Some essential Firefox extensions

While Firefox is becoming increasingly popular, many don’t fully utilize all that it has to offer. I thought I would make a list some of the best extensions that you may not be using. I am using the RC 2 (2nd Release Candidate) version of Firefox 3 so I may not include a few extensions that are really popular in Firefox 2.

1. PicLens – Places a small icon in your browser menubar which allows you to search for pictures and videos from a bunch of different sites (You Tube, Flickr, Photobucket, Deviant Art, Google, Yahoo, MySpace, Facebook, and more). The best thing about this is the presentation. Clicking on the program icon brings you to a very Apple TV-like interface with videos floating in air and flying past you as you arrow around the screen.

PicLens from cooliris
Here is a picture that gives you and idea of what it looks like.

2. Download Helper consists of a small icon on your menu bar that starts rotating to let you know that the web page you are on contains video that can be downloaded. You can click on it to access a drop down menu showing all the videos you can download to your hard drive. From what I can tell, it works with any video site online so if you see a video you should be able to capture it.

3. TwitterFox – If you aren’t familiar with Twitter, it is a little app that is used simply used to let people know what you are doing at any given time. This app sits at the bottom of your browser window and will pop up if any of the people you are following post something. On the other hand, when you want to post you simply click on the icon at the bottom of the window and up pops a text box for you to enter in your post. This is so much simpler than having to go to the Twitter webpage to enter it in.

4. ForecastFox As you could probably guess, this is a weather extension that sits on the bottom bar of your browser window and displays Current temp along with the weather in the following week. It will pop up with weather alerts if there are storm warnings in your area. In the past I had tried a program called Weatherbug that I hated and sucked up system resources. This one seems to do it with alot more style and doesn’t get in your way in the process.

5. AdBlock Plus & Flashblock – These two program together help keep your web experience a positive one by blocking pop up windows and those annoying Flash animations that pop while viewing web pages.

6. XippeeI wasn’t sure about this extension at first but after working with it a little bit I really like it. If you can get past the strange name you could really find this useful. When you search for something in Google, Yahoo, or whatever, you can double click on a any word in the site descriptions and a box will pop up with a “+” and a ” – “. If you want to see searches with more of that word click the plus sign, and vice versa if you want to see see less of that word, and your searches will really get down to what you are looking for. This becomes second nature and you don’t see any icons at all, but it is there when you want to use it.

These are some of the ones that I came across today. There are many, many more so now I am gonna go check out some more cool stuff. You can get the Firefox 3 browser at http://www.mozilla.com and access all these cool extras by clicking on Tools/Add-ons in the menu bar once it is installed.

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