If you’re looking to free up some time and cut down on stress, one way to do it is to look for increases in productivity. If you were a lumberjack looking to increase your productivity, you might look for tips on how to get the most out of your ax and your upper-body strength to chop more wood in the same amount of time. Since we do a ton of our computing in the browser these days—if we count Electron apps like Teams, Zoom, and Slack, it’s even more than we might imagine—it’s a good idea to reevaluate if you are getting the best out of your browser. Today we’ll take a look at four ways to get the most out of Google Chrome (specifically on the desktop). Microsoft’s Edge is based on the same code base as Chrome, so it shares most, if not all, of the same features.
Make the Most of Bookmarks and Tabs
The bookmarks bar might be one of the best features to utilize for repetitive tasks, such as things that you log into when you start your work. It’s like having your own startpage that helps you start off with the right workflow and organization of your tabs. In Chrome, if you need the window real estate and want to keep the Bookmarks Bar off, it will still appear when you launch the browser initially or open a new tab. Otherwise, the Bookmarks Bar works just like any of your other bookmarks folders.
Those folders can be very helpful in organizing things that you want to get to on a regular basis. When you bookmark a page (Ctrl+D or clicking the star in the address bar), you can select a folder for the bookmark. If you need to close your browser, and want to bookmark all of your current tabs first, you could push Ctrl+Shift+D instead.
Use your Browser’s (Non-Password) Synchronization
By logging in to your browser (with your email address), you can synchronize and access your bookmarks, browsing history, and autofill settings. This means that you can switch devices and pick up where you left off any time, like if you are using your tablet but come across a need to upload files from your laptop. Picking up where you left off can be as simple as clicking the three-dot menu and hovering on History, which will give you a list of your devices and the last few pages you visited on each.
Of course, our usual warning about using a proper password manager still stands. Using your Google account to store passwords may be convenient (since the browser basically begs you to) but doing so means that if your email account gets compromised, all of your passwords do too. Having a separate password vault with a platform like 1Password or BitWarden can help keep your passwords secure in case your email does get compromised.
Set up Different User Profiles for Different Tasks
If you have separate email accounts for different jobs or roles, you can set up different user accounts in the browser as well. I do this to make sure that my personal email and professional email don’t get mixed up, as well as separate my different roles visually and stay on task. For example, my browser theme is red when I’m using my work profile, and black the rest of the time. It’s a simple way of keeping yourself focused without needing to set up Windows’ Focus timer to keep you in line.
This also keeps the bookmarks, autofill, and browsing history separate, so I can be confident that if I close tabs on my work account, I can re-open those tabs and pick up when I left off later. Chrome has a convenient splash screen that pops up (by default) when you have multiple accounts, so you open the browser, and it asks you which profile you are going to use. If you need to switch at any point, you just click your profile picture at the top of the browser, and select the other profile.
Use Chrome Remote Desktop
There are many browser extensions that can make your web experience much more effective and productive… too many to list here. If there’s something that the browser can do, there’s almost certainly an extension or app that does it. You can take a quick look in the browser’s Store to see what kind of extensions might make your life a little easier.
One word of caution, though: these apps can be a security risk, because they will have access to things like your browsing history, and any data that you need to give them to do their job. If you need, for instance, an extension that helps you compress .pdf files, you should a) only install apps from a trusted company, and b) treat those apps like you are making the content public, since you’re giving someone a copy of the content to do something with it. You wouldn’t, for instance, want to give permissions to a browser extension to have access to your whole computer unless you trust the company who makes it.
Since Google are the makers of your browser, it’s a safe bet to say that you trust them with a lot of information (for better or worse). If that’s the case, they make a Remote Desktop app that you install as a Chrome extension and as a normal app on your mobile device. WIth it, you can easily access your home computer while on the go. It lets you run apps and access your files, so you don’t have to worry if every single file is making it into your cloud backup first.