Improve your online ­experience with browser extensions

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Nicole Black, BridgeTower Media Newswires

I'm online a lot. For starters, it's the nature of my job as a legal technology journalist and speaker, both of which are central to my position as Legal Technology Evangelist for MyCase. And that fact that I work remotely for MyCase, a California-based company, essentially seals the deal, since that means I'm necessarily tethered to my computer most days.

Because I'm online so often, I rely on a host of technology tools to streamline my work processes. One of the more basic, but essential ways that I increase efficiency is by taking advantage of an assortment of browser extensions. These add-ons save me both time and money.

Here are some of my most-used extensions for my browser, Google Chrome. But many of these extensions (or similar alternatives) are available for other browsers as well.

First, there's the much-needed AdBlock extension. This tool removes ads from the websites and social media platforms that I visit. Not only does this remove annoying ads from my online experience, it also saves time, since I no longer have to wait for the ads to load on the page.

Honey is another extension that is incredibly useful, and one I use all the time. This add-on is designed to improve your online shopping experience by automatically applying coupon codes at checkout, saving you lots of money in the process. It will also review items in your cart at Amazon and let you know if there are lower-priced alternatives and will even switch the items out for you, if you elect to do so.

It's always a good idea to take steps to secure your online browsing experience and HTTPS Everywhere does just that. This app is a joint project between the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Tor Project. When whitelisted websites are visited, this add-on automatically rewrites HTTP links to HTTPS, thus encrypting more of your online browsing experience.

LastPass is my password manager of choice. LastPass stores your passwords via encrypted files and automatically populates sites that you visit with the correct passwords. It can also generate secure passwords for you, which you can then access from any device.

Start each of your online sessions off on the right foot with the Momentum add-on. This extension creates a personalized start page for you. Each time you open your browser, it presents you with a serene image, an inspirational quote, and your local weather. You can also add a to-do list and a list of links to your favorite websites.

Another handy extension is Print Friendly & PDF. It does just what it says - it converts web pages into print-friendly PDFs with the click of a button.

I often rely on the Shareaholic extension to share websites I discover with others who might be interested in them. With the click of a button, you can email a link to the page or share the page on a variety of social media sites.

SmileAlways is a new tool I recently discovered. This browser add-on automatically re-routes you to the Amazon Smile charity site whenever you visit Amazon. This way you won't forget to shop using the Amazon Smile site - something I often do - and you'll ensure that a percentage of all of your Amazon purchases will be donated to the charity of your choice.

Finally, there's Web of Trust. This browser helps you securely browse the internet. It provides website security icons next to every URL in search results - on social media and elsewhere - and also alerts you when you attempt to visit a site that has been deemed unsafe by other users.

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Nicole Black is a director at MyCase.com, a cloud-based law practice management platform. She speaks regularly at conferences regarding the intersection of law and technology. She publishes three legal blogs and can be reached at niki@mycase.com

Published: Mon, Jun 18, 2018