced by single (presumably innocous) tab of your choosing. The perfect antidote to over-the-shoulder screen-readers.
Send from Gmail – Whatever page you’re on, instantly e-mail the link via Gmail. Makes sharing coupons, exchanging decorating ideas and sending around bargain listings quick and easy.
Session Manager – An unofficial companion Chrome extension for Panic Button, Session Manager lets you save a browsing session as-is — even the items you’ve configured on interactive web forms and text fields. This is especially helpful when buying presents with multiple options — like that new laptop that requires choosing a specific processor, RAM allotment, hard drive, graphics card, and so on. Now you can crash a Google session halfway through the long buying process and start up again exactly where you left off (provided you save your session regularly).
TinEye Reverse Image Search – Ever seen an online photo of the absolute perfect gift, but there was no caption or title to tell you what it is or where to find it? The TinyEye Reverse Image search is here to help. Simply click the TinyEye button, then select which onscreen image you want to backtrack, and this Chrome extension will not only identify the original image but list every site on the web that uses some version of the graphic. For purchasable goods and services, the origin is almost always a product site that will sell what you’re searching for. When you need to backtrack an image to its source, TinyEye is the place start.
Did we miss any Google Chrome extensions that have made your online shopping safer or simply? Sound off in the comments area.