Love Google+? Me too. It has many missing features of other social networks, yet, it also have drawbacks. Today I selected 15 browser add-ons that make Google Plus more usable.
Sharing is the gist of all social networks so let begin with it.
(1) Extended Share for Google Plus
Cross sharing with this Chrome extension. It adds an option to share posts you find on Google+ to Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. More than 30,000 users now! Download it here.
How to get quick access to Google+ and display of notifications?
When you’re in most Google sites, you find a thick black sandar bearing a notification count. Click on it will bring up a bubble than shows the latest notifications. This Chrome extension adds an icon near the address bar for you to call out this bubble, without going into any Google sites. Download it here.
(3) Notification Count for Google Plus
This tiny Chrome extension adds an icon next to your address bar. It’s only function is to show you the number of Google+ notifications, no matter you’re viewing Google’s sites or not. Download it here.
(4) G+ Count Favicon
An alternative is G+ Count Favicon, which uses Google+ favicon on the tab (i.e. the icon of the web page) to show the number of notifications. Download it here.
(5) Google+ Enhancer
This is a userscript that makes the sandbar shows not only Google+ notification count but also those for Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Reader. Very useful for heavy Google users. Download it here.
Want a quick access to Google services on any web page? Use +Enhancer this extension that displays the sandbar no matter what web site you are browsing. Download it here.
(7) Hide Notification Count on Sandbar
On the other hand, if you don’t want any distraction from Google+ (sometimes it’s very addictive), try Hide Notification Count on Sandbar, an extension that hides the bar except in Google+. Download it here.
User Interface and Layout
Like most Google products, the user interface of Google+ is clean. Here are a few add-ons to modify the look and feel.
(8) Google+ -> Contrast, Denser, More Features
Image via Userstyles.org
This is a userstyle that gives you high degree of customization over the user interface. With it, you can make the following changes to Google+:
- Status bar always be on top
- Change background
- Padding, margins and font changes
- Put Shared and +1?s on the same line
- More contrast and denser interface
- Remove Go Mobile Link
- Reduces Max Image Size
- Floating left panel
- Thin scrollbars
- Chatbox list could scroll after specified lenght
- Move Add To Circles Popup down 30PX instead of directly over the button to avoid accidentally adding people to the wrong circle
Download it here.
(9) +Photo Zoom
+Photo Zoom is a very helpful extension. When you place the mouse cursor on a photo in Google+, the photo will be enlarged. You can control the zooming rate by mouse gesture. Download it here.
(10) +Comment Toggle
This extension by default hide comments in posts. Click on the drop down icon on the right to show them. This is quite useful because you don’t always want to read the comments, especially if there are a lot. Download it here.
(11) Usability Boost for Google Plus
This little one also attempts to make viewing comments easier, while it did this by highlighting them. Download it here.
(12) Google+ Commander
This userscript adds some keyboard shortcuts to Google+, such as:
- c – comment
- s – share
- + – Plus 1 a stream
- gg – go to top
- G – go to bottom
- n – show notification panel
- i – focus to a form of new entry
- esc – close the current active textbox
Download it here.
(13) Helper for Google+
This extension has some awesome functions, the major ones include:
- Share Google+ posts on twitter
- Translate posts with Google Translate to a language you specify
- Get desktop notifications on new posts
- Linked hashtags in posts
- Search in Google+ posts and profiles directly from the address bar
Download it here.
Integration with Facebook and Twitter
Some of you may not be able to get rid of FB and twitter. I know. The following two userscripts bring FB and Twitter to Google+. You no longer have to switch between social networks. Just one to rule them all.
(14) Show Facebook in Google+
This userscript brings Facebook to Google+. A button is added to switch to Facebook once you clicked on it. Download it here.
Please note that there is a thread a thread on reddit.com talking about the security concern over this userscript. Be sure to read this thread before committing to it.
(15) Show Twitter in Google+
Image via Crossrider.com
Similarly, this one shows tweets on the Google+ screen. Download it here.
How to Install
Just press the “Install” button in Chrome Web Store to install Chrome extensions.
To install userstyles, use Stylish for Chrome.
For userscripts, Chrome users can download the userscript and install it directly.