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Access all Google Services from one place with Black Menu for Google Chrome

September 22nd, 2012 by

Sometimes, we stumble across some intriguing extensions for Google Chrome which stands apart from many of the “web apps” in the Web Store. If you belong to one of the zillion users of Google services apart from Search, you are going to love this extension for Google Chrome.
black menu google chrome

Black Menu : A Killer Google Chrome Extension

Black Menu is a Chrome extension that clubs all the Google services in a convenient location. This means you can now search for an app in the play store without having to open a separate tab for the purpose. Also you can directly go to some often visited places like your starred / important mails in Gmail, a doc in Google drive in a click. All you need to do is just click the Black Menu button next to the Omni bar and hover upon the different panes to navigate to various Google services.

 

black menu chrome

Features of Black Menu

  • Access to all the Google services in a floating menu with a single click.
  • Search integrated for all the major Google services.
  • Open most commonly visited folders conveniently.
  • Very light in foot print at just 30 MB of memory consumption.
  • Unobtrusive, does not require you often to leave your current tab.

    Meh, Looks like a pile of Google bookmarks….Oh wait

    While I was thinking Black menu is just a conglomeration of all the major Google services with search, it turned out to be way more than that. Translate, YouTube, Drive and Calendar specifically have received much more than mere set of bookmarks.

    For example in YouTube pane , you can browse, search and even play videos right within Black Menu. A boon for quickly watching a game trailer while you are in a some grim work related page which you can not move away from. It is just like having a mini floating YouTube in every tab anytime you want.

    black menu YouTube

    (My favorite) Black Menu actually has little Google Translator inbuilt, so you can quickly head to black menu to translate the sentences.

    black menu google translate

    The Calendar section is very well implemented as well. You can have a glance at your Google Calendar, see upcoming events and even check your active tasks. This is extremely handy for hardcore Google Calendar users.

    black menu google calendar

    The awesomeness does not stop there, you can search places places in Maps right inside the Black Menu as well!

    black menu google maps

    Upon checking the memory consumption of the extension,  which turned out to be around 30 MB, decent enough for such a feature packed extension.

    Some Suggestions

    While the extension is fairly new, I would like to believe there is still lot of work going into it. At the moment though here are some minute user interface suggestions which if implemented could make the extension even more wonderful.

    • The ability to lock panes would be extremely useful. At the moment if you are in, say Google Translate and accidentally hover your mouse over Maps, you will be taken away from your translation task. This behavior is slightly annoying.
    • News and Reader are clubbed into a single pane , needing you to choose between either. A much better choice would be to create a separate pane for Reader
    • Finally, just like YouTube videos, it would be great to see a feature letting you open emails directly.

    Concluding

    Having  Black Menu makes it extremely easy to quickly navigate to a  Google Service without having to leave your current page. Black Menu provides you a unique way to use YouTube in your workplace, apart from super quick access to Translate, Drive etc. Overall, Black Menu is a fantastic chrome extension for anyone who uses even slightly more than just Search.

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