[Google Chrome Tutorial] Quick Access to Chrome Settings by URL

In this Google Chrome Tutorial column, we from time to time refer to different setting pages in Chrome.  Usually I ask you to click the wrench icon, then select something, then something, then something…  Do we have a simpler way to access to these setting pages?

Yes, Chrome is all about web pages.  Not only Chrome web apps are web pages, all Chrome functional pages are also web pages.  If you know the URL of a setting page, just enter it in Chrome’s address bar (omni bar), you can access that page directly.


Google Chrome Tutorial – Shortcuts to Chrome Settings

Here are the URLs of the most frequently used setting pages in Chrome:

Settings/Options/Preferences – chrome://settings

Settings > Basic – chrome://settings/browser

Manage Search Engines – chrome://settings/searchEngines

Settings > Personal Stuff – chrome://settings/personal

Setup Google Sync – chrome://settings/syncSetup

Manage Saved Passwords – chrome://settings/passwords

Autofill Options – chrome://settings/autofill

Settings > Under the Hood – chrome://settings/advanced

Privacy Content Settings – chrome://settings/content

Clear Browser Data – chrome://settings/clearBrowserData

Settings > Extensions – chrome://settings/extensionSettings


History – chrome://history

Downloads – chrome://downloads

Bookmarks Manager – chrome://bookmarks

Import Bookmarks and Settings – chrome://settings/importData

Print – chrome://print

Help – https://support.google.com/chrome/?hl=en (this is the Help page on Google’s site)


How to use these URLs?  The best way is to save them to the Bookmarks Bar.  If the “show bookmarks bar” option enabled, you can easily get access to the most frequently used setting pages without the hassle of going through the menu.  Simply drag the URL to the bookmark bar to bookmark it.  Or you can manually add the URLs in Bookmarks Manager.

Google Chrome Tutorial - Add Chrome Setting Pages to Bookmark

Mastering Google Chrome Search Function

Every Friday I’ll publish a Google Chrome tutorial article. Want to learn more and master this state of the art browser? SUBSCRIBE to RSS feed or email updates to get more!

Probably most of you must have used the Google Chrome search function before.  The quickest way to perform a search in Chrome is by typing the word in the address bar and hit enter.  Google Chrome is famous for combining search with address bar (to become the Omnibox).

But to perform a search in Google Chrome is more than just using the Omnibox.  In this post I’ll walk you through some of the most useful search-related functions and settings in Google Chrome.


Google Chrome Search with Omnibox

The use of address bar as search bar is smart.  Nowadays many internet users open a browser to search for something: dog training tips, pop star news, bargain deals, recipes…  Why bother to go to Google.com first?  While many other browsers place a search box to the right of the address bar, Google takes a further step by dissolving it into the address bar.

To search in Google Chrome, simply enter the words in the address bar and press <Enter>.  By default Chrome remembers your browsing history, whenever you type in something it tries to match it with sites you previously visited before.  So you may not even need to perform a search before you found what you want.

Google Chrome Search - Omnibox

Source: Google Chrome Introductory Comic http://www.google.com/googlebooks/chrome/small_18.html

If you are more used to control your computer with keyboard shortcuts, you can press <Alt> + <D> to move the focus to the address bar in Windows (<⌘> + <L> in Mac and <Ctrl> + <L> in Linux).


Search Using Texts on Page

Sometimes when you read a web page you find something interesting that you want to know more about.  Instead of copying the words and paste to the address bar, you can select the words and right click.  Choose “Search Google for ‘your search term‘”.  If you have other default search engines configured in Chrome, you will see its name instead of Google.

Google Chrome Search - Search Texts

For Windows users only, you can also select words on a web page and drag to the address bar.  Chrome will load your default search engine.


Temporarily Switching Search Engine

What do you do if you (for some reason) want to search NOT using Google but other search engines?  There is no need to go to the search engine’s web site.  You can do it right from the address bar by typing  in the name of the search engine, e.g. yahoo, then press <Tab>.  You can then enter the search term and press <Enter>.

Google Chrome Search - Alternative Search Engines


Changing Default Search Engine

Or if you are determined to make a change, please click the wrench icon on the top right corner, select Options in Windows (Preferences on Mac and Linux and Settings on Chromebook) and choose “Basics”.  Look for the following section.

Google Chrome Search - Default Search Engine

Click “Manage search engines”.  This is where you can choose the default search engines by clicking “make default”.

Google Chrome Search - Search Engines


Topic/Site Specific Search Engines

Apart from the big heads like Google, Yahoo! and Bing, you can actually ask Chrome to limit your search to more specific search engines and web sites.  For example, the library of a high school may want their computers to search within the library web catalog by default.  As long as the web site has a search function, most likely you can make it as the default search engine.

Google Chrome Search - Specific Search Engines

On the same “Manage search engines” tab, you can find a list of “Other search engines” underneath the big heads.  Chrome puts the web sites you have visited before which have search function in here.  Just click “make default” next to the web site.  For example, if you want Chrome to get you recipes only, make allrecipes.com as the default option.

You can also add a new search engine if it is not already on the list.  Scroll all the way to the bottom, you can find a row where you can enter the details of your preferred search engine.  You’ll need to find out the web address of this site.  You can do it by performing a search on that web site, copy down the result page’s URL, then replace the search term with “%s”.  For example, the address for CNN.com is “http://www.cnn.com/search/?query=%s”.

