Facebook Bans Popular Extension F.B. Purity, Again!

FB-PurityWith the turf war between social media services heating up, these services are getting more and more hostile. Startups that were once proud of their open gardens have begun constructing walls to keep out competitors. Recently we saw Instagram pulling support for cards from Twitter, possibly in reaction to Twitter blocking Instagram’s friend import feature. Facebook and Google had earlier tussled over access to contacts data. Now, in a controversial move, Facebook has slammed the ban hammer on F.B. Purity.

F.B. Purity, which stands for Fluff Busting Purity, is a browser extension (actually an userscript) that promises to get rid of all the bloat from Facebook. It filters out the annoying and irrelevant pieces in your newsfeed, such as application spam, ads, and sponsored stories. F.B. Purity’s relationship with Facebook has always been tenuous. Facebook had threatened to ban F.B. Purity as far back as 2010 for infringing on its trademark. However, the developer managed to reach an agreement with Facebook and the script survived.

Now, Facebook is outlawing F.B. Purity because “Facebook’s terms specifically prohibit interference with the way Facebook is rendered to its users”. It also alleges that the script breaks Facebook’s ToS as it doesn’t connect via Facebook API, which is the approved method for interacting with Facebook’s services. Last time around Facebook tried sniffing F.B. Purity to render it useless. However, the developer managed to quickly find a workaround. So, this time Facebook didn’t even try. Instead, it banned the developer’s Facebook account, imposed a site-wide ban on the fbpurity domain, and threatened legal action.

Of course, a cursory investigation of the way F.B. Purity works is sufficient to unravel Facebook’s allegations. F.B. Purity is neither a Facebook client nor a Facebook application. It’s an userscript or an browser extension. It doesn’t directly access Facebook’s services. It’s a client-side script that modifies the page after the browser has downloaded it. In some ways it can be considered to be a browser feature. Hence, its ridiculous to force F.B. Purity to use Facebook’s APIs.

Facebook owns its services, and as such is free to do whatever it feels like. However, its latest complaint against F.B. Purity is simply thinly veiled bullying. If courts start buying Facebook’s logic, pretty much all browser extensions and scripts including ad-blockers and pop-up blockers will become illegal. I can appreciate that Facebook is trying to protect its interest. But, it is doing so by clearly inconveniencing the users and stepping on their freedom. It should be up to the user to decide how he wants the pages to be parsed by his browser, not Facebook.

Chrome Starts Blocking Extensions, Apps and Greasemonkey Scripts Outside Chrome Store

When Google launched the Store, it was one a good step ahead to provide users with Extensions and apps from a centralized location. However, Chrome still allowed users to install extensions and user scripts from any website making it a little insecure.

Chrome Blocking Extensions

However, it looks like Google is now beefing up on security and disallowing users from installing extensions, apps and user scripts from outside the . Users will now be prompted with a message saying “Extensions, apps and user scripts can only be added from the Chrome Web Store” when they try to install something which is not part of the Chrome Web Store.

While this is a good thing, it means that and Stylish scripts will stop working out of the box now unless a users changes Chrome’s settings or till they are included as a part of the Chrome Web Store.

So will users be able to still install extensions and scripts that are not part of Chrome Web Store? Well, the answer is Yes. Earlier this month, Martin from GHacks had posted about this problem and the potential fix. The fix is listed in a Chrome bug report which says:

You are no longer supposed to be able to install extensions off-store in Chrome. See  bug 55584  for details.

In order to install off-store extensions, the user must download them to a directory and drag them onto chrome://extensions/.

I intend to polish this UI a bit to hide the download bar so that people don’t click on it. I’d also like to add some UI that tells users that extension install is disabled off store or something, but we still haven’t figured out what that will look like.`

The bug referred in the above fix was a feature request which will allow enterprise users to disable users from installing extensions outside the Chrome Store while providing them with an option to whitelist other sources through an admin interface.

So dragging and dropping those extensions and user scripts to the extension page should currently allow you to install those extensions. You can also completely disable this feature by loading Chrome with the “–enable-easy-off-store-extension-install” flag. However, this is not recommended.

*Please note that the blocking currently does not happen in stable builds of Google Chrome.

Make Google+ Look Like Pinterest

Social photo-sharing and bookmarking website Pinterest has become quite a rage. Just last month, it overtook Google Plus to become the third most popular social network (behind Facebook and Twitter). Much of the success of Pinterest can be attributed to it’s simple but intuitive user interface (UI). Now, by using a simple userscript, you can skin your Google Plus stream to look like Pinterest.

