Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Multiple Chrome-gasms

Note 1: I know, I know. I haven't blogged a lot lately. <- One clichéd sentence which is to be found far too often on the blogs of people who "think" they are regular bloggers, and "think" that they attract a decent blog-o-dience. So, I will avoid it. Though, I swear that there have been atleast five instances in the last three months, when I almost got myself to write something random that had popped into my head.

Note 2: It was only a little more than 2 years ago that I liked Firefox so much, that I likened it to a cake, a suggested Icing for it. 2 years later, here I am, broken-up with Firefox, in love with Chrome, so much, that I thought I should write about it. Also, this is a cheap way for me to get a new post up on my blog.

Google Chrome was awesome. But now, Google Chrome has become so much more super-mega-dooper-awesome, had it been a girl, I would have married her. Yaa yaa, don't give me the looks just yet. Read on!

I will try to avoid wasting your and my time, by assuming that you know that cutting edge is baked right into Chrome, like the silent updates, amazing omnibar, neat Translate integration, slick memory management, a separate task manager, minimalist design (down to the last pixel), blazing JavaScript engine, and advanced download experience (oh the joy when you click on a file currently downloading, and it goes "Opening in x seconds..." ), to name a few among several others. And who can deny that the incognito mode comes handy in times of need.

So, let me not talk about all that, and instead talk about the additional things that make Chrome awesome (for me).

Let me start by introducing 'Incredible Start Page'. This replaces the standard 'New tab' interface of Chrome, and, well, this is what my 'New tab' page looks like now, and I love it!

Incredible Start Page

Sync. Sync. Sync.
'Sync (to Cloud)' is a buzzword in tech today, and not without reason.

So, you can setup sync in Chrome ( Options -> Personal Stuff -> Set up sync ), which will sync your apps, extensions, bookmarks, and autofill information, among other things, to your Google account. And with Chrome 16, comes multiple profiles ( Options -> Personal Stuff -> Users ). So, next time you are somewhere other than your own computer, just create a new user, and login using your credentials, voila, the browser becomes yours. Multiple profiles is good to have on your own computer, if several people are using it, or you need to open more than one GMail/Facebook account in the browser.

Adding to this capability is the Chrome extension 'Context', which lets you profile "extensions" usage. So, you can have a different set of extensions for work, for home, for playing games, for idle browsing, and so on. Neat.

Also, we have the 'Fresh Start - Session Manager', which saves all your current tabs as a session (which is synced to your Google account), which you can restore later.

Search engines! Custom search engines feature in Chrome is sweet! This is how it works:

Right click on the omnibar, and click 'edit search engines' (or you could go to "chrome://settings/searchEngines" ). Under 'Other search engines', you can set up the 'Name', the 'Keyword', and the 'URL', in that order. The "%s" parameter gets replaced by your query when you type it into the omnibar using the keyword. In layman's terms, I have this setup on my browser, in order of the columns:

Imdb Search | imdb |

Subtitles | srt |[Subscene]&title=%s

Facebook | fb |

Wikipedia | wiki |

Twitter Status Update | tweet |

In effect, if I have to find something on wikipedia, I type "wiki", hit space/tab, type my query, hit enter, and voila, the page opens up! So on for searching imdb, subtitles, facebook, and yes, updating my twitter status. Sweet.

Happy creating-your-own-custom-search!


When Google first launched Apps for Chrome, they were nothing more than fancy bookmarks for websites. Well, this has changed today. Apart from the variety and range of apps available, it is their functionality which has undergone a drastic make-over, the key being, offline capabilities. So, apps now, are neat little small packages of happiness residing inside your browser with tremendous offline and online capabilities.

We have games you can play offline, like 'Angry Birds'.

And then there are games which I have played so many times, that I see them in my dreams now - 'Bejeweled'

Then we have games which defy what has been done inside browsers up until now, like 'Bastion'. Seriously, you have to see it to believe it.

We have apps that takes your mail offline - 'Offline Google Mail'.

We have a full fledged offline scientific calculator - 'Scientific Calculator'.

And, and, we have an app to remotely connect and control other computers - 'Chrome Remote Desktop' !

The day is nigh when all we would need would be a browser!  

Handy Extensions.

This post would be incomplete without my mentioning some of the very useful extensions.

I have this habit of opening several youtube windows in my browser, and then play them one after the other. Well, after a while, navigating to the tabs and individually playing them becomes annoying. Enter, 'Video Controller', which complies all the open youtube tabs into a neat playlist.

Sometimes. you don't want to bookmark pages, you just want to read them later, like in an hour or so. And the open tabs annoy the hell out of you. Well, there is 'Page Snooze' for you.

'Google Dictionary', to quickly find definitions. 'efTwo', a more than brilliant replacement of the standard 'Find on page' in the browser. Try it to discover awesomeness. 'Cloudy Calculator', for quick calculations. and 'World Clocks', for people working with people across several time-zones.

Ah, and for the Google Plus fanboys, do checkout 'Google + Notifications', 'Google +1 button', and the 'Hangout Canopy', for discovering live public hangouts! :)

Chrome webstore.
Google has a very well cataloged webstore for extensions and apps.

Chrome experiments.
And, Google also features experiments to show what could be done inside a browser. My favorite is - 'The Wilderness Downtown'.

Do tell me what your favorite Chrome feature/extensions are in the comments! OR, you can contact me directly! :)

Multiple Chrome-gasms...

P.S.: No, Google did not give me any money to write this. Though, I wouldn't mind some.

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