Shortly after Google Chrome launched, we came out with a guide outlining a few of its features and some useful tips and tricks. Now almost 3 years later, Chrome has grabbed a sizeable portion of the browser market share and has become the default browser for many users. During its growth, Chrome has matured greatly and especially its address bar (commonly known as the “Omnibox“) has become a playground for useful features. In this article, I will highlight some of those useful features.
1. Perform searches using the Omnibox
It is fairly simple to use the Omnibox to perform a search. Key in the query and hit Enter. However, often when you type in a query, a website shows up in the results list.
If instead, you wish to do a pure Google Search, simply put a “?” before your query.
This will perform a Google search rather than loading the URL.
2. Perform basic calculations
The Omnibox is almost like an extension of Google Search so if you wish to perform some type of calculation or unit conversion, simply input it into the Omnibox.
The result will be displayed right there in the drop-down list.
Safari: SafariOmnibar is a simple plug-in for Safari that removes the search box from Safari and extends the location bar all the way across the top of the window. It also allows you to search by typing your search term into the location bar.More »
If there's one single thing that truly sets Chrome apart from its herd of rivals, it's the Omnibar. Chrome users already know and love this feature, but Google's just made it possible for developers to create extensions that will push it even farther ahead of the competition by providing an API for it. Now, there are already huge numbers of extensions available for Chrome -- many of which we here at Download Squad couldn't live without -- but none of them have thus far been able to make full use of the Omnibar.
As an example of how the API can be used, take a look at Switch to Tab, shown above. It allows users who leave ridiculous amounts of tabs open to use the Omnibar to search them all for the specific tab they need to find. It only shows up to 5 results right now, but the concept is pretty decent just the same -- and there's no telling what kind of goodies that devs will come up with now that they can treat a browser's address bar like a command line.
Google recently release Google Instant, a new feature that enables you to perform real-time search. If you are using Google Chrome and is planning to integrate the Google Instant functionality to the search bar (aka omnibar), here is the way to do it.
Note: The below method is currently available for Windows only. Mac and Linux version are not supported at the moment.
1. Download and install Google Chrome dev channel. If you have previously pin the Chrome icon to your taskbar, unpin it.
2. Go to “Start -> All Programs -> Google Chrome“. Right click on the Google Chrome entry and select Properties.
3. Enter “
--enable-match-preview” at the end of the shortcut target. Click Ok.
4. Launch Google Chrome from the Start menu. The real time search preview page should appear once you start typing at the omnibar.
Just announced on Tuesday, Google Instant has already been integrated into Google Chrome's Omnibar (though only in the Canary build for now). When I saw various people tweeting about wanting the feature integrated over the past few days I wasn't certain Instant would be a good fit. After all, the Omnibar already offers a certain amount of "instant" functionality.
Now that I've used it, I'm still not sure. As you can see in the header image, Google sometimes misinterprets the Omnibar requests. By sometimes, I mean more often than not in my own testing. When Instant integration does work, you'll see the Google results appear atop the page you're currently browsing -- check my brief video after the break to see Chrome Instant in action. This is, of course, only the very first cut and Google does like to "release early, iterate often." Once the feature has been shined up a bit, I'll certainly give it another try.
I also find it interesting that Google Instant wasn't added to the about:labs page in Chrome. In the Canary build, we're still left with side tabs as the only feature which can be activated there. Adding command line switches is easy enough on Windows, though, and since that's the only OS on which you can run Canary right now just right click your shortcut and add --enable-match-preview to your target (after chrome.exe).
After you give it a shot, share your thoughts in the comments. I don't think I'd want Instant enabled by default -- I'm quite happy with the Omnibar the way it is.
[via Google OS]
A handy tip from reader swc_oxcart for anyone giving Chrome Web Apps a try in the development version: right-click on a web app pinned tab, and you'll see a "Show toolbar" option. While Chrome's no-address-bar web apps are helpful in focusing on just one site, if you need to copy a URL or reach your extension buttons, this restores them to their standard place. [#tips] More »
Here is an extended tutorial about updating Twitter status (posting to Twitter) from Google Chrome Omnibar (URL bar). The result feature is somewhat similar posting to Twitter from Firefox's address bar using TwitterBar extension/add-on for Firefox.
1. Make sure that you have the latest Google Chrome version. We used the latest Google Chrome 188.8.131.52 BETA for this tutorial.
2. Open "Options" from the settings button on the top right corner: