One feature I still miss when switching between Chrome and Firefox is support for bookmark keywords, which make launching sites from the address bar a breeze. Chrome's Omnibar does a fairly good job of finding what we want to launch from standard input (e.g. gmail), but it would be nice to have straight-up keywords (like gm). Sebastian showed you one method using custom search engines -- but those don't sync, so it's not an ideal situation.
Quickmarks is up to the task. Simply install the extension, and then do some manual editing. Any bookmark that you'd like to launch via a keyword needs to have [keyword] appended to its name. For example, you can right click your Gmail bookmark and choose edit, change its name to Gmail [gm], and Quickmarks is now able to launch it.
To open a bookmark using its keyword, simply click into the Omnibar or tap Ctrl+L B [space] and then enter your keyword. The B trigger tells the Quickmarks entension to fire up and watch for keyword input.
Since Chrome can sync both your extensions and your bookmarks, once your [keywords] are sent to the cloud you'll have access to them on all your Chrome installs.
It occurred to us, after writing yesterday's list of Chrome keyboard shortcuts, that there was one glaring omission: bookmark shortcuts.
Not only does the Bookmark Bar take up valuable real estate, but no one really wants to click through folders of bookmarks to find what you're looking for.
Now, Firefox has 'Smart bookmarks', which lets you add a keyword to a bookmark. Chrome, however, only lets you assign keywords (and thus keyboard shortcuts) to search engines.
Fortunately, with a little bit of hacking, that doesn't matter.
Gamers and other enthusiasts know the importance of keeping their video card's drivers current, but it's not something the vast majority of the computing public pays any attention to. If the computer is running OK, there's no need to update drivers, right?
As it turns out, there's a very good reason to update: your old driver might be causing your Web browser to crash excessively. That's what Google is reporting over at the Chromium blog. If you're surfing with Chrome and using an outdated driver, it could be wreaking havoc with Chrome's GPU acceleration and WebGL features.
Along with HTML5 support and tracking protection, hardware acceleration has become part of the 'geeky trinity' of features to trumpet in next-gen Web browsers. As developers tap deep into your computer's hardware to squeeze out additional performance gains, keeping your drivers fully updated -- especially for the graphics card which is handling all that accelerated rendering -- is going to be very, very important.
If you really want to make the most of Chrome's speed, what you need is is a bevy of keyboard shortcuts. Check them out!
- Alt+F or Alt+E -- Open the Wrench (Tools) menu (you can then use the arrow keys to navigate it...)
- Ctrl+Shift+B -- Toggles the Bookmarks Bar on and off
- Ctrl+D -- Bookmark your current Web page
- Ctrl+Shift+D -- Bookmarks all of your open Web pages in one folder
- Ctrl+J -- Opens the Downloads tab
- Shift+Esc -- Opens the 'Task Manager', which you can use to close errant tabs/processes
- Ctrl+Shift+J -- Opens the Chrome Developer Tools (which are surprisingly good!)
- Ctrl+L -- Selects your current page's URL (and puts the cursor in the address bar)
- Ctrl+Backspace -- Deletes one word/phrase to the left of your cursor in the address bar
- Ctrl+G -- Finds the next instance of your search term (Ctrl+F!) Ctrl+Shift+G finds the previous instance
- Ctrl+U -- View the source of your current page
- Ctrl+R -- The same as F5 (might be faster for some people to type)
- Ctrl+1(2, 3, 4, etc) -- Switch to the tab designated by the number (from the left)
- Ctrl+Shift+T -- Re-open the most recently closed tab
What about all us Windows, Mac, and Linux users? Well, now we can get in on the action, too, even though the Chrome Web Store loudly proclaims ** THIS APP REQUIRES A CHROME NOTEBOOK **!
Your operating system can run processes in the background -- things like realtime antivirus protection and streaming movies and music around your home -- and so can Google Chrome. Background apps have existed in Chrome and Chromium for some time, but now that the Chrome Web Store is open and its apps are available for installation, Google has posted a blog about why backgrounding is cool.
