Pimp your Chrome ride with these power tips
Google's Chrome is the most popular web browser in the world, with nearly 41% of global market share in September, up from 25% just two years ago.
Newcomers to Chrome who stick with it no doubt appreciate the browser's stability and speed, and many mobile users know how its syncing ability makes life easier for multi-device users (and for those Chrome users unaware of the fantastic conveniences of syncing, you can read about them here).
But for users who aren't slaves to their own habits and who are willing to drill into the browser's settings options and features, Chrome offers a number of ways to make the browsing experience more pleasurable and productive. I've listed some of my favorite ones below.
Keyboard is the key
I know, keyboard shortcuts. Blah blah blah. Nobody really uses keyboard shortcuts -- except people who do. I'm a mouse guy myself (touchpad on my laptop), but I've learned to love the conveniences of keyboard shortcuts, especially with Chrome.
The top Chrome keyboard shortcut for me is the one that enables easier browsing (it's a browser, remember?). Say you're on a web page and want to go back to the previous page. Instead of moving your cursor to the back arrow at the top left of the browser, Chrome allows you to do the same thing merely by hitting the "backspace" key on a PC (or the "delete" key on a Mac). If you want to navigate forward, couple the "shift" key with "backspace" or "delete."
This site lists a number of other useful keyboard shortcuts for Chrome, including Ctrl-L, which highlights one of the best power Chrome power tools, and that's...
The magic Omnibox
Otherwise know as your browser's address bar. But in Chrome, the address bar -- where users can see and type in website URLs -- also doubles as a search tool.
In other words, if you're in Chrome and you need to do a search, you don't have to go to the Google search page to launch your query. You can do it right from the Omnibox.
Let's say, like me, you want to find tips for Chrome users. If you type "tips for Chrome users" into the Omnibox, instead of getting an error message, you get this page of relevant results, just as if you had typed that query right into the Google search box. When I try the same search in the Firefox address box, I get a bunch of Twitter links to Chrome tips, even when I'm not signed into Twitter on Firefox. Not bad, but I wasn't trying to do a Twitter search, I was doing an Internet search.
Interestingly, you can go into Google settings (click on the three colored horizontal bars at the top right of the browser), scroll down to "Search," and select which search engine you want the omnibox to use -- Yahoo, Bing, even AOL and Ask. (Why someone would choose the latter two is beyond me, but Google offers them that option.)
Here's a real 'save' feature
If you're an impulsive sort like me and also tend toward opening too many browser tabs, sometimes you inadvertently close a tab that you really, really need. Before you curse the gods and start breaking things, try All is not lost. Chrome allows you to go back in time and retrieve that tab merely by clicking Ctrl+Shift+T. Boom: Your closed tab magically reappears.
You can do the same thing by clicking on the horizontal bars on the top right of the browser and then clicking on Recent Tabs. At the top of the list you'll see "Recently closed."
For mobile Chrome users
Here's a tip for Android and iOS device owners who use Chrome and desire faster page downloads. Google has set up its servers to compress content as it's loading. Not only does this make the site load faster, it reduces data usage by 50%, according to Google.
You can activate this feature by going to your mobile Chrome's settings to "bandwidth management" and then "reduce data usage." That being said, this is a relatively new option that Google still is rolling out, so it may not appear on your device yet (it's not on mine). But if you download Chrome Beta for Android, you can access the option now.
Finally, if you want mobile Chrome tips right at your, um, fingertips, you can download a free third-party app called Chrome Tips. If the ads bother (as they do some users), take advantage of the tips and then delete the app.
It's specifically designed for technology companies.
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