Ultimate Guide to Google Chrome Browser – Tips & Tricks You Need to Know

by Vishal Toshiwal 1

When an iconic person put music in your pockets, which then later introduced the world to the first ever smartphone, it is still accounted as the greatest achievement of technology era. But who would have thought that putting a touch screen enabled the mobile device in our pockets would evolve in such a way that we would start using as our primary device for doing almost everything. Nowadays we not only use social apps on our smartphones but also browse a lot. And when we talk about Android smartphone, the word browser is synonymous with Chrome.

Though, the interesting part is that the Chrome browser is available for all popular platforms out there such as iOS, and it is compatible with all size devices smartphones to tablets and iPhone to iPad. Over the time Google’s Chrome Browser has become a must have part of our smartphones that we often don’t use it to its full potential. During early stage development of Chrome, the main focus on this browser was speed and page rendering, it was touted as the fastest browser and claimed to have an excellent web page rendering.

While many browsers such as Firefox and Internet Explorer have catch up to the Chrome in desktop experience, but we believe it is the still the best browser for smartphones. Especially for android handset! It was quite some time back when Google announced that its Chrome App should be mandatorily installed on every Android device sold across the world. So, you can imagine the number of potential users it has on a daily basis.

If you’re one of those daily active users of Chrome Browser for Android, well, then you are in a right place. Today, we are going to make you master in using the Chrome application on your device.

Note: We have used Chrome for Android as a benchmark here, while some tips you see below can easily be implemented for iOS or even desktop app.


Table of contents


Getting Started

Setting Up Chrome

You are a first timer on Google’s Chrome Browser, and you need to set it up for the usage. You’re on a right track! It is quite easy to Setup the browser if you’re using it for the first time, which might be because of your new device or recent accidental cleaning of Chrome app data. As you launch the Chrome app on your device, you will see a Welcome screen, where a checkbox needs to be marked if you are interested in sending usage statistics and crash reports to Google. In next window forward you will be asked to sign in using your Google account so that Chrome can sync bookmarks and open tabs. Select the account that you want to use to sync up the data and move forward. That’s it. Now you will see the home screen. Shoot your queries to the Google, which would be the default search engine on the Chrome.

Switching Between Tabs

Older variants of Google Chrome app used to be not very seamless when it comes to switching between opened tabs. But today even the most recent version of the apps has seamless switching between devices. Earlier switching between tabs was gesture based, but it has been changed since quite a while back. Now you will see cards like interface, which is something I reckon is better than the gestured based swipe feature. You can just tap on the box with a number, which is the number of tabs you have opened. It will open cards like interface, where you can scroll through the tabs and tap on any one of them to open.

Though, do make a note that you can add a new tab in this, for that all you got to do is tap on Plus button on the top left corner of the app. If you are looking to launch a new incognito mode, you would have to tap on three dotted buttons on the right-hand side top corner. There you can see the new incognito tab option, clicking on it will load a tab in the separate window. This way you can easily differentiate between the incognito mode and normal browsing mode.

Smart Zooming

I’m sure most of you know how to pinch-zoom while browsing the websites on any browser. Unlike most browsers as well, the Chrome is quite intelligent, and it smartly identifies the need for zoom. To use this feature, all you have to do is a double tap on the area that you want to zoom-in. Once you do that the zoomed-in area will occupy the screen. Meaning Chrome will intelligently zoom into the part of the page, as it will take the entire width of the display. This feature is quite helpful when you are operating one-handedly. Unfortunately, it will only work if you’re browsing desktop websites, as Google automatically disables the Smart Zoom feature if the website is mobile-optimised.

Quick Menu Accessibility

Google Chrome - Quick Menu

Google is known for intuitiveness in its designs and Chrome browser is one of the apps to sport such construction. As it has been said before, design is not what it looks; it is what you can’t see but still able to go through with it quickly. For instance, most Android apps we have experienced that selecting an option is quite a long task, you have to find the menu, launch the menu, then wait for it to appear and then tap the options you want to select. The Chrome has a different and quicker approach, all you have to do is tap on the three dotted menu, which is available on the top bar no matter in which option you are in – of course unless you’re in a Settings area already. Once you tap menu, you can just scroll through the list of menu and select any option as per your will. This all happens in a single motion.

Using Google Voice Search

Google has made sure that you don’t have to struggle to operate in their apps. That’s why apart from manually typing in website URLs you can just quickly do a voice search. Getting access to the Google Voice search in Chrome is made easy. On the home screen itself, you will see space where you need to enter any words or go to URL directly.

In the same bar, you will also notice a microphone icon, when you tap on that Google will ask you to Speak Now. Say the word then it will search the web and show you the results. If you are not on home screen, then you can just tap the address bar once and clear the URL by tapping on X. Now you should see the microphone icon, tap that and Google will ask you to speak so that it can give you the search results.

