Chrome extensions I want (to build)

So, I recently started playing around with Chrome extensions. I really like them. The fact that it’s basically straight javascript I think is pretty great. Not that firefox add-ons were complicated at all, but there’s really zero barrier to entry for experienced web-devs to start cranking out Chrome extensions.

Anyway, as I started putting my first extension together, I realized that they take a bit longer to polish than I had anticipated. And a bit longer than that again because it’s basically my first experience writing javascript (on the upside, since the code will only ever run in Chrome by definition, you don’t have to worry about cross-browser support which makes web-development much more pleasant in general). So, here are some extensions I want to build, but haven’t had the time for yet. If they’re actually out there, let me know. If there are Firefox add-ons for them, I guess I’m curious, but I’m pretty solidly migrated to Chrome.

Posterous bookmarks

So, there are a few posterous extensions already that let you post pieces of the site you’re looking at to your blog, but I really just want a way to organize my bookmarks. I know, I know, there are a million ways to organize your bookmarks already, but I want an easy google-able way to do that. The easiest way I see that is just to create a blog, and thus a domain, post your bookmarks with a click in the corner, write a brief personal description, add tags, whatever, and then send it off. Since you get a domain with a posterous blog, and Google can search by domain, you should be able to search your bookmarks by the tags/description you provided.

Search through links

Not sure if extensions could support this without seriously hogging your computer power (maybe Google would need to support this directly). Anyway, it would be awesome to have a ‘search through links’ feature. So you can post your bookmarks, then search, and have it look only at the places to which you’ve linked. I see this as going to Google advanced search, searching in a domain, and then having the option to search through x links deep (where at first I’m asking for 1, but I could totally see valid use cases up to 3 or 4). Think – when you need something about ruby, you go to a page that has a bunch of links to ruby docs or tutorials and then you search that domain + 1 link deep.

This could further be extended by using your chrome://history page as the source of the links. So you remember seeing something online, but can’t remember what page it’s on, you can just search all the pages you’ve visited recently (or in whatever time frame you want). This doesn’t necessarily require you to give Google your history either, as long as they have all the pages in your history indexed, you should be able to just feed them a list of pages on which to search — or if this is in the extension, it never leaves your browser, just fires off dozens of searches in ajax and then merges the results in memory.

This would “fix” the problem of searching for certain words or phrases that are common in domains other than what you’re looking for. As an example, I was recently trying to figure out how the ‘visit’ keyword works in Webrat, a ruby integration test framework. However, I mistakenly thought that the ‘visit’ keyword was part of RSpec. Well, it took me a long time to figure out that visit was part of Webrat because you can’t Google ‘visit’, it’s just too common a word in all sorts of other contexts.

Come to think of it, there’s no reason this has to be Google. I’m just so used to using it as a verb in place of “search the web for”. Maybe Bing will add this just to be different, and to piss off Google by driving search traffic straight from the Chrome browser. (I imagine the latter point will carry a greater value on the cost-benefit analysis at MS, if they were to consider building this.)

Highlight to EVERYTHING

So, Highlight to Search is probably the best extension I’ve ever used. It’s just sooo handy. It’s perfect from a life-hack perspective. Every tech-savy person sees something in a page, goes to learn more (read ‘Google it’), and has the muscle memory for ‘copy’, ‘new tab’, ‘paste’ and then edit or enter to search. With this extension, you just highlight it, and you get the search box right there. So awesome. … I want more. I want …. context sensitive highlight everything.

I want to highlight a url or link and a button to and place it in my clipboard.

I want to highlight an email address lacking the \ tag and have a 1 button option to email that address. This could also fix any anti-spam cleverness like “john at home dot com”.

I want to highlight a picture, or a headline, or a video and be able to share it to facebook or twitter. I don’t want this to take me to those sites, just give me a box right there that lets me create the feed entry, and then gets out of the way.


So, if anyone wants to build these for me, that would be really handy. Otherwise I’ll start them in my free time. The first posterous one is probably half done now, but I haven’t touched in in a week or so.

PS if you make a million off any of these ideas, I’d appreciate a nice steak dinner.


About softwaregravy

Software Engineer, aspiring financial guru, and entrepreneur; all mixed with a bit of awesome.
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