CyberNotes
Web Browser Wednesday

Google Chrome has taken the browser market by storm ever since its release a few weeks ago. The only complaint that I’ve really heard about the browser is that it doesn’t support add-ons like Firefox does, but Google has already said that a future version will be covering those bases. It’s already been downloaded over 2 million times, and that number is destined to grow very rapidly once developers are able to create add-ons for it.

If you’ve decided to stick it out with Chrome then we’ve got a few tips and tricks for you that we’ve come across over the last few weeks.

–Keyboard Shortcuts–

Keyboard shortcuts can really help make you more productive when using a web browser, and as expected Google Chrome has plenty of them for you to learn. A full list of keyboard shortcuts can be found here, but these are a few handy ones:

  • Ctrl+[1-8]: Switches to the tab in that position on your tab bar
  • Shift+Esc: Opens the browser’s task manager
  • Ctrl+Shift+N: Opens an incognito window that can be used for private browsing

–About Pages–

about memory.pngGoogle Chrome has several different “about” pages that can be used to access various information. For example, entering about:memory in the address bar will show you a list of running browsers along with how much memory each one is using.

One of the really interesting pages is about:stats that will show you a list of timers and counters used by the browser. It tracks things like how long it takes (in milliseconds) for your browser window to close, the load time of Google Gears, and more. Google OS has a more comprehensive list of the “about” pages available in Google Chrome.


–More Address Bar Results–

Not seeing enough results in the address bar? The browser should probably offer some simple configuration option for users to adjust this, but it doesn’t. Instead you need to modify the desktop shortcut in order to get more results. Once you open up the properties of the shortcut you’ll want to place this on the end of the “target” field:

-omnibox-popup-count=10

The How-to Geek has more detailed instructions on how to do this.

–Change the User Agent–

Doing something as simple as changing the user agent should be a no-brainer in Chrome, but Google wanted to make it a challenge. As Digital Inspiration points out it is very much possible to do, but will require that you use a HEX editor to modify a DLL.

–Backup & Restore a Profile–

Backing up your Google Chrome profile can easily be done by digging into some folders on your computer, but there’s an easier solution. The free Google Chrome Profile Backup app will let you backup and restore Google Chrome profiles as much as you want. It even comes with a nice profile manager so that storing several different profiles is a painless process.

google chrome backup.png

–Portable Google Chrome–

Take the browser with you on a USB drive by downloading this special package that has been put together by a third-party. All of your settings will be stored within a single folder so that you don’t need to worry about your browsing history getting left behind on a different computer.

–Run Google Chrome on Mac or Linux–

I’m sure you’re aware that Google has yet to release a version of Chrome that runs on an operating system other than Windows. CrossOver, the creators of Wine, have taken it upon themselves to bring over the Windows version to other operating systems. There are still some quirks to using this method, like not being able to auto-update the browser, but it works pretty well.

–Make Firefox Look Like Google Chrome–

Do you like the looks of Google Chrome, but don’t want to give up some of your favorite Firefox extensions? This Google Chrome theme for Firefox looks great on all operating systems, and might be just enough for those of you who like Chrome’s appearance.

Chromifox.png

–Overview–

About 4% of our readers are using Google Chrome, and so I’m sure you’ve come up with your own tips and tricks to make the browser even better. Feel free to share your own tips in the comments, and also let us know what’s keeping you using Chrome.

Thanks to everyone who sent in tips!

There Are 17 Comments

  1. Thanks for the tips. They’re very useful. I’ve been using Chrome “on and off”, and so far, I think it’s pretty nice, except the Add-ons restriction. I must say it’s extremely fast! Beep, Beep!

    Chromifox 1.0 is a cute theme to use in Mozilla Firefox. I’m using it and the Fox loves it. 8)

  2. It may have taken you by storm, but hardly “the market!” All the speed tests I’ve seen on the web, where a comparison is shown, show that it is within 10% up or down from other browsers. It is apparently only a perception of the user that it is “fast.”

