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Tuesday
Aug092011

Review of the Incredibly Useful Google Screen Capture Chrome Extension

[UPDATE on 2015/10/25] Regrettably the "Screen capture (By Google)" extension for Chrome is no longer published by Google. :-(

 

I have a great appreciation for desktop screen capture apps such as Hypersnap and Snag-It but I have to admit that I am impressed by Google’s Screen Capture extension for the Chrome browser. In this post I’ll take you on a tour of the latest version

REVIEW NOTES

  • Version 5.0.3 was evaluated
  • This review was done on a Windows 7 (x64) machine – Quad Core & 12GB RAM

 

INSTALLING

Launch Chrome and go directly to the Chrome Web Store and search for  “screen capture” or simply click on this direct link to the application.

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Then just click on the Add to Chrome button.

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And then press Install when asked to confirm the installation.

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A moment after you click install you’ll see a notification and a new icon at the upper right hand corner of your Chrome tab.

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Pressing this button let’s you start and control your screen captures.

 

A BIT OF CONFUSION BEFORE WE CONTINUE

One behavior which is a bit surprising is that the options shown under the Screen Capture icon are not always the same depending on what you are viewing in Chrom.

Sometimes, you’ll see 4 capture modes

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Sometimes you’ll see only two capture modes

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And sometimes only one.

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It still isn’t clear it behaves like this. I would think that always showing all four capture modes would be the simplest and correct thing to do.

 

CAPTURE MODES


Capture Page Region

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This causes the web page to become dark and a highlighted capture region will appear,that you can then move, expand, or contract as needed.

snap0057

If you look at the very right part of the screenshot above, you’ll notice that the entire page did not go dark. A vertical strip of the image on the far right is still bright and If you play around with the capture region, you’ll notice that you cannot move it into that region. This looks to be a bug but not one I have seen consistently.

Capture Visible Content and Capture Whole Page

This captures the contents of the page you can see in the window without scrolling. For example, today’s Microsoft homepage looks like this in my browser window. (This was captured with Hypersnap so that you can see the browser window clearly). Notice that the scrollbar reveals that only part of the web page is shown in the window.

snap0058

When captured with the “Capture Visible Content command” this is what you will get:

Microsoft Corporation- Software, Smartphones, Online, Games, Cloud Computing, IT Business Technology, Downloads

Notice that the capture does NOT include the browser UI.

Capture Whole page gets the entire web page. Even the part I cannot see currently in the browser window.

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Microsoft Corporation- Software, Smartphones, Online, Games, Cloud Computing, IT Business Technology, Downloads

NOTE: The default format for the extension is to save as PNG but for simplicity for me I saved them as JPG for this blog post.

Capture Screen Region lets you go outside the page and capture what is on your desktop.

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Caveat Emptor: I did not try this feature with a multi-monitor setup.

You can select a region anywhere on the screen as shown in the screenshot below. (As you can probably tell from the screenshot, this was done on a large monitor – 30” to be precise)

snap0061

 

EDITING

Once a capture is taken, a new tab will appear which stores the screen capture – the name of the tab will be “Screen Capture”

snap0062

There are Highlight tools that let you draw on the capture

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The Redact menu offers an easy way to blur out or black out regions of the capture

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The Text menu lets you place text on the capture

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And the Line menu lets you draw some simple lines

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SAVING

The Save button lets you put the capture on your computer.

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Oddly, once you press the Save button, you can’t switch between formats.

The default format is PNG but you can change that to JPG in the options.

SHARING

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Clicking the Share button gives you some options on where to place the image.

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Surprisingly, there are no “Send via GMail” or “Send to Flickr” or “Send to Imgur” options.

Also it is a bit unusual that “Sina Microblog” is so prominent on the list.

CLIPBOARD AND PRINTING

The untitled button at the far right lets you copy the image to the clipboard or print it.

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OPTIONS

Revisiting the Screen Capture button for a moment, let’s look at what options are available.

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And here we see some extra useful features:

  • Autosave
  • Keyboard shortcut customization

AUTOSAVE

Autosave is fun. Now whenever you capture, you’ll get a little notification in the lower right right side of the desktop (not the chrome window but the desktop itself)

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If you rapidly do many screen captures these will stack up.

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You don’t have to do anything to dismiss these notifications. They will disappear in a few moments.

They will be given filenames according to the web page you were looking at and will automatically be numbered.

For example, one of the filenames it created for the Microsoft homepage was this:

“Microsoft Corporation- Software, Smartphones, Online, Games, Cloud Computing, IT Business Technology, Downloads(8).png”

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Overall this is an easy and lightweight tool. If you are looking for a free and easy screen capture app, this is a good choice.

Some features it is missing:

  • Repeat last capture
  • Capture entire desktop
  • Capture web page + browser window
  • Ability to select .PNG or .JPG in the file save dialog
  • Send to Flickr, Imgur, GMail
  • Auto copy to clipboard
  • Crop

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Reader Comments (1)

It's gone.

August 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJosh

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