My Favorite Firefox Addons, Part 2

I’m a big fan of Firefox’s extensibility, and I thought that it would be helpful to others considering Firefox or using Firefox to share some of my favorite addons to the web browser. In part 1, I looked at some of the most crucial addons to web security. Here in part 2, I will talk about addons that will make browsing the web easier and more convenient.

If you listen to music when you surf the web, FoxyTunes can come in really handy. It’s functionality is pretty simple — it adds music playback controls in your web browser. You no longer have to switch back and forth between your browser and media player to pause, skip, or change the volume. FoxyTunes works with most popular music software, including iTunes, Windows Media Player, Real Player, and Pandora. You can download skins for FoxyTunes to make the playback controls look however you like. There is also a version of FoxyTunes available for Internet Explorer, but so far it seems fairly buggy in Internet Explorer 8.

GooglePreview is another simple but very handy addon.Source: Mozilla.orgAs the name suggests, it inserts preview thumbnails next to search results in Google. This can help you get an idea of the pages your looking at before you decide to click through, and it can help you avoid clicking on pages that you’re not interested in (or those that are potentially risky). Google search results just don’t look right to me anymore without the thumbnail images — they make the process of finding what I’m looking for a lot quicker.

Easy DragToGo
There are a lot of addons out there that allow you to highlight text and select a number of options, such as searching Google or Wikipedia. In fact, Microsoft added this to Internet Explorer 8 and labeled the feature “accelerators”. Easy DragToGo is similar to these extensions, but instead of right-clicking and selecting you just click or highlight the object you want and drag it in a direction. It feels easier, faster, and there’s something about it that I just like. The program is intelligent — if you select text, it will search for the phrase in your default search engine. If it’s a url (even if it’s not a link), it will open the page. If you click and drag a image or link it will open those in new windows or tabs (depending on the direction you drag). It gets very intuitive, and seems to do what you want it to whenever you drag an object. The addons with drop-down menus do add a bit more functionality, and if you’re looking for one check out KallOut, but this addon just feels faster in use.

Speed Dial
Speed Dial imitates one of the best features from the Opera web browser — whenever you open a new window or tab it gives you click-able thumbnails for sites of your choice. This lets you get to the sites you frequent more quickly, as they are now just two clicks away (new tab and then thumbnail). Speed Dial is also an easy way to separate out the sites you visit most often from the rest of your bookmarks list. There is another app called Fast Dial which is practically identical. Fast Dial is a little more customizable, but I prefer Speed Dial because it feels, well, faster.

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