The majority of blogs and a lot of websites display social media widgets on their pages. They display Facebook like buttons, Facebook user widgets, Twitter tweets, Disqus comments and a lot more. Depending on the site, it can add a lot to the loading time of the website.
WidgetBlock offers a way out, at least for users of the Google Chrome web browser. The Google Chrome extension blocks the majority of social media widgets on all Internet websites the user opens in the browser.
It removes the widgets from pages so that they are not displayed anymore, or at least replaced with a non functioning place holders.
Here is a screenshot of a Techcrunch article without the extension installed:
And here is the same article with the extension installed and enabled:
And finally how it looks in the Firefox web browser with NoScript enabled:
As you see, there is not much of a difference in page design but the widgets are gone. WidgetBlock comes with an option page to enable individual widgets which is obviously helpful if specific ones are used by you regularly.
The options page lists several dozen Web 2.0 and statistics sites and services that are blocked by the extension. Among them services that are not shown on the page like Google Analytics or Scorecardresearch but still loaded on sites.
You can use the browser's Developer Tools -- load them with F12 -- and there the network module to display what is being loaded from third-party domains. There you find listed scripts and other contents which the program may block.
Chrome users who encounter a lot of those social media and stat tracking widgets and scripts may want to install WidgetBlock in the browser to improve page loading times and privacy while browsing the web.
There are other means to block these types of widgets from being loaded. The Firefox add-on NoScript blocks most of them as well as it blocks all scripts by default.
Update: Please note that the extension has not been updated since 2011. While it should work on most widgets, it is likely that it may not work on all of them anymore as the list has not been updated since then.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.