Browser Extension Directory
There is an inconsistency in the naming conventions among the four primary browsers developers. For this reason this directory has standardized on using the term “extension”. This also includes what some browser developers call “add-ons”. The directory also contains little information about extensions for Internet Explorer and Safari. This is because the developers of these browsers Microsoft and Apple also develop operating systems which is their focus when adding functionality. Google is focused instead on making the browser the operating system with the introduction of its Chromium operating system. The directory does not cover extensions for the browser Opera, which is very popular in some circles. Opera has adopted the same extension interface that is used by Google Chrome. This means the Chrome extensions will work on both browsers.
Finding extensions is easy. The two primary places to download extensions are from the extension developer and from the browser developer. Having an extension included in a browser developers “store” requires that it goes through a validation process and adds some legitimacy to the extension. It is recommended that extensions be downloaded from the browser developer’s “store”. This helps to assure that extension is valid and won’t introduce a virus or spyware into your system. It has been found that the search capabilities of the browser developer’s “stores” may not always be the best way to find extensions. It is instead recommended that Google be used with some appropriate search terms.Chrome (https://chrome.google.com/webstore/)
Internet Explorer (http://www.iegallery.com/)
There are a number of factors to consider when selecting a quality browser extension. First, you should look at user reviews, number of users that have submitted reviews and the overall rating. If there are only a small number of user reviews then this rating may not be a good indicator. Next look at the number of people that are using the extension. A large user base generally indicates a good extension. The size of the user base is not a good indicator for extensions that have just been published. Lastly look at the maturity of the extension. This includes when the extension was first published, how often updates have been made, and how long ago the last update was made. Just like the browser, extensions should be maintained and releasing regular updates to keep pace changes in the browser. If an extension has not be updated in over a year ago, then this probably indicates it is not being actively maintained.
In putting together this directory a notable extension was discovered called the ATBar. This extension combines many of the functions of extensions highlighted below into a single toolbar which installs as an extension to Chrome. It is also available as a bookmark for all browsers and as an application for Windows operating systems.
Author: University of Southhampton (http://www.atbar.org/)
Summary: A toolbar of many functions including formatting text, spell check, dictionary, text to speech, word prediction and color customization.
Extension: High Contrast
Author: Google Accessibility (https://code.google.com/p/google-axs-chrome/)
Summary: Adjust the contrast of a web page, including inversion and grayscale.
Extension: Read & Write for Google
Author: texthelp.com (http://www.texthelp.com/North-America/readwriteforgoogle)
Summary: Provides text-to-speech and definition and pronunciation for words that are highlighted on a web page.
Conversion to Audio File
Extension: Google Dictionary (by Google)
Author: Google (https://chrome.google.com)
Summary: Provides definition and pronunciation for words that are highlighted on a web page.
Extension: Dicta-note - Speech Recognizer
Author: dictanote.co (http://www.dictanote.co)
Summary: Allows voice input and enters the equivalent text into an editor (web app not extension).
Author: Readability (http://www.readability.com/)
Summary: Eliminates advertising and other clutter on a web page so that only the text is displayed.
Instant Copy Selected Text
Extension: Auto Copy
Author: Jamie Hill (http://stratusnine.com/software/auto-copy/)
Summary: Highlight text on a web page and it automatically copies it so it can be pasted into a document.