Pinterest UI for Google+ is currently only available as a Greasemonkey script for Firefox; however, Chrome support is on its way. The script reformats Google+ into a multi-column grid layout ala Pinterest. It is designed for screen resolutions larger than 1024×768. On smaller screens, the script will automatically disable itself. The layout is completely fluid and adjusts to the resolution and browser window size. The new Google+ layout received a lot of flak for wasting enormous amounts of screen real-estate. This script solves that issue by making use of the entire screen width. It ensures that there is always at least three columns. When your screen is not wide enough, the posts are “compressed” into a smaller size to fit the screen width. Here’s how my stream looks with the Pinterest UI installed.


One of Google Plus’ strong points it is media integration. Large thumbnails, tight coupling with YouTube, and support for GIF animations lends it an edge over Facebook. As a result, pictures and videos often constitute a sizable portion of the Google+ activity stream. Pinterest interface for Google+ is ideally suited for circles in which a lot of media is being shared. It’s a bit messy for sure, but it also has its own advantages.

[ Download Pinterest UI for Google+ Greasemonkey Script ]

Hate Gmail’s New Interface? Get Old Gmail Interface with This Stylish Script

Just like the new Facebook timeline, also recently forced their new theme on users and apparently many people are not happy with this decision. While Gmail earlier provided a simple way to revert back the Gmail interface, that option is no longer available. This has definitely not gone down too well with Gmail users.

So is there any way in which you could revert back to the old Gmail interface? Well, not officially, but you can still do it thanks to a Stylish script.

Old Gmail Interface

The Return of Old Gmail Stylish script is one which resembles the “Old Gmail” interface the most. Although the overall interface is not as neat (see screenshot above), it definitely is one of the best options if you despise the new Gmail interface. The script in question reverts back some of the Gmail styles to the older one and also reverts back the top navigation in Gmail.

You will also find several other Stylish scripts for Gmail, however, the one listed here seems to be the best alternative to get back the old Gmail interface. You can also try out several other themes for Gmail by using this Stylish search.

Please note that users will have to install the Stylish before using the scripts. users can also install the Stylish extension or install the Stylish script as a script and run it as an .

Remove Installed Greasemonkey Scripts in Firefox and Google Chrome

scripts are lightweight JavaScript files which add additionally functionality to browsers such as and . In the past we have talked about several interested Greasemonkey scripts which are both useful and help solve problems. One of the most recent one was removing Black bar in Google.

However, there are times when the Greasemonkey script you install might not work as expected or cause problems on other websites. If you are facing a similar problem you can easily uninstall the Greasemonkey script and get rid of the problem.

Google Chrome allows users to install Greasemonkey scripts as extensions so to uninstall scripts on Google Chrome, you will have to follow the steps given in How to uninstall apps and extensions in Google Chrome. However, if you are Firefox user and want to uninstall a Greasemonkey script, you will have to follow the steps given below.

Manage User Scripts Greasemonkey

Step 1: Click on the arrow next to the Greasemonkey icon and click on "Manage User Scripts"

Disable Greasemonkey Scripts

Step 2: Click on "Disable" button to disable the script temporarily or click on the "Remove" button to remove the script completely.

That’s it. Once you have disable or removed the script, just refresh the webpage and your problem will be solved.

Google Plus Enhancer Shows Unread Count Of Gmail And Google Reader On Google’s Menu Bar

The best thing about recent redesign of Google homepage is probably the black navigation menu bar.

Personally, I am not a big fan of the fancy black background color but considering the fact that this menu bar integrates tightly with Google Plus and other Google services, I think it’s highly useful.

When you are using other Google services like Gmail, Google Reader or Google blog search, you get real time notifications from your Google Plus account. You can read and reply to comments directly from Google’s notification bar, without having to open your Google Plus account over and over again.

This concept can be extended to Gmail and Google Reader, thanks to the Google + Enhancer Greasemonkey script

Google Plus enhancer lets you see unread email count of Gmail and unread count for Google reader items right from Google’s menu bar. Once the script is installed and you are signed in to your Google account, the script will show real time notifications of Google Reader unread items and number of unread email in Gmail, as shown below:


The script works universally, no matter which Google service you are using. In addition to showing unread email count from Gmail, the script will also shows you notifications from Google Calendar, Google Maps, iGoogle, Google News and Google Images.

