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Saturday, 5 May 2012

10 Google Crome hacks

Google's Chrome browser is fast becoming the geeks' choice, as users all over the world tinker with it and explore its deeper capabilities.

Not lacking essential functionality, Chrome is now proving that it can do everything: from starting in Incognito mode by default for better browsing safety to reverting to using a single process for all its tabs to conserve resources. It can even make the images on a web page swirl and dance around like crazy, if you fancy something different.

The range of useful modifications that you can make to get Chrome just how you want it is extremely diverse – made all the more expressive by its blindingly fast V8 JavaScript engine. From simple parameter changes to complex applets, here are 10 handy hacks to whip Chrome into shape.

1. Get more Omnibox suggestions

When you enter a search term into Chrome's Omnibox URL bar, it creates a pull-down list of suggestions for matching sites. However, this is limited to a maximum of five sitesby default, which is a bit restrictive. This hack lets you increase that number.

Right-click on the Chrome icon (even the one on the Windows Start menu) and select 'Properties'. In the resulting window, find the Target text box, add a space at the end of the line and the following text:


This will extend the dropdown menu to 30 items, but you can change this to suit your needs.

2. Remove just your recent surfing history

The sites you've been visiting will be suggested in the browser's Omnibox. This can pose a problem if you share your PC with other people. If, for instance, you've been looking for a present for someone, it could spoil the surprise. You could clear the browsing data, but this will clear out everyone else's history, too. You could temporarily switch to Incognito mode to ensure that no search data is recorded, but if you forget, you have the same problem.

However, a small, free utility called Google Chrome Backup (GCB) by Pharelia Tools lets you create a backup of your browser's profile and restore it again later, thereby rolling back Chrome's search history to the point at which you backed it up. To use the utility, open its zip file, extract 'gcb.exe' and run the executable.

Using the program to cover your tracks is very simple. Before you begin surfing, press the 'Run Wizard' button. A second window will appear. Ensure that 'Backup' is selected and press 'Next'. Select the default profile and press 'Next' again. Browse for somewhere to place the backup of the default profile (a USB key, for example, on which you could also conveniently store GCB for use on public PCs), and press 'Back up'. The backup takes a second or two, but you'll have to close the window by hand.

After you've finished your confidential browsing session, to roll back the profile (thereby removing just your recent browsing history for this session), run GCB again; press the 'Run Wizard' button, select 'Restore' and press 'Next'. Browse for your saved file and press 'Next' again. Make sure that you're restoring to the default profile, press 'Next' again and finally hit the 'Restore' button. You'll be asked to confirm the procedure, after which the backup will be restored.

3. Use Stumbleupon

Stumbleupon is a great service for generating ideas or simply wasting an hour or two finding cool things. There's no plug-in for Chrome, but that's not a problem.

Right-click on the Bookmark bar and select 'Add page'. Give your new bookmark a suitable name – 'Stumble', for example – and enter the following JavaScript into the URL field:

javascript:window.location.href = '';

When you want to use the site, simply hit this bookmark and the Stumbleupon homepage will open.

4. Read RSS feeds

One of the overwhelming disappointments about Chrome when it was released was its lack of an integrated RSS feed reader. Google seems to have assumed that everyone would use its standalone web-based Reader offering instead. Now, however, developer Ricardo Ferreira has written a script that conveniently sits behind a bookmark in the Bookmarks bar and allows users to read RSS feeds directly.

To prepare to use the script, in Chrome go to
6. Start browsing in Incognito mode

Chrome has the very useful ability to save a bookmark to the desktop, Start menu or taskbar for later re-use. However, if you're not already in Incognito mode before surfing to the web page and saving it as a bookmark, you can't later start the bookmark in Incognito mode.

To change this, locate the bookmark and right-click on it. Select 'Properties' and at the end ofthe Target text box, add a space and type '-incognito' (without the quotes). Now double-click on the bookmark and it'll open in the distinctive, slate grey Incognito mode. You can also right-click on Chrome in the Start menu and add this keyword to the end of the Target line in its own Properties page to start the entire browser in Incognito mode.

7. Change Chrome's process model

Let's face it; Chrome's internal multiprocess architecture makes it very heavy on virtual memory. It's designed to be robust enough to run the next generation of Web 2.0 applications, and that means acting a little like an operating system. By default, Chrome consists of multiple processes, but if you're only using it for routine surfing duties, there's little point wasting all that extra memory and CPU time, even if you've got a fairly up-to-date PC that can handle the extra load.

Behind the scenes, Chrome can run in three processing modes. The most efficient of these is single process mode. To use this mode, open Chrome's properties in the Start menu and add the string '-single-process' (without the quotes) to the end of the Target box. Now, no matter how many tabs you open, the browser will use just one process.

If you add the string '-process-per-site' to the Target line, Chrome will open a new process for each tab, but if you open the same site in two tabs, it will run them on the same process. The string '-process-per-tab' will force Chrome to create a completely new process and use a new memory space for each tab, which is its default.

8. Download YouTube videos

While other browsers need a plug-in to download YouTube videos, Chrome can do the same with a small piece of JavaScript. Simply right-click on the bookmarks bar and select 'Add page…' Call it 'Download Video' and enter the following JavaScript on one line in the URL box:

javascript:window.location.href = '' + swfArgs['video_id'] + "&l=" + swfArgs['l'] + "&sk=" + swfArgs['sk'] + '&fmt_map' + swfArgs['fmt_map'] + '&t=' + swfArgs['t'];

Now, go to a YouTube page and set a video running. Then, click on 'Download Video' to download it. The progress is displayed in a bar at the bottom of the browser window, but if you press [CTRL]+[J] you'll open a tab containing the download history.

One word of warning, though. The downloaded files are stored with the file name 'get_video' with no extension. Rename each with a sensible name, and give it the extension '.flv'. If you don't have any software that is able to play '.flv' files, you can download the free
VLC Media Player.

9. Compare browser resource use

If you're not sure which of your browsers is using the most resources, there's a very simple way to see this information in Chrome, regardless of which browser you want to examine.

Simply hold down [Shift] and press [Escape]. This starts Chrome's internal task manager. If you now click on the 'Stats for nerds' button, a new tab opens and displays memory usage information for all running browsers, regardless of type. The lower part of the page also gives detailed information about individual Chrome processes. You can lose the task manager for a better view.

10. Make images dance

Here's an entertaining hack: it makes the images dance around in formation.

First, go to a web page containing plenty of images – a Google image search, for instance, or the display of your most visited sites. Delete everything in the Omnibox and enter the following JavaScript as a single line:

x1=.1; y1=.05; x2=.25;
y2=.24; x3=1.6; y3=.24;
x4=300; y4=200; x5=300;
y5=200; DI=document.images;
function A(){for(i=0; i-DIL; i++){DIS=DI[ i ].style;
DIS.left=Math.sin(R*x1+i*x2+x3)*x4+x5;*y1+i*y2+y3)*y4+y5}R++}setInterval('A()',5); void(0);

When you press [Enter], the madness begins. To stop it again,hit the 'Refresh' button.



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