The internet is filled with great apps and services to help you get things done. Alone, those services are powerful—but with a few choice add-ons, they’re unstoppable. Here are ten services you can power up with extensions, scripts, and other apps.
10. Gmail and Thunderbird
Gmail is powerful enough in its own right, but the right add-ons can make it even better, from small things (like make it easier to use) to big ones (like unsubscribing you from spam and cleaning up your inbox). Check out our list of Gmail-based browser extensions here, as well as these services that make it better. And if you’re more of a desktop email guru, check out our list for Thunderbird instead.
If you follow more than a few blogs, it can get overwhelming quickly. Subscribing to their RSS feeds in an app like Feedly makes it much easier to get your news fix every day. Of course, no app is perfect, Feedly included—even though they’re constantly adding new features. So if you want to improve your Feedly experience, check out these extensions and user scripts. With the right mix, you should be able to turn it into the perfect news reader for you.
Flickr’s not one of those tools that everyone uses, but if you fancy yourself a photographer—even an amateur one—it’s a great way to get your photos online and organized (especially with its 1TB of free space). With the right add-ons, though, you can make photos easier to upload, edit them online, or just find beautiful photos around the network. Check out this list of apps and extensions for more info.
Evernote, on its own, is an insanely powerful filing cabinet for everything in your brain. It’s hard to even try and use all its built-in features. But if you have a more specific need that Evernote doesn’t offer, like scanning documents from your phone or integrating with other apps, you can do that. This list of apps will get you started. And if you want to get a bit more physical, the Doxie scanner (and its app) turn Evernote into the perfect tool for going paperless.
You probably use YouTube every day, whether you like it or not. It’s not the most obvious productivity tool, but it can be used as such—and it gets a lot better if you tweak it with add-ons and scripts. These tools will help you fix YouTube’s biggest annoyances, like autoplay and advertisements, while these tools actually make it more powerful.
Ah, Facebook, The web site we all love to hate (or hate to love). Facebook’s never really had a handle on what people want from the service, but thankfully, there are add-on developers that do. You’ve probably heard of Social Fixer, the add-on that makes Facebook infinitely better with its myriad of options, but it isn’t the only tool out there. Other add-ons can make photos easier to view, remove ads and annoyances, and more. Check out our full list to see the possibilities.
4. Microsoft Office and Google Docs
No matter what office suite you use, there are a ton of ways to boost its power with a few add-ons. If you’re a Microsoft Office user, you already have a pretty powerful suite at your fingertips, but free add-ins can add things like tabs, search commands, dictionaries, and more—you can see some great examples here. If you’re a Google Docs user, most add-ons are designed to link you into other web services like maps, video conferencing, or faxing. You can see a solid list of those here. Of course, there are add-ons for Google Docs that make it work more like a desktop suite, too.
XBMC is the ultimate customizable media center program, and while it’s got some cool stuff baked in, some of its best content comes from add-ons. With add-ons you can stream content from your favorite cable channels, watch Netflix and Hulu, or even play video games. Head to the Add-ons section in XBMC to see what’s available, but don’t forget you can download add-ons from third parties too—like some of these awesome ones.
2. Dropbox and Google Drive
Cloud storage is all the rage these days, but it’s useful for a lot more than just storing your files. Add-ons let you upload and download files easier, but can also add extra features like music playback, collaboration, and more. Check out our favorite add-ons for Dropbox and Google Drive if you’re interested in stepping it up. And if you only check out one add-on, make it Wappwolf, which can automate just about anything in your cloud storage.
1. Your Browser
Obviously, you knew this was coming. Many of the above add-ons are, in fact, browser extensions, but there are also a lot of extensions built just to power up your web browsing itself. And there are more extensions than you could even count—some protect your privacy, some get you discounts when you shop, and some just make your browser easier to use. To get started, check out our Lifehacker Packs for Chrome and Firefox for the most essential extensions.
Title image remixed from tehcheesiong (Shutterstock).