There's always that email. You know the one I'm talking about: the message we're waiting for so anxiously that we end up checking our inbox 100 times a minute to see whether it's arrived. Since last Monday, I've stopped being a manic tab switcher and the F5 key on my keyboard has breathed a sigh of relief — all thanks to the Google Mail extension in Google Chrome.

Extensions are small programs that help you customize your browsing experience. They can give you quick access to your favorite websites like or eBay, provide alerts or updates from sites like or NPR, or help you perform common online tasks such as getting driving directions or simply change the look and feel of your browser.

The Google Mail extension adds a nifty little button next to Google Chrome's address bar that provides an updated indicator of the unread messages in your inbox. It also lets you access your inbox with just one click.

There's also a Send from Gmail extension which makes Gmail your default email application and opens a compose window whenever you click an email address on a webpage. It also adds a new button next to the address bar that makes it easy to send an email directly from Gmail, pre-filling the subject of the message with the title of the web page you're currently on and the body with selected page text and the link address.

There are several other Gmail extensions that the Google Chrome developer community has written; you can check out these and more than 2,000 other extensions in the Google Chrome Extensions gallery.

Google Chrome Extensions are now available for all Windows users. For those of you on Linux, extensions are enabled on the beta channel. Mac users, hang tight — extensions are coming to the beta soon.