Google Chrome search - Add a new Search Engine

[Google Chrome Tutorial] 5 Easy Tips to Speed Up Google Chrome

Every Friday I’ll publish a Google Chrome tutorial article.   Want to learn more and master this state of the art browser? SUBSCRIBE to RSS feed or email updates to get more!

In today’s Google Chrome Tutorial, I want to share some tips to speed up Google Chrome.  Why do you need to speed up your Chrome?  Well, although Chrome is built on the latest technology, on some old computers its performance may be less than satisfactory.  Besides, a browser without proper maintenance by the user would slow down gradually.

There are many ways to improve the speed of the Chrome browser.  In this article I’ll introduce a few simple tips that give immediate results.  These are universal methods that should work on Mac, Linux or Windows versions of Chrome.  And they are fool-proof, meaning that you don’t need to tweak the browser like professional software engineers do.


#1 Speed Up Google Chrome Tips – Remove Unnecessary Extensions

Do you know extensions use your computer’s memory when loaded, even if you do not use them?  Sometimes we found extensions that look good, you added them to Chrome for trial.  After one or two times using them, you found that you don’t like them, but you simply leave them enabled.  It is most people’s habit to try new software but never do house keeping.

You can find out how much memory every extension uses by clicking the wrench icon on the top right corner and choose View Background Pages.  In the example below, you can find many extensions run in the background and eat up memory.

Speed Up Google Chrome - Background Pages

To disable the unused extensions, click the wrench icon, choose Options/Preferences and click Extensions on the left (In older versions of Chrome, the item is right in the menu after you click Options/Preferences).

Speed Up Google Chrome - Disable Unused Extensions

Uncheck the Enabled box to disable an extension.  If you have decided to say goodbye to an extension, click Remove to permanently uninstall it.


#2 Speed Up Google Chrome Tips – Remove Unnecessary Web Apps

Similarly, unused web apps may consume the precious memory of your computer.  For example, in the above screenshot, Quick Note, Layers and Read Later Fast were using memory but I haven’t opened them in that session.  So the first thing you could do to let your Chrome re-gain momentum is uninstalling web apps you don’t use (forever).

What if you occasionally use the web apps so that you don’t want to permanently remove them?  In the View Background Pages window, you can choose that web app and click End Process.  This will remove the app from the background.  The icon of the app on the New Tab page will turn into black and white, signaling that it is not active.  You can re-activate the app by clicking its icon.

Speed Up Google Chrome - End Process


#3 Speed Up Google Chrome Tips – Clear Cache

What?  As simple as this?  Yes.  Do you know by keeping a large cache pool in Chrome, you are making the browser slow?  The cache contains data and information of web sites you visited, but a large cache and old records could reduce the speed of the browser.  You need to frequently clean up the Chrome.

Speed Up Google Chrome

Click the wrench icon on the top right corner, choose Options/Preferences > Under the Hood > Clear Browsing Data.  Depending on your preference you may choose what record to delete and what not.


#4 Speed Up Google Chrome Tips – Use Simple Theme

This tips works particularly well on my old Linux-based netbook.  I used to believe that due to a low-grade CPU and limited memory, the slow speed of the Chrome on the netbook was reasonable.  But one day after I changed the Chrome theme to the default one, the whole world had changed.  The browser became much faster!

Speed Up Google Chrome - Use Default Theme

Some Chrome themes contain high quality beautiful photos to please your eyes.  But they could not please old computers.  If you experience low speed when using Chrome, try changing to a simpler theme.  Or you may consider using the default theme by clicking the wrench icon on the top right corner, choosing Options/Preferences >Personal Stuff > Reset to default theme.


#5 Speed Up Google Chrome Tips – Update Regularly

Chrome is regularly updated by Google to fix bugs and bring new features as well as performance improvement.

Speed Up Google Chrome - Update Chrome

You can easily check for updates by clicking the wrench icon and choose “About Google Chrome”.  If there is any new version, you can choose Update Now to get it.  Alternatively, you may simply click “Set Up Automatic Updates for All Users” to allow Chrome to refresh itself.

Google+ Tips for Photographers – Expand Your Photography Circle and Reach Readers

It’s Social Wednesday today, when  I write about web apps and browser add-ons or observations related to social networks.  SUBSCRIBE RSS feed or email updates to follow these stories!

I like photography.  Although I’m not a professional photographer, I frequently shoot photos on the street using my 120 film cameras, compact 135 film cameras and Polaroid SX-70 camera.  While nowadays photo sharing has become the most popular activity on social networks, I found more and more photographers uploading their masterpieces to Facebook and Google+ to gain exposure.

In this short post, I’ll share a few useful Google Plus tips and web sites that photographers could use.


Google+: The Survival Guide for a Photographer’s Paradise

Google Plus- The Survival Guide for a Photographer's Paradise


This is a Google+ guide particularly written for photographers, available as a web page and PDF format (via Minus, the document sharing platform I introduced before).  It is written for non tech-savvy photographers who want to get the most out of Google+ but not familiar with Google+.  You could learn how to upload photos, organize and share them, use Chrome extension, use Photo Album in Google+ and more.

This is a short yet good reading for all photographers who (want to) use Google+.  It is being actively updated when new features of Google+ roll out.  Check out the original web site and find the download link for the PDF file:



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