Part 6 of our Google Basics series is Google Chrome!
Google Chrome is perhaps so ubiquitous as a web browser that it is actually under appreciated and certainly under utilized.
The core function of any web browser, to act as our portal to the internet, is such a given in today’s world that we often don’t even notice or engage with all the added functionality that a web browser can bring.
Let’s change that!
If you use the rest of the Google ecosystem then there are lots of benefits to using Google’s browser, Chrome.
Although, calling it a browser might be a misnomer because modern browsers do so much more than simply allow you to browse the internet. They can be important and irreplaceable tools for social media management, and improve your productivity!
Now, everyone’s browser will look different based on how we have customized the browser to fit our own needs, but there are some things that are consistent; menus, tabs, the address bar and the tool bar or bookmarks bar.
In Chrome the address bar is called the “Omni Bar” and brings more functionality to the table than simply directing you to web addresses. In Chrome the bar functions as both an address bar and a search bar, bringing to bear the best tool Google has; Google Search. Type anything you want to in the Omni Bar and it will direct you to search results for what you entered. You can type in a math calculation and it will recognize that and direct you to the answer, you can type in flight details and it will bring up a suite of flight prices from various airlines for you to begin browsing, type in a sports event and it will bring you to live game results.
Bookmarks and Navigation
I’ve found that bookmarks, one of the earliest staples of browser functionality, used to be more of a novelty function; you bookmarked niche websites that had funny or interesting information, photos, or videos and saved them for posterity because you couldn’t guarantee that you would be able to navigate to them again.
Now, bookmarks are more of a productivity function; you bookmark those sites you navigate to most often for ease of access. Google’s search function is so robust you can easily find even the most niche content in a matter of seconds such that those sites and that content doesn’t need to be bookmarked anymore.
Adding bookmarks and managing bookmarks is easy; when I want to bookmark a page or site I click the address in the Omnibar and drag it onto the bar and then I like to right click the new bookmark and edit it to take out the text that accompanies the icon, I do this to save space on my bookmark bar; the less text you have on there the more sites you can navigate to more quickly.
Additionally, if you have a lot of bookmarked sites or pages that can be categorized into a handful of themes I will create a bookmark folder and click and drag those icons into the folder to easier navigation of much larger subsets of bookmarks!
You can bookmark productivity sites, social sites, funny cat picture sites, or if you work in the book publishing field you can have a bookmark folder of interesting bookmarks!
Extensions and Web Apps
Browsers are constantly evolving and they took a big leap forward with the creation of extensions; these are tools that allow you to have some added functionality with the ways you interact with web content. For example the Evernote Web Clipper, one of my favourite extensions, allows me to quickly clip and save web content within Evernote for future reference.
Extensions, however, had limited functionality and often only served a single purpose. Now, we have something called Web Apps in Chrome which are full applications embedded in, and run through, your web browser. Web Apps are more robust than extensions and can offer a full suite of features. Think about Google Docs for example, it’s access through your browser but it’s really a fully functional application.
You access Web Apps them by clicking the “Apps” button in the top left of your Chrome window.
My Favorite Extensions
– Allows me to store all my online passwords, access them when i need to, and create very secure versions of those passwords ensuring my information is protected at all times!
Evernote Web Clipper
– One of my all-time favourite tools, allows you to save digital content, from whole pages to specific screenshotted segments, to your Evernote account for future use and reference.
– Allows me to take anything I see online and share it through one of my social media accounts.
– Provides spell checking, grammar corrections, and even checks for plagiarism while typing anywhere online!
– My task manager, allows me to quickly and easily add tasks, or search for tasks, to my workflow from anywhere online. This is a must-have for small businesses!
– Only turned on when I’m managing my YouTube account and videos, this provides an additional layer of functionality to managing my videos that isn’t provided by YouTube itself. Very useful for any content creators.
– This is a very nifty app, it helps to block distractions on the internet when you need to get work done. For example, I can set my daily tasks in Dayboard and every time I open a new tab or navigate to a page with likely distractions it will show me those tasks I set up in order to sort of nudge me back into focus.
Webinar Jam Screen Sharing
– Just as the name suggests this tool allows me to share my screen when conducting a webinar through Webinar Jam. Screen sharing is absolutely pivotal to our process and we couldn’t deliver webinars without this!
– I confess I am a sucker for Bitmoji and my family happens to be excellent at creating my likeness. They did such a good job that I now inundate them with endless hilarious caricatures of myself. They regretted creating one for me almost instantly so if you like to annoy your family as much as I do, create a Bitmoji for yourself and get this extension!
One final note about browsers is that there really is no reason to be monogamous in your browser usage! Different browsers work well for different applications. Something we see all the time here at DottoTech is that when our viewers are watching one of our webinars for example. that the webinar will work better for them on one browser than another. There’s no reason to be exclusive with browsers!
Until next time,
Have fun storming the castle!
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