The Chrome extension you should be using
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Panda in any way, I don't know the creators, I'm just in love with their extension.
I started using Panda some time ago and fell in love with it instantly. Honestly, I can't remember a time without it anymore; it's the way I get my news/inspiration.
They just recently released version 4 of Panda which includes a nice redesign and adds a lot more customization options to it. I thought why not write about it as it's something I use on a day-to-day basis.
I'll start off with a small overview and see if I can convince you to start using it, that is if their site didn't already do it justiceâ€“which can't be true.
The way Panda works is, it takes over your New Tab page in Google Chrome, leaving you with 1, 2 or 3 "boxes" of content for you to peruse. So, instead of being greeted with your most visited sites, you're greeted with a hub of content from some awesome news resrouces (Hacker News, Designer News, TechCrunch, etc.) Ã la RSS feedsâ€“but much, much nicer.
Example of my Panda page
Now I get everything I need/want right in front of me when I open Chrome. Instead of having to look at the plain-text massacre of an RSS reader or head over to each site individually, I have it all instantly upon loading up Chrome.
Something that I'm really excited to see that they've added in version 4 is "pandamarks". To be able to use pandamarks, you do have to register with them, which is super simple if you have a Facebook or Twitter account. Once you're registered you can add articles to your pandamarks, which makes it super easy to find articles you liked or want to share with someone later. A good example I can think of is if you run a podcast talking about news in a certain tech or creative field, you could add it to your pandamarks. It's basically shownotes built into this extension.
One of the other things I'm happy they did, was add the option to turn off the auto-loading of GIFs. One of the few problems I had with Panda before was the fact that it would eat up quite a bit of memory when you loaded a new tab. Having the option to turn off the auto-loading of GIFs definitely helped with not only that, but general start-up time for Chrome on my machines compaired to when I started using Panda.
They've also increased the amount of "media outlets" you can browse in the extension. I won't list them all, but you can head to their site or download the extension and see for yourself. I'm letting you know now, you have pretty much every big name site on here.
I hope I convinced you to at least give it a try, it might just change the way you interact with Chrome on a day-to-day. I know I can't use a machine regurlarly without it anymore.