I recently wrote an article about the Aviary Screen Capture extension for Google Chrome. It’s a nice extension, which offers the ability to not only take a screenshot of a website (either the visible portion or the entire page), but to then upload that to one of six Aviary web-based image editors. It did have some frustrating quibbles, so I decided to see if there were any other available options. As it turns out, Google itself has released a screenshot utility, called Screen Capture, and it’s pretty fantastic as well, but in a different way.
Using Screen Capture couldn’t be simpler. Once installed, you’ll see a little blue icon in the toolbar (it looks like one picture overlaid on another). Click that icon and a pop-up menu appears with three options:
Capture Visible Content – This grabs only the part of the page you can see. Only the part of a web page visible without scrolling down will be captured.
Capture Region – This option gives you a resizable section so that you can grab a chunk of the page without having to grab everything.
Capture Full Page – Anything and everything on the web page gets grabbed, no matter how long it is. Useful for blogs with comments if you want to capture what people said in context of a conversation.
After you’ve made your selection, a new tab appears with your screen grab. Above it you’ll see a little toolbar with four tools:
Highlight – Useful for highlighting text on a page. You can choose your highlight color, then click and drag on the image to highlight what you want.
Redact – If you’ve captured an invoice, for instance, and want to show it as proof of purchase, but don’t want your email or credit card information visible, the redact tool blacks out what you want (used the same way as the highlight tool).
Text – I use this a lot in my screenshots. Simply select your text color and size, then click on the screenshot to add notes. Each note is self-contained, and while I don’t believe it can be edited later (before saving, I mean, as after saving the entire screen grab is saved as an image), but they can be deleted if you change your mind or want to change what you typed.
Line – I also use this. Useful for pointing out different parts of a web page. Lines can be simple lines or have an arrow point at one end, as well as be whatever color you choose.
Once you’re done editing, click the Save button. Web grabs are saved as PNG, a lossless image compression scheme.
I’m pretty impressed with Google’s Screen Capture extension. I definitely doesn’t have as many options as Aviary’s screenshot utility, but then this isn’t designed to be a full-fledged image editor either. It’s much faster if all you want to do is capture a full page and save to your hard drive, as the screenshot doesn’t first need to be uploaded to a separate website.
I wouldn’t say that Screen Capture (by Google) will ever be a complete replacement for Aviary’s extension, but if all you really need are the tools provided, it might.