In the world of browsers, Internet Explorer is like your oldest friend: You stick with it because it’s been around the longest, but sometimes you just want to hang out with the hipper, younger browsers. That’s all starting to change thanks to a new breed of browser add-ons designed to boost Explorer’s productivity and coolness quotient. Here are the top 10 Internet Explorer plugins for your browsing (and business) pleasure.
This recently delivered golden child (or should we say silver child?) of Microsoft is being hailed as the next generation of media and application support. Silverlight allows companies to design, develop, and deliver high quality HD videos and powerful rich interactive applications (RIAs). Silverlight also provides access to search engine optimization features, animation features and effects, design tools (such as SketchFlow, Adobe Photoshop, and Illustrator), and enhanced security features. Plus it’s cross-platform. To top it all off, Silverlight applications can run in or out of the browser, whether you’re online or off.
Has your business turned you into a chronic online sharer? If so, simplify your addiction with Shareaholic, a plugin that lets you quickly and easily e-mail, share, and bookmark Web pages from more than 60 services, including Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Yahoo!, and Digg. (Shareaholic is also available for Firefox, Chrome, and Safari.)
Gather all your accounts and Web applications into one place so you can stay connected no matter where you are on the Internet. Gathera’s handy sidebar lets you read e-mail and check for updates across multiple accounts without having to log in to each one. Gathera currently supports Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and more.
If you’re constantly sharing news and information with your customers via Twitter, then CloudBerry Tweet will make your life a whole lot easier. This plugin helps you post excerpts from Web sites with a click of a button and attach a shortened URL to the source page. (CloudBerry Tweet is also available for Firefox.)
Web of Trust
This free Internet security add-on promises to keep you safe from online scams, identity theft, spyware, spam, and viruses by warning you before you interact with a risky Web site. WOT lets you customize your level of protection so that you and your employees can surf safely and protect your company from malicious attacks. (WOT is also available for Firefox. A WOT bookmarklet, which provides some of WOT’s functions, can be downloaded for Safari.)
Don’t let a pesky thing like a language barrier get in the way of researching foreign competitors or attracting new customers from around the world. With Google Translate you can do the following.
- Translate text, Web pages, and documents into 42 languages
- Enter a search phrase in English to find information in other languages
- Make Web pages instantly available in other languages
- Create content in other languages with a translation editor
(Google Translate is also available for Chrome.)
Downloading files is a pain in the butt when you don’t have the supportive software. Zamzar lets you convert unsupported files without having to download a software tool. All you have to do is click a button and Zamzar will e-mail a URL with which you can download the converted file.
A recent study by Convera revealed that when it comes to search engines, only 10 percent of professionals find what they’re looking for on their first attempt, and 79 percent feel that their queries aren’t fully understood. That’s where Surf Canyon steps in. Surf Canyon helps you quickly find the information you’re looking for buried in the search results of Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and Craigslist. Surf Canyon digs as deep as page 100 of search results and allows you to customize your search preferences. (Surf Canyon is also available for Firefox.)
Free 30 day trial; $29.95 single-user license
Creating and organizing your folders has never been easier with PikySuite, a software package that contains PikyBasket, PikyFolders, and PikyTools. PikyBasket allows you to copy files and folders faster; quickly organize documents, videos, pictures, and music files; and compress files from different locations into one .zip file. PikyFolders lets you jump to favorite folders from wherever you are in just two clicks (no more navigating through the file open/save window). And PikyTools makes managing folders easier by allowing you to create multiple folders and sub-folders in one shot, change folder icons, mark folders with different colors for easier identification, and more.
Whether you’re a full-time blogger or an online publisher, Zemanta helps you easily enrich your content by suggesting tags, links, photos, related articles, and more as you type. Zemanta works on all major blogging and e-mail platforms and pulls content from more than 20 different sources. A multiuser platform for enterprises is also available for $1,800 a month. (Zemanta is also available for Firefox, Safari, Chrome, and other browsers.)