  3. I love a lot of things about Chrome, but there are a couple I hate…

    1. Location of tabs – I switch tabs a lot, so I want them as close to the main window as possible.

    2. Installation directory – not Program Files? WTF.

  4. I’ve used Chrome off and on for the past week and really don’t see an advantage to switching browsers. Firefox is much more friendly when it comes to addons and just seems overall to be more user friendly. I think Chrome has a long way to go to match the usability found in Firefox.

  5. Woot! Opera got a lower memory usage :p
    But I don’t care for Chrome yet. I feel no excitement over it. Even if I use Gmail, Calendar, Reader and many other Google based services.

  6. Thanks for the tips!
    What’s amazing with GC is the way it deals with memory.

  7. Nice Post. Chrome is definitely going to rule the world of browsers. It is definitely a strong competitent for firefox and other borwsers.

  8. MP wrote:
    I’ve used Chrome off and on for the past week and really don’t see an advantage to switching browsers. Firefox is much more friendly when it comes to addons and just seems overall to be more user friendly. I think Chrome has a long way to go to match the usability found in Firefox.

    Google has already said that they will support add-ons with Chrome, which could be the extra push that Google needs for their browser. Once that happens I think they’ll be able to attract more of the Firefox users.

  9. Hi , Very good information given . Ireally liked it. I didnt know that it was downloaded 2 million times and the connection between firefox and chrome.Bravo!!

  10. My tip is to switch to the Dev Channel latest releases. They say they’re less reliable, but so far it’s been stable for me. The best part is it fixed the scrolling issue where my touchpad scroll would jump it at increments of a dozen lines at a time! Also, seems to reduce problems w/ YouTube and other flash media. This is very simple to do, you just download a small “channel chooser” program, and Chrome will update itself to the latest :)

    [dev.chromium.org]

    I’m on v0.3.154.3

    Also, hey, just discovered the simple solution to a tiny thing that would annoy me in browsers. The URL bar displays your current URL, but what if you start typing in it, then change your mind and stay on the current page? I thought you either had to reload the page, or were stuck w/ an inaccurate URL showing. Well, I recently (finally) discovered you can restore the URL in any browser by focusing in the URL bar and hitting [escape]. Wuhu! That was EZ.

    Still lovin Chrome. C’mon, make the switch, less UI distraction/waste of screen estate, and lightning freakin fast.

  11. I’m using the development builds as well, and haven’t had any troubles with them. Chrome really is a nice browser, but I’ve been wondering lately whether it will ever come out of Beta.

  12. Oh yeah! New development build (.415418) adds KEY missing feature: Boookmarks manager w/ dedicated bookmark search and drag/drop. There we go, just fixed the last real problem w/ the browser. I am sold! Even has handy ctrl+shift+b shortcut w/ search focus!

  13. netster007x wrote:
    Oh yeah! New development build (.415418) adds KEY missing feature: Boookmarks manager w/ dedicated bookmark search and drag/drop. There we go, just fixed the last real problem w/ the browser. I am sold! Even has handy ctrl+shift+b shortcut w/ search focus!

    Their bookmarking system definitely needed a little attention, and I’m glad that it finally got it. Now if only they’d make the thing cross-platform I’d be happy.

  14. Hey, latest dev channel v2 release keeps the features coming. Full real page zoom does text & images, added built in profile support, text autocomplete, and the most innovative feature, tab docking. Drag a tab to the right corner of screen and it docks on right side. Drag one tab right, another left and instantly have two side by side pages lined up and using complete screen space. Oh yeah!

    [blog.chromium.org]

  15. Ha, even has middle click scroll!

  16. netster007x wrote:
    Hey, latest dev channel v2 release keeps the features coming. Full real page zoom does text & images, added built in profile support, text autocomplete, and the most innovative feature, tab docking. Drag a tab to the right corner of screen and it docks on right side. Drag one tab right, another left and instantly have two side by side pages lined up and using complete screen space. Oh yeah!

    Huh, that tab docking sounds pretty cool. I can’t wait for them to get Chrome on the Mac. I wish I could at least use this at work, but the WebKit rendering engine doesn’t work with a lot of our internal sites.

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