10 Firefox “Do more” Add-ons
Online clutter is annoying, but we spend many hours a week surfing anway. Here are some Firefox add-ons to help with getting more done while we browse!
“Learn more” add-ons
As we read pages, unfamiliar phrases catch our attention. We usually ignore them right then, or make a mental note to look them up later. (Or, we just skip the stuff we don’t understand!) The Apture plugin for Firefox is one of many that lets you learn more right now. Select a word or name on a page and right-click. You’ll see relevant info, from the most popular sources (or the ones you choose), in a balloon popup. Here’s a screenshot:
Almost the same thing, but prettier and simpler (with snippets only from Wikipedia and Wikia), is WikiLook.
SimilarWeb is like the familiar StumbleUpon, but it’s less user-driven. When you’re at a site, click the SimilarWeb button to see “similar” sites. For most sites I checked, it does a pretty good job.
To translate a foreign-language page, a translation add-on is really a big convenience—as compared to going to Google Translate (say) and entering the text or the URL. Also, we often skip foreign-language search results, and miss out on foreign text that appears on some pages. An add-on helps you avoid that.
The Hypertranslate add-on is amazingly simple: Select text, press Shift, and the translation appears alongside! Here’s a screenshot:
Hypertranslate and Quick Translator are the least cluttered of the many translation add-ons I looked at.
Waste less time with your browser
Do you use a start page? Perhaps the personalised iGoogle page, or one fixed news page? Browser enthusiasts have long been trying to come up with the perfect start-up page, and Feedly is a strong contender. It takes a minute to install, and half a minute to uninstall if you don’t like it!
Millions will tell you that using Del.icio.us (or something similar) for bookmarking makes browsing more productive. Here’s a convenient Firefox add-on for Delicious.
For focus and readability, you need to reduce clutter—mental clutter, right? But it helps to reduce the clutter in front of you. The obviously-named Readability extension does that for you. One button clicked, and 90% of the clutter on a page vanishes. Try it!
More efficient search
On arduous Google searches, I’ve often had good result pages appear way down the list, say on the 7th page, or the 12th. With Surf Canyon’s extension installed in Firefox, the results you click on make the browser re-order the results for better relevance. Very useful for targeted searches.
DeeperWeb can make searches more effective. After you install the extension, additional results appear on the right of the page. These are often more relevant than what’s on the results page; DeeperWeb aggregates results from diverse sources—news, blogs, academic resources and more. Google’s results are often distracting; the suggestions in the DeeperWeb pane can zoom in to what you want.
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