Chrome's hidden power

Google’s Chrome browser is gaining in popularity by the day. As a recent convert to Chrome I am still getting my bearings when it comes to navigation but along the way I’ve found all manner of interesting side alleys and tricks.

About:Pages

Chrome ships with a completely stripped down interface, so much so that a first-timer might even struggle to work out how to find their bookmarks. But under the hood Chrome has a load of additional features, most of which are accessed as about:pages. Type these into the URL bar and be rewarded with loads of data. Among these are:

about:memory

This shows how much memory the browser is using. It also helpfully includes information on how much memory is being consumed by extensions and various helper apps. It also lists open tabs and how much memory is being consumed by those.

about:plugins

This lists all the extensions installed in your Chrome browser as well as filetypes supported.

about:stats

This lists a host of counters and timers. It also has a silly title: “Shhh! This page is secret!”.

There are many other about:pages worth trying out (though not all these will work on all versions of Chrome). You can try: about:network, about:internets, about:histogram, about:dns and about:cache.

Tricks

Apart from digging under the hood with about:pages there are also a host of additional features in Chrome that make it compelling, once you know about these features. Among these are:

Open multiple windows on startup

Some of us actually want more than one tab to be opened when we start up Chrome (like our email, Google Reader, favourite news sites). On Chrome you can do this by opening up the preferences (the wrench icon), selecting the “Basics” tab and choosing “Open the following pages” in the startup section.

Pin tabs

Very often you have a tab open which you want to keep open throughout the day. But as you open and close other tabs it can get lost in the clutter. The solution is to right-click on the tab and “pin” it. This reduces the size of the tab and pins it to the left of your browser. So you always know where your GMail tab is.

Appify your favourites

This is not unique to Chrome but it is cool. If you’re using a web application, such as Hootsuite or ChromeDeck you might not want it to run in a tab amongst all your other tabs. Instead, make it into a standalone application that you can run from your menu system or desktop. To do this open the page you want to “appify”, click on the wrench and then on “tools” . Then select “Create Application Shortcuts”. This brings up a box for creating various launcher shortcuts for your menu system and desktop.

Calculations

Who needs a calculator when you have Chrome? If you want to do a quick sum type it into the URL bar. Don’t hit enter and wait a second or so. A dropdown will appear with the answer. You can also use most common mathematical symbols so “25% of (43+25)” would return what you would expect.

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Chrome's hidden power