by Kenny Lange on November 24, 2015

3 Free Time-Saving Chrome Extensions for Google Apps


If you are anything like me, then you most likely are reading this blog post on one of about 20 open tabs in your browser. You keep all of these tabs open because you may at a given moment need to switch over to one of your key platforms you use for work.

3 Free Time Saving Chrome Extensions for Google Apps

For me that would be a combination of FreshBooks, HubSpot, Teamwork Projects (that one's recent), and most importantly -- Google Apps.
While there are many apps available to people in the Google Apps for Work suite, 3 are the most used and checked most frequently. In no particular order, they are:
  • Gmail
  • Google Calendar
  • Google Drive

Your business' ability to communicate, schedule, and store are all vital components to a successful operation. Another vital component to success is profitability. How do Chrome extensions increase profitability you may ask? Let me explain.

Time management is a zero-sum game. Meaning, you only have so many hours per day, week, month, year to accomplish your tasks. Since it is impossible to get any additional time, you must look for areas to increase your efficiency and redeem lost or wasted time.

Why should you complete a task in 10 clicks if it could only take 2?

How can I redeem my time?

There are 3 Chrome extensions that can save you precious minutes in each interaction. They are all designed by the same person - Jason Savard. He is also known as The Green Programmer and makes some of the most highly rated and used extensions in the Chrome Web Store.

1. Checker Plus for Gmail

This is undoubtedly the crown jewel of the three and is probably the one you will use the most. It is remarkably simple and powerful and can help you manage your inbox without ever opening a Gmail tab.

My favorite feature is how fast I can manage my emails. I receive notifications in the upper right-hand corner of my screen (bottom right-hand corner for Windows users) whenever a new email is received. It includes the subject line and a brief look into the body of the email. I have the option to open it, mark it as read or delete it directly from the notification.

While you can check multiple accounts (work, personal, other random email addresses you may have), I have opted to only use one. I've used the multiple inbox feature and liked it but made the decision to create seperate Chrome environments (work + personal) with 1 email account in each environment. (I'll be writing on how to set this up in an upcoming post)

If you want to interact with your inbox a bit more than what the popup notification offers, then you can click the icon in the extension bar to view your entire inbox and options.

Checker_Plus_for_Gmail.png

From this view, you can accomplish virtually all functions of a full Gmail interaction including reading the whole email, replying, and starring. There are other options that are not message specific.

If you'll look at the colored bar with the account's email address, you can see that you can mark all as read, compose, search (this option actually opens a Gmail tab with your search results), and additional options. Some of the additional options include emailing a link of the current page, do-not-disturb, a link to your contacts and a link to edit your settings. Speaking of which...

There are many options for you to choose from to create a very personalized experience. My favorites are that you can choose to sync DND option accross all of Jason's extensions, the ability to add specific labels or tabs (if you use that feature), and the ability to choose specific sounds for different accounts and labels.

Google makes its own extension, along with a few others, and Jason has a great side-by-side comparison chart that outlines all features offered by the different extensions. You can also read the 7,500+ reviews the extension has in the Chrome Web Store.

There is quite a bit to explore but the way it comes setup will get you in and out of your inbox quickly and back to doing only what you can do.

2. Checker Plus for Google Calendar

This Chrome extension will save you tons of time by alerting you to your next appointment, letting you create appointments quickly, or just looking at your schedule at a glance without ever having to find or open Goolge Calendar itself.

Checker_Plus_for_Google_Calendar.pngMany of the setting options will overlap with ones I just described for Checker Plus for Gmail. Such as, the ability to select sounds, sync DND settings, and if it will run in the background even while Chrome is closed.

The one function it does not have is the ability to handle multiple accounts like the Gmail extension. The current solution to this is to share another account's desired calendar with the one you are syncing to the extension.

One of the coolest features is the ability to add new events simply by typing after opening the extension. No need to click anywhere or on a specific date. Just open, type, and hit enter. Example of what you could type: Death Star Project Update Meeting with Darth Vader on Friday from 10am-12pm. It would add your meeting with that title "Death Star Project Update Meeting with Darth Vader" on the next Friday from 10am until 12pm.

Checker_Plus_for_Google_Calendar_Views.jpg

The notifications work simiarly to those in Gmail. One neat difference is that if you have added a video call (Google Hangout) then a link appears in the popup notification and you can quickly join the room without navigating through your calendar. Remember, why make 10 clicks when it can take 2.

If you do happen to have a Gmail tab or window open while using the extension, then you can title the meeting with the subject line of the currently open email and attach the email to the event automatically.

Just like with the Gmail extension, here is a side-by-side comparrison with Google's extension and here you can read the reviews. This extension currently has over 200,000 users!

3. Checker Plus for Google Drive

This extension is pretty straight forward in terms of customized settings. There aren't many options, but it doesn't need many to make you more productive and save you time.

Checker_Plus_for_Google_Drive_-_Options.pngI like that I can see the image preview in the popup notification much like the Gmail extension shows the sender's profile or Gravitar picture. It is also nice to see a preview of the file when you hover over the title.

However, I think this extension makes its money by notifying you of revisions to your files and those shared with you. How many times have you collaborated on a document with someone and you've made revisions but anxiously refreshed your email looking for a notification or checked the document itself. What a waste of time!

Checker_Plus_for_Google_Drive.jpgYou can quickly browse to your files, download them, move them or share them all without needing to open or find your Google Drive tab.

Read reviews of the extensions.

CONCLUSION

These time saving extensions are all free to download, easy to use, and beautiful to boot! Since Jason does this free of charge he does accept donations as a way for users to show their appreciation and to fund his continued work in development and support of these extensions.

For his Gmail and Calendar extensions there are few options/features that are only available if you donate. It's definitely worth it.

Question: What Chrome extension for Google Apps do you/have you used the most?

What to learn how Google Apps   can get your team back 13 days a year? Schedule Your Evaluation Today! 

 

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