Basics

Browse Desktop Site on Mobile

You are browsing on Google Chrome and want a Desktop version of the site to be loaded on your Smartphone. Well, it can be entirely possible; all you have to do is request desktop site. Once you do that Chrome browser pretends that you are browsing on a desktop. Since the smartphones sports large displays these days you can easily browse even the desktop website and expect them to load perfectly fine. Note that you can use the pinch to zoom feature or the smart zoom feature while browsing on the desktop websites. Though, we warn you that desktop version of the websites might not load fully in some cases as we have experienced. Coming to the point, you can enable this feature once you tap on the three dotted menu. Then scroll the list to tick mark the checkbox in front of Request desktop site option. And browser will load the desktop version of the site if earlier you saw a mobile version. You can go back to the mobile version if you uncheck the same box.

Browser Data Sync

Don’t deny that Google Chrome has become your daily browser where you do most of your work at professional and personal level. That’s why it is recommended that you maintain separate profiles for personal and professional use. We will go into the creation of these profiles some other time. In this section, we are more concerned to guide on how you can make use of Browser Data Sync feature on Google Chrome.

First of all, you need to login on Chrome using your Google account on all your devices where you use the Chrome browser. It can be a laptop, desktop, smartphone, and tablet. Once you do that tap on the new tab button and then go to recent tabs. There you will see the device from where you have last logged; it will show the last synced time. You can see the Open Tabs, as well as browse the history of other devices from your smartphone. It’s basically useful for people who have lots of devices and don’t want to carry all devices together. So, next time in your morning commute, if you want to browse the websites that you browsed last night, well, all you have to do is go to home screen and tap on recent tabs button. Make sure that you have signed on with the similar Google account on all devices, then only it will work.

Preload Webpages

Google Chrome - Preload Web pages

We have talked about browser data syncing, which lets you access recent tabs on other devices where your Google account is synchronized in Chrome browser. Now it is the time we teach you how you can save time as well as bandwidth. If you didn’t know, Chrome can intelligently prefetch the content in the background and predict that you would click on some desired links. It allows you to browse faster through a lot of content in shorter time. A life-changing improvement for people who have to research a lot and can’t really on slow internet speeds. The preloading feature was introduced sometime in 2011 and is one of the most interesting parts of the Chrome since then. Prefetching is turned ON by default, but if it hasn’t there are some steps that you need to follow. Just tap on the menu settings then head over to the Advanced, tap on Privacy and a new list of options should open. Make sure you have checked the box in front of “Use a prediction service to load pages more quickly”. The above steps are valid for Chrome app on Android. If you don’t want to prefetch the content afterward, juts follow the same steps and uncheck the box. That’s it.

Reduce Data Usage

These days you can see an increase in usage of mobile data as 4G fever has taken up in the country, while if you are from outside India, then your speeds might vary a lot. If it’s high, you shouldn’t have a problem loading heavy websites, while if you have slow speed, well, we suggest you enable inbuilt Data Saver feature on the Chrome. First, we will guide you how you can enable it because we don’t want to waste your time if you don’t think it’s necessary to know how Chrome reduces your data usage.

To enable the Data Saver option on Chrome browser for Android, tap on the menu option, then head over to the Settings. There you will see Data Saver option under Advanced Settings, tapping on that will open a new window. Now all you have to do is toggle the OFF button to ON. After couple minutes of browsing, you should head back here to check the percentage of data you have saved. Original Size Vs After Compression graph would be shown there. While as for the talk of how Google compress these website pages. Well, after you enable this feature Chrome will use Google Servers to compress pages. As soon as you enter a URL, before downloading any pages, Google servers will compress them, so that end files are low in size.

Using Google Cloud Print

Google is known to offer it’s all the popular services on all platforms, may it be Android, Desktop (Powered by Windows or Mac OS) or even iOS, you can expect their certain resourceful service available in all of these platforms. The Cloud Print service is such feature, which is developed for Chrome browser, enabling the users to take a printout of the web pages or even save them in PDF for printing it later. This service was created by Google to allow any Cloud Print-aware application, either on the web, desktop or mobile to work on any device without users needing to install device drivers.

Google introduced this service on Chrome 16 onwards, and it is being believed as quite a useful feature as you can print on-the-go to any wireless printers in your vicinity. Using this service is quite simple. Just tap on the three dotted menu you see on Chrome, then head over to the Print option. Now you should see the Print Preview. Note you can either save it as PDF for later usage, or you could just directly connect to any printer using Wi-Fi or USB connectivity if it’s supported by the printer. You can also change the color, paper size, orientation, as well as pages to be printed, according to needs.

