Saturday, December 5, 2009

Get the most out of Chrome


So now you've got Chrome installed and you're using it as your primary browser. There are a few little tricks you can use to make it function even better. I'm going to share a few of them with you here:

Upgrade to the Dev Channel
Chrome comes in three flavors: the public version, the beta version, and the developer version. Any updates to the browser are first deployed to the dev version, then trickle down to beta, then once they've been throughly tested, they make it to the public build. When you simply download Chrome from the main download site, you're getting the standard, public version. If you want the beta or developer versions, you have to hunt them down.



I've been using the dev version for months and haven't had a single problem. Theoretically, the dev version is more likely to crash, since it's being used to test experimental new features, but it has never crashed for me...not even once.

But the experimental features you get with the dev version are totally, totally worth it. Most of the stuff I'm going to talk about below requires the dev version, so your first step is to click here and upgrade.

Pin Some Tabs
This feature is really small and seemingly insignificant, but it can be surprisingly helpful when you have a large number of tabs open. Simply right click on any open tab and click Pin Tab. The tab will shrink down and zoom to the left. You can pin as many tabs as you want. It really helps save space and keep your tabs uncluttered:



Make Bookmark Bar Buttons
This little trick will actually work in most modern browsers, not just Chrome. Drag an item to your bookmark bar, then right click on it, and go to Edit. Hit backspace so that the Name box is empty. Click OK. Now you have a tiny little icon for your bookmark, again saving space and decluttering in the process:



Install Some Extensions!
I saved the best for last. Chrome's official extension gallery is coming soon, and for now, only the dev version supports installing extensions at all. But there are some really cool ones that you should definitely check out. Until Chrome's official gallery is up and running, the best place to find them is ChromeExtensions.org. UPDATE:Chrome's extension gallery is now live!


Some of my favorite extensions are Gmail Checker, Wave Checker, bit.ly Shorten URL and RSS Subscriber. If you're a Facebook fan or Twitter fan, there are some nice Facebook extensions and Twitter extensions, too.

Conclusion
Chrome is an incredibly fast browser that is really starting to gain traction in the browser market. I highly recommend it, and these little tips can help to make it an even better experience for you.

P.S. If you're as crazy about Internet speed as I am, you should also check out Google Public DNS. Perhaps I'll write a post about that in the future. :-)

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