It’s been a long time since I’ve posted; it’s been too long, really. So, I’m going to keep it light and leave the heavy lifting to Swade and RedJ for now.
I love the internet. Almost as much as Saab. Almost. I’ve also noted on these pages that I am a real fan of the Chrome web browser from Google. Previously, if you’d asked me why, I would have answered, “Chrome is fast and it takes fewer clicks to navigate.” Simple. Those things are still true, but now Google has opened the Chrome Web Store, which is much like an App Store for the iPhone and Android. Instead, of course, it contains plug-ins and extensions specifically for the Google Chrome browser. It’s another clear reason to prefer Chrome.
As you may guess, the applications and extensions in the Chrome Web Store are information aggregation applications for the most part — bringing you information in different ways than before. Harnessing these little applications for your own fun and profit is surprisingly easy and rewarding.
We’ll take a look after the jump….
#1. Make your browser look Saab-savvy and act Saab-savvy.
First, let’s cover the basics. After you’ve downloaded Google Chrome, you’ll want to make it look like a Saab enthusiast uses it. That’s easy — just hop on over to Google Chrome SAAB Theme tab and install one of the free wallpapers adapted to the Google Chrome “new tab” background.
Next, you’ll want to put the bookmarks for SaabsUnited and your other favorite Saab sites (mine is SaabCentral) on the main bookmark bar at the top of the “new tab”. Simply visit your favorite pages and click the star in the browser bar and select “bookmarks bar” as the folder for your Saab sites and you’re done.
Doesn’t that look good? Notice there are two ways to open a new browser window to your favorite sites with a single click — along the top bar and in the middle of the screen using the “recently closed” or “most visited” icons.
2. Find a new (to you) Saab on Craigslist with fewer mouse clicks.
And, when I say “fewer mouse clicks”, I mean HUGE savings. Something like 10:1.
If you, like me, live in a provincial city, it can be difficult finding the Saab of your dreams (or budget) in your town. (As you may recall, I bought my 1991 convertible in Minnesota, about 900 miles [1440 km] from my home.) So what’s a Saabisti to do using Craigslist? That’s right: you click through individually to the auto listings in various locations across your region in your quest for Saab nirvana. For me, that was about eight different cities that are within about 200 miles (320 km) by car.
No more! Scoot on over to the free Craigslist Peek extension for Google Chrome, and you may now search on multiple cities and see results simultaneously and you may filter your search to eliminate certain keywords, too! As if that weren’t enough, this little tool also allows you to display the photos embedded in each ad on one page for much easier browsing! No more clicking through on every ad to decide if it’s worth looking at, just scan down the page!!
As you can see in this screen shot, I’ve aggregated a few cities onto the single page and I’ve selected to see a 300 characters from the description and the photos from each ad on a single page. If the photos are too small, just click and they will grow to full size. Click again and they reduce back to the list view.
Pretty nifty, huh? I can now simply scroll down a single browser window to view ads and photos from several cities at once. (This is also fabulous for parts searches, by the way.)
There is no limit to the number of cities that you can include, but be warned: the speed for the initial load is as if you opened each city’s Craigslist category in a unique browser window, so long searches can take several seconds. Nothing compared to the click-click-click of the manual method. What a time saver!
3. Display essential data about your prospective Craigslist Saab purchase.
So you’ve used Craigslist Peek to find a great “new” Saab. How do you know if it’s priced right? Are there outstanding recalls? Are there other Saabs like this anywhere else?
You, my friend, need Craigslist Car buy sell research utility. This little gem will sit quietly, waiting for you to click on a Craigslist advertisement. Once you display the ad, the research utility reads the make, model and year and goes out to other sites and other pages within Craigslist to find pertinent information about your prospective purchase. Check it:
Voila! You automatically have pricing information AND a list of similar ads on Craigslist. Easy as pie to compare. There is also a tool for displaying similar cars on Cars.com just beneath these lists.
Impressive. No clicks required. It’s just there. Every time.
4. Keep up with Saab events by reading Swedish news like a pro.
Frankly that statement is a little exaggerated, but you can read the Swedish press as automatically translated to English by using the free Quickrr Translator for Google Chrome. Naturally, the result is not exactly fluid prose, but the translation at least gives you English words and phrases to work with.
Once again, the best part is that it’s automatic. Once installed, the extension waits for a website in another language and then translates it before you could even figure out what language it’s in.
You could also use it to translate other great websites like Saabhuy. I love technology!
5. Track Saab content at your favorite web sites.
OK, so this isn’t all that new. RSS readers have been doing this for quite a while now, but NewsSquares makes the whole thing a little easier to evaluate at a glance. You can also receive notifications of new content every few minutes, every hour, every day, etc.
Little brother FeedSquares looks at things a little more on a granular level, serving up the recent updates and times for each site.
So, that’s it. Five Saaby things you can do with Google Chrome. I think you’ve got some downloading to do! Happy surfing!