It's really all about Chrome being your "OS" even if you're using a Windows or Mac computer. With the ability to run Web apps in the background and Native Client support headed to the beta and stable channels in relatively short order, Chrome Web Apps will soon be capable of doing many of the same things your traditional desktop apps can do.
Google's post talks about using backgrounding to issue notifications (as apps like TweetDeck and exfm do) or to prefetch data. There's really no end to the possibilities, and we're exited to see what the next generation of Chrome Web Apps can really do.
It might only be a couple of years old and its extension interface might not be quite as powerful as Firefox's, but in terms of developers, big-name publishers, and sheer numbers, Chrome already has a very healthy ecosystem of add-ons.
When you factor in Chrome's exclusive selection of Web apps, it's even possible to say that Chrome has a wider variety of extensions -- or at least until Mozilla launches its Open Web Apps later in the year.
Still, as always, the problem with add-ons is finding the right ones. You have thousands of add-ons to choose from, and only a handful that are actually worth using. First-time users haven't got a snowball's chance -- unless they read this list of must-have extensions!
But this list of extensions is for converts, too. With massive defections from Internet Explorer and Firefox, Chrome has grown from just a few million users in 2009 to over 120 million at the start of 2011. Firefox users will be especially pleased to find almost every add-on has a comparable extension -- and IE users... well, they'll just be glad to have any extensions at all.
Whether you are looking for helpers or shortcuts, or full-blown Web apps, you will be pleasantly surprised with the variety and power of Chrome's extensions.
CueThat is a slick little browser add-on that lets you add any movie you happen upon while browsing the Web to your Netflix queue. Just highlight a title, right click and choose CueThat from your context menu, and voila: it's added to your list. It even works with movies that are still only screening in theaters.
CueThat is offered as an extension for both Firefox and Chrome, though the bookmarklet works just as well and is usable in any Web browser. It's well worth adding to your bookmark toolbar if you're a Netflix user who hunts for movie reviews or recommendations while browsing the Web.
Just install SpellBook and use Chrome's bookmark manager to drop your bookmarklets into the folder the extension creates. Now when you want to fire up you favorite marklet, you can simply click your right mouse button, hover over SpellBook, and then click the one you want to execute. The extension also adds two-click access to the Chrome bookmark manager.
Looking for some handy bookmarklets to install, too? Check out our list of favorites -- and remember, they'll work in practically any Web browser!
Google's Chrome beta update brings with it a slew of goodies for the adventurous users who prefer slightly more cutting-edge features over tried-and-true stability. Version 10.0.648.82 hit the beta channel earlier today, and it affected just about every piece of the browser, from the settings interface to the rendering engine.
Browser settings are now opened in their own tab, as opposed to a separate window. The added space and cleaner layout that this provides is actually quite nice, and when you think about it, a browser that can use multiple tabs really has no reason to make new windows at all, so it just makes sense. One cool side-effect of moving settings into a tab is that they're actually browsable, meaning that if you get good enough at it, you can go directly to the page for certain settings just by using its address -- like "chrome://settings/advanced" or "chrome://settings/browser."
If you use access Gmail in Google Chrome on your computer, you can now view PDF attachments using Chrome's built-in viewer. The Chrome PDF plug-in is faster than the Google Docs previewer, its rendering accuracy is better, and you don't have to change settings anywhere for this to take effect. Just use Gmail in Google Chrome and the 'view' link will automatically open your file in the Chrome PDF viewer.
The change is also nice because Chrome's PDF plug-in actually lets you print, unlike the previewer which can only manage recursion printing (it generates a PDF of your PDF).
Google has made it clear that it wants to clean up its search results -- eliminating worthless cruft like the content farms which spam searchers with low-value (and often plagiarized) content. Now, the company has announced a new Google Chrome extension which they hope will aid in the fight.
