Article last updated on October 26, 2011
Google's social networking service, intended to compete with the likes of Facebook, has rapidly gained popularity since its release. Providing several ways to interact and share content with others, Google+ has a lot to offer. As is the case with most social networking tools, however, there is always room for improvement. The following Chrome extensions let you add to and modify the Google+ interface in several diverse ways.
Replies and More for Google+ is a Chrome extension that integrates additional functionality into your Google+ stream. The main additions are a Reply link, placed below each comment to the right of the +1 button, and a Reply to Author link accompanying each post. Each of these links opens up the Post Comment interface, with the appropriate username prepopulated in the entry field. Also included under each post is a drop-down menu, accessible via an arrow placed next to the Share link, which provides options to share on Twitter, Facebook, or through email. My favorite feature included with this extension, however, is the ability to mute individual posts by simply pressing the M key. Not to be omitted are some neat optional items, including an audio chime whenever a new notification is received as well as desktop announcements for new messages.
G+me for Google Plus is a Chrome extension that provides some order to active Google+ streams by allowing you to collapse both posts and comments, all the while ensuring that updates remain current. Summaries as well as hover previews are available when items are in a collapsed state, adding a level of organized sanity to your stream. Some incompatiblities with other Google+ extensions have been reported, but my experience has been that G+me plays nice with others for the most part. The only thing preventing it from getting 5 stars is the fact that it tends to noticeably slow down Google+.
Google+ Tweaks is a Chrome extension that offers a litany of options for modifying the Google+ interface. Packaged as a convenient wrapper for Jerome Dane's popular Google+ Tweaks user script, updated with regularity, this add-on gives you a significant amount of control over the Google+ layout. Configurable via an easy-to-use options dialog, Google+ Tweaks lets you pin navigational elements on the Header Bar so they are always visible, force the Plus home page to utilize the entire width of your browser window, display all images within posts at thumbnail size, hide several components including the chat list and entire right column, and much more. Google+ Tweaks can also add a mute button at the top of each post, and fade out or hide the notice that appears once a post is muted. Some features are still considered to be "in progress", so their behavior may not be as advertised. However, the majority of components are fully functional and that makes this a fairly powerful extension.
Extended Share for Google Plus is a Chrome extension that gives you the ability to easily share your Google+ posts on a number of other social networking platforms including Facebook, Linkedin, Tumblr, and Twitter with just a click of the mouse. A "Share on" link is added to each of your Google+ posts which, when clicked on, displays a popup containing the aforementioned platforms (among others) as choices. Although there is no option to share to multiple venues at once, and the only item actually shared is a link to your original Google+ post, this extension provides a simple yet very useful feature for people who utilize multiple networks.
RSS Share for Google Plus is a Chrome extension that combines the worlds of Google+ and Google Reader, incorporating a Google Reader module into the left menu pane of your Plus home page and adding a "Share on Google+" button to the Reader interface. Not only are your Reader feeds conveniently displayed to the left of your Google+ stream, but you have the ability to mark items read or unread as well as share them directly from the new module. As a long-time Google Reader advocate, this handy integration has been a most welcome addition to my extension arsenal.
Layouts for Google Plus is a Chrome extension that lets you change the background of your Google+ home page. Replacing the white space found to the left and right of your stream and other Plus components, Layouts offers a gallery of backgrounds that other users have created and also provides the ability to upload your own. If you do choose to upload your own background image, the option to keep it private from the general public is available. The only way others can see your background when viewing your Google+ page is if they have Layouts installed themselves. However, if your goal is simply to have a snazzier look for your own enjoyment then this extension does the trick.
Everything Went Black for Google Plus is a Chrome extension that makes a few minor yet useful tweaks to the Google+ interface. The first and most important modification involves the Google+ Header Bar, which remains visible as you scroll down through your stream. If you've gone too far, a new button on the bar quickly scrolls back to the top of the page. Moving away from usability for a moment, this extension also applies an all black coat of paint to the Google+ logo. The floating Header Bar alone makes Everything Went Black for Google Plus worth having, unless of course you are already using one of the other extensions that includes this feature.
-1 Minus One for Google Plus is a Chrome Extension that adds a new button to Google+ posts and comments. Google, of course, offers the +1 button which provides the ability to show others that you like a specific item. However, the chance to be negative and give a thumbs down is not included. This extension changes that, however, by adding a -1 button to the Google+ interface. The major downside here is that only those who have this extension installed can see when you've left a "-1" on a post or comment, so this is more of a novelty than anything else at this point.