Chrome tips and tricks for better browsing

by James Gaskin -- Chrome, the Google browser, made a high profile entrance and quickly gained a following, especially for the snappy JavaScript processing. These tips for better browsing with Chrome are from Jerri Ledford, co-author of Web Geek's Guide to Google Chrome, published this summer by Que.

Tabs in a browser aren't new, and Chrome follows Firefox and even Internet Explorer into the world of tabs. Chrome adds some new tricks, though. You can click and drag a tab off into it's own window at any time. You can drag tabs between open Chrome windows. Even more fun, you can drag any link up to the tab area and it will open a new tab.

Besides the JavaScript processing speed, Chrome uses some DNS pre-fetching tricks to speed up browsing. When on a page with a dozen links, Chrome will rank the links in order of popularity to anticipate your next click. The algorithms for this seem to be based on adwords and search history, but Google will not, of course, give details.

All browsers today allow you to set your home page. In Chrome, go to Tool. Options > Basics to set the group of Web pages you want opened when you start Chrome.

Just like Firefox, Control-T opens a new tab and Control-N opens a new window. Control-Shift-N opens a new "incognito" window that keeps sites you visit out of the browser history. When forced to work hands-on at a user's computer, the incognito window will keep your page browsing out of the user's reach.

Version 3.0 and up allows new skins for Chrome (Tool > Options > Personal Stuff). There are about 30 now, but more will be added over time. If you don't like the minimalist look, change it.

Although Chrome doesn't offer detailed configuration access like Firefox with their about:config command, there are some about: commands that open up details to view. About:version shows the version, about: dns lists all the DNS records held by Chrome, about:plugins lists loaded helper apps, about:memory shows current memory usage, and about:cache opens up the internal URL cache. Since Chrome is solid, you can see the humorous crash screen by putting about:crash in the address bar. Version 3.0 and up includes about commands for stats (secret stats page), network (current status), and ipc (interprocess communication details).

Google's Chrome operating system causes some confusion with the Chrome browser. No doubt that will get worse when, according to Ledford, some netbooks running the Chrome OS may hit the streets at the end of the year. Merry Christmas.

Web Geek's Guide to Google Chrome Jerri Ledford, Yvette Davix Published Jun 9, 2009 by Que

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