Polish up your Chrome skills by checking out these tips for making the most of Google’s web browser
Whenever a new device shows up, people argue about a ‘killer app’ – that one essential that ensures the latest shiny trinket will be a market leader. But the reality is a web browser for most people remains their most-used – and thereby most important – app. And Google Chrome is the best of them.
But although Google Chrome – like all modern web browsers – offers a kind of minimal, stripped-back approach, there are loads of great features and settings you may not know about. This feature is all about discovering the good bits, saving you time and effort, and leaving you with extra hours in which to conduct vital online research – or yell at random strangers on social media.
SPEED UP START-UP
On desktop, open Chrome’s settings and select On start-up. This is by default set to continue on from where you left off. But if you tend to visit the same sites first thing, select Open a specific page or set of pages. If your favourite pages are already open, click Use current pages; otherwise, click Add a new page and enter a URL. Repeat until your list is complete; your set of pages will open next time you launch Chrome.
SECURE YOUR BROWSER
Google encourages you to sign into its apps. This enables them to improve your user experience. Chrome is no exception, because you can sync between devices things like bookmarks and passwords. But that’s not great if someone pilfers your account details and roams about being you. Stop that happening by activating 2-Step Verification (www.google.com/landing/2step/), which requires your phone to confirm new sign-ins.
VIEW REMOTE TABS
When you juggle devices, you may plonk yourself down in front of a PC before realising the page you need is already open on your smartphone. Assuming your devices are signed in, you can quickly view and open such tabs. On mobile, click ⋮ and choose Recent tabs. On desktop, click ⋮ in the main toolbar and then History to see tabs that are open elsewhere, or go to History > Show Full History and click Tabs from other devices.
SEARCH WITH YOUR VOICE
Whichever flavour of Chrome you prefer, there will be a microphone button on the screen. (On desktop and Android, it’s in the search field; on iOS, you’ll find it above the keyboard.) Once you’ve approved access requirements, tap this button, and speak your search query. Chrome will provide the usual results page, but also read out the most salient information, such as a weather forecast or a Wikipedia article synopsis.