By Jay Garmon
Google’s Chrome browser is rapidly gaining in popularity, both for its native functionality and for the growing number of Chrome Extensions that expand the power of the program. While Google is proud to list the most popular, most highly rated or it’s own featured Chrome extensions, a few extensions are conspicuously absent from the “Don’t Be Evil” gang’s list. These missing Chrome extensions have been categorized as “inappropriate,” and as such have been deprecated from Google’s extension listings. Below I list the top 15 missing Chrome Extensions you need to know about:
1. Ask Hitler – Highlight any on-page text, right-click it and this missing Chrome extension will search YouTube for Hitler’s video commentaries on the selected query, as filtered through a surprisingly popular and often re-subtitled clip from the German film Downfall. Examples include Die Fuhrer’s take on the Star Trek reboot and getting banned from Xbox Live. Some videos may not be safe for work.
2. Wikipedia Scrubber – This missing extension reloads any open Wikipedia page but removes any content that is marked as . (Note, some Wikipedia entries are rendered blank by this extension.)
3. Freeloader – This missing Chrome extension scans a page for links to pay software, runs the software name through a comparison database at SourceForge and then substitutes in links for the pay program’s preferred free, open-source alternative. For example, all links to MS Office would be converted to links for OpenOffice. Where no freeware alternative exists, a link to an illegal torrent download of the pay software is provided (unless you disable this option). If you install this extension, you’ll also want…
4. Freeloader Assist – E-mails you links to the help files and conversion plugins necessary to make free open source alternative software work almost as well as the pay software it’s imitating.
5. Fanslate – This missing extension uses Google Translate to automatically convert the text of an entire Web page into one of the following faux-languages: Elmer Fudd, Klingon, leetspeak, Pig Latin, Pirate or Swedish Chef (you choose your default language in the extension’s configuration menu, though “random” is an option). The funniest part? Passages that are already in Klingon or leetspeak are translated back to regular English.
6. Snarkulator – Use this missing extension to convert any numeric figures on a given Web page into their appropriate text-based fan references. For example, all instances of the number 42 will be replaced by the phrase answer to life, the universe and everything and all instances of the number 1 will be replaced by the phrase the loneliest number or the number of horns on a unicorn.
7. IE6-ify – Opens an IE6 simulator tab for Web sites that are exclusively optimized for Internet Explorer 6. This missing extension also un-deprecates the blink HTML tag and by default opens to the Internet Archive version of Geocities.
9. Original Onion – This missing extension places an Onion logo icon to the right of any newslink or headline that was previously predicted in issue of The Onion. The icon links to the “original” Onion story. Warning: This extension will make tracking news about the iPad, Soundgarden’s reunion or Joe the Plumber a bit difficult, and it will convert any ad for the Gillette Fusion razor into links to a slightly unsafe-for-work Onion opinion piece.
10. UnThinkGeek – Opens new Chrome tabs to the Wikipedia article(s) and/or Youtube video(s) explaining the punchline from any given ThinkGeek t-shirt. Example: This Monty Python video explains why (beyond the obvious) you might want a t-shirt that proclaims “my hovercraft is full of eels”.
12. CrackedOut – Links any on-page references to persons, places, events, or objects to the Cracked lists in which those persons, places, events or objects are snidely mocked. Example: Any on-page references to Steve Jobs are linked to Cracked‘s “5 Reasons You Should Be Scared of Apple” and any instances of the word Photoshop will be linked to “17 More Images You Won’t Believe Aren’t Photoshopped”
13. WaveBreaker – This missing Chrome extension probably irks Google more than the others, as it converts a Google Wave into its component e-mail, chat, and wiki elements in separate tabs, so that you can actually make sense of it.
14. PreTweet – This creepily useful missing Chrome extension scans your Twitter feed for recurring links and trending topics, then auto-generates tweets containing the most popular Bit.ly URLs, hashtags, and catchphrases. Just be sure not to tell your friends about this extension, as it may result in many of you publishing identical PreTweets.
15. DeSpoiler – A missing Chrome extension that scans your Twitter, Facebook, Google Reader and Google Buzz feeds for references to “banned” topics you don’t want spoiled by reading your updates, then “quarantines” those updates in a blacklist. You can read the blacklisted items, organized by topic, through the DeSpoiler extension’s dropdown menu. The list of ban-able topics include TV shows like Lost, Fringe, Desperate Housewives, and Grey’s Anatomy, as well as any sporting events involving specific teams or leagues. For example, you could ban all references to the Dallas Cowboys (the extension will block appropriate sources, like NFL.com, plus any headline or tweet with Dallas, Cowboys, or certain roster names like Romo in them). Conversely, you could block all references to the NFL, which is the same as banning references to every NFL team. You can also block references to any major unreleased movie, like Iron Man 2 or Tron Legacy. Be warned that this extension can get a little aggressive, so banning Dallas Cowboys spoilers may also blank out any news about the city of Dallas, and banning certain movies may also ban references to games or books about those movies. Also, the more topics you ban, the slower your browser gets, so DeSpoiling both Lost and Fringe may lock up Chrome, especially on nights when Lost airs. Still, DeSpoiler may be the missing link between Chrome and Tivo, such that one doesn’t ruin your use of the other.
If you find any other “missing” Chrome extensions, please post them in the comments area. Who knows what else Google isn’t telling us.