I debated where to write this post because I wanted it to reach the right audience. I settled on using my personal blog to reach a more general audience. Typically, I would love to share this with educators, but too much of the Chromium project is beyond the permissions of feasibility of classroom use due to restrictions placed upon them in their school districts.
I think I just lost half my readers, so lets get to it. Google Chrome is a web browser designed for efficiency, simplicity, and stability. It serves as the flagship application for the Chromium Browser Project. If you are Gmail user, you need to install Chrome on all of your computers. The benefit of using Chrome with your Google account is that it syncs your web history, bookmarks, browser themes, preferences, add-ons, and autofill data. Of course, you can customize each sync option if you panic over the idea that Google will use this data against you (maybe they will).
When you install Chrome and open it up for the first time, you’ll notice that seems to lack all the ‘stuff’ that other browsers have. That’s probably because your current browser has been cluttered up with toolbars from your antivirus program, add-on toolbars, and bloatware aplenty. Below, you’ll notice a shot of the Chrome address bar. There’s not much to it, Back, Forward, Home, the universal search box, and to the far right is the customization icon. Of course you can add gobs of additional features and fatten up your browser and it will run just as sluggishly as Firefox and Internet Explorer.
I am using the latest beta release of Chrome because I was eagerly anticipating the Google Cloud Print feature promised. The Cloud Print feature allows you to have one computer connected to printers via a network and sending the print job from another computer using Google Chrome. The print job is sent through your Google Account to the desired workstation. Just note that you should be careful sending sensitive data through the net to be printed in a location you aren’t able to get to anytime soon. If you’re interested in doing more with Cloud Printing, just read through their Frequently Asked Questions and support.
I’ve got five must have add-ons for Chrome. Of course there are many more out there, but here’s my highly biased list.
- goo.gl URL shortener – a service connected to your Google Account that gives you shortened URLs for easier sharing. It collects valuable data regarding the link you share. The data includes clicks, countries, browsers, and platforms accessing your links.
- Delicious bookmarks allows you to sign in to your Delicious account to quickly catalog, tag, and share your bookmarks.
- Chrome2Phone has got to be one of coolest tricks available to Android phone owners. It allows you to send the content you are viewing in your browser directly to your phone. You’ll need to have Android 2.2 or later, but you won’t regret adding this to your must haves.
- Webpage Screenshot helps you easily capture the contents of a web browser to share for training materials, blog entries, or general editing purposes to create publications promoting your website.
- Chromed Bird for all of you Twitter addicts who need another option to access your Twitter feed without another application.
Oh my god, another application ecosystem. I can’t take it anymore. If you have been following tech news lately, you notice that Apple has an App Store, Android has their Marketplace, and Amazon is working on their own App Store. Chrome provides a limited set of apps that you can ‘install’ in your browser. The applications are available in the Chrome Web Store. Some applications are free and others might be available for purchase. The unique thing about this app market is they install inside the browser and sync to your Google Account so it will automatically load in all your Chrome browsers. Some interesting applications I have found include the Full Screen Weather application, the Google Body Browser, and Kid Mode. The application directory is not extensive, but there is hope that more Android developers will adapt their programs to function in Chrome.
Now that I have thrown the entire pile of Chrome features in your lap, I’ll leave it up to you to adopt the latest alternative browser. There are some limitations to Chrome, mostly due to a lack of developer support. Certain financial institutions and multimedia platforms will not work properly, but with time this will change, just as it did for Firefox.
Do you have experiences with Chrome? Are they good or bad? What do you hope to see happen with this web browser in the next year? I imagine we’ll hear about it at this year’s Google IO conference. Either way, it’s up to users to decide the fate or success of this web browser.