keyboard, hackers, google

These 9 Google hacks will change your life 

Words: Josh Rakic
Photo: Wikimedia 

Here’s how to get every deal and coupon cheat, outsmart geo blocking and search privately without being tracked by advertisers

Admit it, for everything great about technology there are just as many things that make you want to throw your Mac against the wall and torch it in a hellfire of lighter fluid and cheap booze. Rest assured, you’re not the only one. Thankfully, there are people much smarter than us who’ve made it their life’s mission to make the internet work for the user.

Google Chrome – arguably the best web browser available – has a stockpile of functions and extensions that have largely flown under the radar to mainstream users for years now. Then there’s the frequent new additions, all of which will enhance your online experience so much you’ll forget how you ever lived without them.

So, if you haven’t got them already, here are the nine best Google hacks to improve your life.

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Go incognito online 

This tool means you won’t have to worry about your search history falling into the wrong hands any more. With Incognito browsing – a standard function on Chrome and available inside the setting tab on the top right of screen – you can search completely anonymously knowing pages you visit won’t be saved to your browser history, cookie store or that pesky search history. So do away with the shame, whether it’s adult content or the Dixie Chicks tour schedule.

Stop being tracked by ads and social sites

How do the ads on every site you visit know you want to see the Dixie Chicks live even after you’ve gone Incognito? It’s all down to third-party tracking cookies, which makes Disconnect a must for the privacy conscious or anyone sick and tired of having their browsing habits tracked by advertisers and social sites. This literally blocks your browsing habits and also lets you see who’s been tracking you – be it Uber, Facebook or a Nigerian prince from Minnesota.

Watch anything, anywhere, always

TunnelBear is a free extension that allows you to watch blocked content anywhere in the world by simply changing your browsing location – in tech terms, creating a virtual private network (VPN). That means US Netflix in the UK, an English Premier League stream in London, and watching all the best YouTube content without any of those annoying ‘this content is not available in your region’ messages.

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Coupon hacks for every online checkout

You’re about to hit confirm on an Amazon Prime order when the checkout asks if you have any coupons to enter. You don’t. But with Honey, you do. For everything. Effectively, the Honey extension scours each and every corner of the internet for discount codes and coupons and automatically applies them at checkout. Ideal for tight-asses, even better for shopaholics. 

Say goodbye to ads forever

AdBlock Plus seems pretty obvious, but it’s mind-boggling the number of pop-up-hating people who still haven’t taken the three minutes to set it up. If you hate ads, if you hate sites taking forever to load because of ads, then ABP is a must. It’s free, it’s safe, and it will stop you from losing your mind.

Never have to re-enter your information again

Lazarus is far from the sexiest extension on the list but it’s imperative for peace of mind. Few things inspire rage as much as having to re-enter information on job application websites or, even worse, having to fill-in myriad forms over a matter of hours only for the page to crash and lose all your information. But this thing automatically backs up every form you fill out online and recovers all crashed ones. 

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Do your work quicker and easier

Google Docs should be another obvious one here, but few people are making the most of the best word processor since the original incarnation of Microsoft Word. It works offline and saves automatically. It shares documents with ease. It allows a multitude of people to work on the same document at once. It reformats even the most messed-up documents pretty well. And best of all, it doesn’t occupy the lion’s share of your hard-drive like Word does, meaning your computer will run quicker.

No more scam sites

With HTTPS Everywhere you no longer have to worry if you’re on the actual DirecTV or government website and not a shonky one that’s after your social and credit card details. It makes your browsing super secure, ensuring you only land on the encrypted and secure versions of whatever URL you’re hunting.

Find the best deal

Invisible Hand is a must. Think of this extension as Expedia, Kayak and every other trip price aggregator in one – then times 100. It doesn’t only apply to travel sites. It effectively does all the online searching for you when you start looking for deals, combing online stores the web over to find the best deal for you.

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