Advanced

Password Management

Google Chrome - Password Management

Chrome is a browser; every browser these days allows you to save passwords. Over the year, save password feature has changed a lot on Chrome. Earlier users didn’t have much control, but in the latest build, you can see a lot of control is given to the users. First, we would go through the procedure to enable the Save Passwords feature on Chrome for Android. It is easy! Launch the Chrome app and tap on three dotted menu. Then, head over to the Settings option by tapping on it. Now under the Basics options, you should see Save Passwords. Tapping on that will open a set of options; all you have to do is toggle the button in front of Save Passwords option. Now once you have switched ON the feature, you should also take care of the other features such as enable the Auto-sign into websites that you have logged in on Chrome. To do so, just tick mark the checkbox in from of Auto Sign-in option, which is the second option in the list. You can late view and manage the saved passwords at passwords.google.com. Below there are two sections; one is where you can see all the saved passwords, while another section is for the sites/web pages for whom passwords are Never Saved. Note you can delete the saved password right away as you tap on them.

Clearing Browsing Data

Internet users have been searching for this thing since the time when the browsers were invented, though, back then it wasn’t quite easier process. Moreover, there wasn’t seem to be a control of clearing a particular set of files such as cookies, site data, cached images, saved passwords, Autofill form data and browsing history. But nowadays you could easily do that, and we are going to teach you how you can do that. First launch the Chrome app on your Android device, then tap on the three dotted menu. Now you have to head over to the Settings. In the new window, find Privacy option under Advanced section and tap on it. Scroll down the list and you should see last option as the Clear browsing data. Once you tap on that lots of options would appear, one of which allows you to erase data according to the time. You can either select from the drop down menu to clear data of the past hour, a day, a week, last four weeks or beginning of time when you started using Chrome on your Android device. Select the boxes that you would like to clear and tap on Clear Data. Note that clearing this out will not remove the Saved site settings and may definitely reflect your browsing habits.

Accepting Cookies

Well, this has become an integral part of great browsing experience, without storing cookies data, websites can’t understand your preferences, and you would have to frequently sign-in with your credentials every time you visit that website. To make browsing websites on mobile seamless and painless experience, Chrome offers storing of the Cookies data, which allows websites to save and read cookies data. Enabling this feature is quite easy. Just launch the Chrome browser on your Android device. Then, tap on the three dotted menu button, where you have to select the Settings option. In a new window, you should scroll down and head to Site Settings option. There tap on the Cookies option and switch the toggle button to ON. You can also make sure that third-party websites can also save and read cookie data for better browsing experience by marking the checkbox.

Enable Location Services

Google Chrome - Location

These days a lot of websites ask to check the location of the user, which helps in identifying and targeting the right content. For instance, if you are visiting a popular technology portal, it will ask for your location based on that website will fetch the localized content to you. Thus, empowering website to deliver the regionalized content to its users. Though, it all depends on users if they want to disclose their location to website or not. To control the settings for location access, you have to head over to the Setting of Chrome. That can be done once you launch the app and tap on the three dotted menu. Head over to the Site Settings option that you see under Advanced section. Now you will see a location option tapping on that will open a new window. Make sure that the toggle button in front of the option is switched ON. Otherwise, websites can get your location without asking for permission. If this option is enabled, they can’t access the location unless you allow it.

Auto-fill forms

Autofilling the content is not a new thing; it has been around since quite a lot time. If you are asking what Auto-fill is, well, in brief, it is a function that typically contains form fields that are automatically filled. For convenience, web browser offers such feature where you can just auto-fill your contact details such as Name, Phone Number, E-mail Address, Residence Address, etc. Chrome also offers the Auto-fill feature on its Android app, which benefits for faster browsing as users don’t have to type in every time their names and other details such as Credit Card.

This is recommended only if you feel safe putting your private information in the hands of Google. Further, we will guide you how to enable the Auto-fill on this app. First, launch the Chrome app on your Android device, and then head over to menu options. There you would have to tap on Settings. Now under the Basics section, you can see the Auto-fill forms option, tapping on it will open a new window. Once you are in a new window, then all you have to do is toggle the button to ON. Note that you can add new as well as edit the current auto-fills.

Sweet Hacks

Do Not Track

We all want a little privacy while browsing the content on our smartphones or may it be a desktop. It is one of the most demanded features of a browser these days. That is why all the browsers must offer such functionality. Chrome introduced Do No Track feature around half a decade ago. What does Do Not Track feature do? Well, once you enable this feature on Chrome the Android app will include a request to the website that they do not track your browsing traffic. As from which website you have come from or which link you are going to. It includes such things. But do make a note that it all depends on the website to respond to your request, they can either accept it or deny it. Honoring it is all voluntary.

