As a modern-day business owner, you probably use the internet one way or another, either for self or for business purposes.
One of the things you probably do with it is search. In fact, you may be one of the many people who jointly conduct over 5.6 billion Google searches every single day.
If yes, then you’ve probably used Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Safari, Opera, UC Browser, Google Chrome, etc as your web browser.
The latter is one of the most popular web browsers out there, controlling 63.67% of the global internet browser market share as of Q3 2019. Google Chrome is fast, safe and secure.
It’s webstore houses thousands of extensions including useful extensions that can help entrepreneurs, businesses, organizations, individuals, and developers customize their browsing experience and get the most out of the Google Chrome web browser.
What are Extensions?
Extensions are small software programs that allow users to customize their browsing experience by modifying browser configuration or functionality. this can be achieved by simply adding/installing the extensions from the Chrome store.
Installed extensions are displayed near the top right-hand corner of your Chrome browser, right next to the address bar as shown below (circled in red):
Source: Google: Google Chrome Extensions
What are the Functions of Extensions?
- Block invasive adverts and pop-ups from displaying on your browser.
- Help you store and manage passwords to all your online accounts.
- Protect your privacy and keep your browsing sessions secure.
- Copy, paste and save text from websites.
- Change your themes and wallpapers
- Let you play popular games as simulators
- Show you basic SEO metrics of websites you visit
- Help you translate site content
- Function as online calculators
- Provide weather updates, and do a whole lot of other things.
Some Popular Google Chrome Extensions and What They Do
- Microsoft Office: Word processor, spreadsheets, etc, all in one place.
- Google Translate: Get your pages in your languages.
- LastPass: Saves passwords; the last password you’ll ever need.
- Loom: Works as video recorder, screen, webcam, mic.
- Todoist: Popular to-do list extension for all your tasks.
- MySmartPrice: Price comparison engine, helps you save money.
- SEOQuake: Displays basic site metrics at a glance.
- Google Mail Checker: Displays the number of unread messages, acts as a shortcut to your inbox.
- Awesome Screenshot: Takes, edits and saves full screenshots of your desktop.
- BlockSite: helps you stay focused on the task by blocking distractions or harmful sites.
There are tons of other useful Chrome extensions that can help you grow your business exponentially.
But before you start installing every extension in sight, it is essential to do due diligence. For instance, Google blocks over 1, 800 malicious uploads to the Chrome store every month, and also engages manual reviewers.
Still, some malicious extensions slip through, and you don’t want those living in your browser.
So, here are
5 Simple Things to Consider before Instaling any Google Chrome Extension
- Developer’s Website
Source: Google Chrome Store
If you’re in the Chrome store and want to install an extension, e.g. BlockSite, look out for the developer’s website. Click the link and ensure it takes you to the exact site listed in the Chrome store. You can also access the website under “Additional Information”.
If the developer’s URL isn’t listed, copy the “Offered by” name and run a Google search. If nothing turns up still, be wary, you might be looking at a red flag. Ideally, every developer should own a website from where visitors can download their extension, or click through to download from the Chrome store. Their URLs should also be shown in their Chrome store listing.
Except you’re the developer or a developer, you probably don’t know all the extension is capable of. The overview gives you a bird’s eye view of the extension’s features and functionalities, plus technical details.
Speaking of details, the more detailed the overview, the better. A detailed overview can influence download decisions. Ensure to read the entire overview by clicking on the “Read more” button.
Also, keep an eye on the compatibility icon highlighted above. Is the extension compatible with your device?
Source: Chrome Store
So, assuming the extension is compatible with your device, is it also compatible with other users? I mean, what do other users have to say about it by way of reviews, and does it have sufficient good ratings?
Note that reviews can be tricky. Although 76% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, you shouldn’t believe every review hook, line and sinker. Some reviewers have been paid to give fake positive reviews and unearned 5-star ratings.
Watch out for a good mix of positive and negative reviews. Reviews can also be accessed in different languages. Most extensions may start out great, then deteriorate, so watch out for more recent reviews, as well as developers who take the time to respond to reviewers.
4. Number of Users
Only a fraction of users ever write reviews or give ratings. In the case of BlockSite, only 1.3% of users left a rating.
Source: Google Chrome Store
Another key metric to look out for when screening extensions is the number of users. Here, there’s safety in numbers. In our example above, there are nearly 2 million users and counting.
The number of users is one of the most reliable telltale signs of a good extension, perhaps followed by the number of happy users and 5-star ratings.
5. Last Update
Another important question to ask before installing extensions is when was the last update? Thankfully, this question is answered for you in the Chrome store as shown below.
This means BlockSite was updated as of the time of writing this article. This is a great example of an up-to-date extension. You want to do the same for every extension you intend to install in your browser.
This way you can prevent malicious software or programs from harming or hijacking your device.
These five simple steps can save your business from hackers and cybercriminals who hide behind malicious Chrome extensions to perpetrate cybercrimes. Protect your investments/business today with these five tips.