Called Personal Blocklist, the extension allows Google Chrome users to blacklist certain domains when results appear in Google Search. Click the icon in the browser actions area to see which domains you've blocked, unblock a site, or edit its particulars.
At least one other Chrome extension which provides this functionality has been listed in the Gallery for some time, but the difference here is that blocks will be reported to Google. Google, in turn, will look at user data and possibly use that information to improve its search quality.
Install Personal Blocklist for Google Chrome, and start helping fight search spam!
I don't often need to open a PDF file, and when I do it's typically something I'm looking at in my Web browser. Since I'm using Google Chrome, the built-in PDF viewer is what I use 90% of the time. I do, however, get the odd email at my day job (where we don't use webmail) with a PDF attachment I need to read.
So I thought, "why not open those in Chrome, too?" It's easy enough to set up. Here's how to do it.
First, locate your Google Chrome executable. The easiest way to do this is to right-click your Chrome shortcut and choose properties from the menu. In the box labeled target, you'll see the complete path to Chrome.exe. Highlight that text and copy it to your clipboard.
One of the oldest -- yet somehow least-lauded projects in existence -- is Mycroft. Perhaps its under-hypedness is due to its total simplicity -- Mycroft is nothing more than a massive directory of search plug-ins that you can add to Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer. Check the top 100, and you'll get some idea of Mycroft's scale.
For Firefox and Internet Explorer, this means you can search just about every site in existence from the Search bar in the top right corner of your browser. For Chrome users, this means you get even more functionality from the uber Omnibar.
Incidentally, Chrome users, did you know that you could use specific search engines from the Omnibar? When you grab a search plug-in, make sure you provide a keyword. Make it something short -- like 'pb' for Pirate Bay or 'imdb' for IMDb -- and then, when you want to search The Pirate bay, just type pb, followed by your search term.
The extension is also very configurable, allowing you to show or hide the search box, move it to the top, limit the amount number of days of history to display, and more. Got another favorite quick-access feature for Chrome? Share it in the comments!
Google has promoted three major Chrome features from the beta channel to the stable build. With the latest version of Chrome, all users can take advantage of WebGL, Chrome Instant and the Chrome Web Store.
WebGL brings hardware-accelerated 3D rendering to Chrome, making for some amazing graphics that could have gaming implications in the future. Right now, you can see it in action in several impressive demos. Chrome Instant will have a bigger immediate impact on users' day-to-day browsing. It loads your frequently-visited pages as you type into the address bar. No enter key required!
For folks who love extensions, themes and Web apps, the Chrome Web Store is the most important new feature. Now that the Web Store is open to all U.S. customers, Google has added a Web Store link and a couple of demo apps to the new tab page in the latest version of Chrome. They've also assured international users that the Web Store will be expanding to other countries soon.
As always, if you run Chrome, it will download the update automatically -- but you'll need to close and re-open it for the update to be applied.
Google isn't just bringing the Chrome Browser to Pwn2Own 2011 -- this time, it's also bringing its own hardware. The Cr-48 Chrome OS laptop will be on hand for the browser exploiting hullabaloo, and Google is offering $20,000 and a CR-48 notebook for a successful exploit. According to the event's organizer, the attacker will also need to escape Chrome's sandbox. At last year's event, prominent researcher Charlie Miller said that's no easy task, so we're very curious to see whether someone will succeed this time around.
Offering cash for exposing vulnerabilities isn't anything new for Google, of course. The Big G just paid one developer $7,500 for finding a trio of vulnerabilities in Chrome back in January.
Roman Nurik has done it again. Nurik created the Android theme for Google Chrome, which has long been one of the most popular entries in the Chrome Extensions Gallery. Now he's released the next logical progression, a 'holographic' Honeycomb theme.
With inspiration taken from Android 3.0, Nurik's latest dumps the PCB pattern for diagonal stripes and blue-on-blue geometrics on the new tab page. It's every bit as well done as his original and we're curious to see if Honeycomb racks up as many installs as Android.