Many web pages would still collect browsing data to improve security on their site as well as provide content, ads, and recommendation based on that statistical behavior of yours. Enabling the feature is quite easy, first launch the Chrome app on your Android device. Then, tap on the three dotted menu. Now Scroll through the list to find Settings. Once you are inside the settings, simply head over to the Privacy option under Advanced section. A new window will open; there you can find the Do Not Track option as you scroll down. Opening that will see a toggle button; switch it ON in order to enable the feature. That’s it.

Touch to Search

Google Chrome - Touch to Search (1)

This is one of the major recent additions that were introduced on Chrome Android app last year. Touch to Search brings up results in a card present on the bottom of the screen, once user highlights a text. As that card is pulled up, you can see a full page search results for that text. You can see a similar type of functionality on Google on Tap, which was introduced on Android Marshmallow Stock Launcher last year. While not many Android handsets come with the Stock UI, the Chrome app is bundled on almost every Android smartphone. So, you can make use of this Touch to Search feature on your Chrome browser and conveniently search for the texts on any website. Enabling this is quite easy, just launch the Chrome app first, then tap on three dotted menu. You should see a list of option, scroll through it and head over to the Settings. Now tap on Privacy option that you see under Advanced section. Once you have opened the new window, scroll through it and tap on Touch to Search option. You can now enable the feature by toggling the button to ON. Well, that was easy.

Text Scaling

Despite considerably small screens on our smartphones, we use them to browse lots of content on the web. While Google nowadays demands that the websites should be mobile friendly as most of its search queries come from mobile devices. So, it was evident of the company that they would want decently scaled texts, images and video sizes on the websites it showcases in the top list. While many websites still don’t play by Google’s rules and users would have to experience poor text size. That’s why Chrome browser had to come to the rescue. There is a feature in the Chrome that allows it to modify the text size by zooming the whole web page. Moreover, you don’t have to apply it every time you want to zoom-in, as it can be applied to all web pages you browse on the app.

To activate this feature, you have to launch the Chrome app on your device, then head over to the Settings option in the menu. Once you are inside the Settings, scroll to the Accessibility option as you tap on that you will see a slider where you can easily modify the default content size from smaller (50%) to larger (200%). Hold the pointer and slide to the desired size as you see the preview in below box. You can also enable the force zoom option that will override the website’s request to prevent the zooming in. It is quite useful as many websites for some reason don’t allow you to zoom in by double-tapping or pinching.

Find in Page

We are all fond of CTRL + F feature on desktop, which makes life easier as you don’t have to manually look for specific words on a web page. For people, who do a lot of work on their desktop, they will understand the need for such feature. While these days we all also like to do our most browsing on mobile devices. Up until now, we have taught you a lot of tips and tricks on how you can improve your browsing experience on your Android device while using Chrome browser. With this neat feature, you can fulfill the Find feature on your mobile as well.

The experience is similar to the desktop, but far more suitable for touch-enabled devices such as smartphones. Using Find in Page is quite satisfying, just enter any word in the Omnibox and see the magic. Once you type a word, it should showcase the first place where the word is present on the web page. As you tap down button, you will be directed to the second found location of the word. This way you can continue your quest to find the appearance of that word all over the web page. Moreover, you can scroll through the appearances quickly by accessing it via the sidebar. Isn’t it swell!

Sharing Made Easy

Google Chrome - Sharing

Google has made sharing quite easy on any Android smartphone when it comes to sharing content between the apps. The Android system gives a lot of flexibility as you can share content between two different genre apps quite easily. It is a helpful gesture of system, but at the same time can be messy too. Particularly for use with a long list of apps installed on their system. So, whenever you tap on the share button, you see a long list of options to search from and then after lots of searching you find it. Google has done something to eradicate this issue while sharing content from Chrome. While sharing from Chrome for Android app, you will see a neatly added feature, which shows the icon of the app that you recently used for sharing. Meaning your last used app will be turn up right next to the Share button you see once you tap the three dotted menu button. Thus, making it easier to share content with your frequently used app.

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Congratulation reader, you have successfully mastered the Google Chrome Browser using this extensive guide on PhoneRadar.

Vishal Toshiwal

Born in West India, raised in the North and currently chasing dreams in the southern part of India- Vishal is an entrepreneurial spirit, a tech enthusiast and a writer by profession, who is busy taking pictures when he is not writing. He would love to talk to you about the latest movies, TV shows and DC/Marvel comics. As a personal rule, he doesn't let a day get by without at least one dessert. Because, why not?

  • Nebu Cherian

    Vishal has been the master of these long detail guides….another good one and another one that goes into my Pocket Reader