Please note that the script wont work if you are using multiple or separate Google accounts for Gmail, Google Reader or Google Plus. The script can fetch notifications for the currently active session of the logged in user, so if you are using Google Apps for Gmail and a regular Gmail account with Google Reader the notifications won’t work for all services. The notifications will only be shown for that Google account which is being used last.

And since this is a Greasemonkey script and not a browser specific extension, it will work in most modern browsers e.g Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera. Also read our earlier tutorial on how to run Greasemonkey scripts in Opera, Internet Explorer or Safari.

Note: Keith has earlier developed Google Black bar hider another Greasemonkey script which completely disables the black navigation bar across all Google services. If you hate Google’s new black menu bar and have installed the Google black bar hider script, this Google Plus enhancer one won’t work at all. This is because Keith’s script will completely remove the notification bar, so the Google Plus enhancer script will never be shown in the first place.


Get Back Old Facebook Comment Button – Fix Enter to Comment On Facebook

recently rolled out a new change to their user interface where they got rid of the Comment button and allowed users to comment by hitting the Enter key. However, this was a bit annoying to users who did not know about it and innocently hit enter to add a new line to their comment. When they did this, the comment was automatically posted. (Hint: use Shift + Enter to add a new line)

Facebook Comment Button

If you are someone who has been annoyed by this problem, there is a quick and easy fix to get back the old comment button on Facebook through a script.

To get the old comment button back in Facebook, head over to http://www.crypticide.com/alecm/chrome/ and click on the FixSillyFacebook.user.js to install the Greasemonkey script in and (you will need the Greasemonkey add-on). If you are using or Internet Explorer or Safari follow our earlier post on Installing Greasemonkey scripts in Opera, IE and Safari.

P.S. The above script was a modification of another script created by Daniel Wood because it lacked the ability to work on the www subdomain in Facebook.

How To Disable Facebook New Photo Theatre Viewer

recently rolled out a new Photo viewer which provided users with a theatre like view for viewing photo albums. Though the new Theatre view for Facebook works well, it is definitely not liked by everyone.

Facebook Photo Theatre View

So what if you don’t want to view photos using the new Facebook Theatre view? Well, you cannot disable it directly using Facebook but you could use a userscript for and to disable the theatre view in Facebook.

The "Facebook Photo Theater Killer" userscript kills the annoying new photo theater on Facebook and allows you to browse the photos the old way. This script works on Google Chrome and Firefox only for now.

So go ahead and install the script to get rid of the new annoyance created by Facebook. Thanks Binoy.

Update: If you use Google Chrome, you can also use these extensions to disable the new Facebook photo viewer.

Fed-up Of Jimmy Wales on Wikipedia? Here’s How To Get Rid Of Him

Wikipedia LogoWikipedia is no doubt one of the best resources for anyone looking to find more information about topics they are researching on. It is also the 5th largest site in the world, however, Wikipedia does not run ads and instead relies on donations from its users to run the huge database of articles it has.

At last count, Wikipedia has over 35 million articles in the English section and there are more documents in other languages too. That’s really good, however, in the past few months, users who visit the website are being shown a banner, which is an urgent appeal from Jimmy Wales, the Wikipedia founder on getting donations for the site.


Now showing this message is fine and many people including me have already donated to them. However, here is the problem, you will see this banner on every page you visit, no matter whether you have donated or not. This is making it quite annoying for users who have to visit Wikipedia everyday.

Are you fed-up too? Here are some ways to get rid of this Wikipedia message. On you can install the called Goodbye Jimmy Wales to get rid of this message. users can use the called Wikipedia Appeal Remover to get this done.

If you use or Internet Explorer, you can use a script to get rid of the Jimmy Wales Appeal, you will find the User scripts for the same here. Learn more on installing Greasemonkey scripts in Opera and IE.

Find When People Unfriend You On Facebook

and are both great social networks to find friends and communicate with them. However, both these networks do not notify users when someone unfollows or unfriends them.

Facebook Unfriend Alert Notifications

Twitter does have several options to know when users unfollow you, however, what about Facebook? How do you figure out when someone unfriends you on Facebook? Turns out there is a way to do that too.

Unfriend Finder for Facebook is a script which tracks your Facebook friends and then notifies you whenever someone decides to unfriend you on Facebook.

Facebook Unfriend Menu Notification

The script tightly integrates within Facebook and sends you notifications whenever someone removes you from your list. It also alerts you when someone ignores your friend request.

The only problem of the script is that it is browser specific and only works on , , Safari and right now. There is no support for Internet Explorer yet, but you can read up some tips on running Greasemonkey scripts in IE.

You can download the script or add-on for your browser from here.

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