Although Facebook does its best to make the News Feed as relevant and useful as possible, it can still become a cluttered place. With more than one billion people using Facebook on average each day, it can be difficult to parse through all of the different types of content that pop up in your feed.
However, adding certain extensions to your Web browser can make Facebook’s website more customizable and easier to digest. Extensions are almost like apps that run in your browser to add new functions and features that wouldn’t otherwise exist. They’re developed by third-party developers, which means they aren’t officially affiliated with Facebook, and can be disabled at any time.
Here’s a look at the five Facebook-themed extensions for Google’s Chrome browser that we found to be the most useful.
Photo Zoom for Facebook
As its name implies, Photo Zoom makes it easier to view photos as you’re browsing the News Feed. When Photo Zoom is enabled, you can enlarge a picture simply by hovering over it with your mouse pointer. This allows you to expand the photos you’re interested in without being taken out of the News Feed.
Facebook Secret Emoticons
Facebook Secret Emoticons gives you a wider selection of emoticons to use when posting a status update. Facebook already allows you to tag status updates with a emotions and feelings (i.e. excited, happy, annoyed, sick, etc.), but the extension adds an extra set of symbols to choose from. It’s also a little quicker to access than scrolling through Facebook’s feelings menu.
A subtle smiley face icon will appear when the extension is turned on; clicking it launches a menu that includes everything from a Pac Man-themed smiley to Facebook’s classic thumbs-up icon. The drawback is that you have to navigate to the developer’s website to access symbols in different categories, such as animals and places.
Social Fixer for Facebook
Social Fixer is a tool for those looking to get more customization out of Facebook. It lets you tweak nearly every aspect of Facebook, from the way posts look in your News Feed to how notifications appear. For instance, you can choose to enable or disable the photo viewer from popping up when you click on an image, make it so that tapping “Enter” starts a new line instead of publishing a comment, and hide duplicate stories in the News Feed among other things.
Read receipts can be both helpful and hurtful. While it’s useful to know if a friend has seen your last message, you run the risk of offending a recipient if you don’t respond in a timely manner. Facebook Unseen gives you some control over this by blocking read receipts in Chrome. When the extension is enabled in Chrome, the friend you’re chatting with won’t be notified when you read their most recent message.
Facebook Flat — New Design and AdBlock
If Facebook is too messy for your liking, Facebook Flat offers a stripped down alternative. Turning the extension on removes ads and cleans up the lefthand column by consolidating things like apps and groups into subcategories. It’s a slick interface that focuses on Facebook’s core features.