Chrome Extensions and Google Plus

If you use Google Chrome as your Web browser, you might not have to wait for Google to add that feature to Google Plus you want. That's because Google allows developers to build Google Chrome extensions. An extension adds features and functions to the browser. A simple extension might alert you whenever you receive an e-mail message. Others can help you keep tabs on the weather or stock prices, all within your browser. It doesn't matter what Web site you visit -- the extension keeps the information just a click away.

When it comes to Google Plus, extensions can streamline your experience significantly. There are extensions that allow you to collapse comment threads so that they don't clog up your stream. This is particularly useful if you follow popular Google Plus users -- they tend to receive a lot of feedback on their posts. Other extensions allow you to share information on Google Plus with other social networking services like Facebook and Twitter.

Anyone can create extensions using JavaScript and a developer version of Google Chrome. Google offers a tutorial on building extensions, including how to debug extensions that don't work quite the way you intended. You can host extensions for people to download yourself or submit them to the Google Chrome Web Store.

Installing extensions is easy. You choose an extension and allow it to alter Google Chrome. You don't even have to restart your browser to see it take effect. It's also easy to uninstall extensions if you don't like the changes it makes in your browsing experience. While these extensions are useful for tweaking Google Plus, many of them have functionality that extends well beyond the social network.

Some Google Chrome extensions will likely become superfluous as Google adds in more features to Google Plus. And if you think of a feature that Google Plus should have but doesn't, you can choose to leave feedback to the development team. There's a feedback link built right into Google Plus.

Now let's take a closer look at what makes Google Plus tick.