The Power User’s Guide To Google Chrome, 2009 Edition

The Power User’s Guide To Google Chrome, 2009 Edition

Google Chrome has come a long way in the past year, steadily adding subtle but useful features for power users. Let’s take a fresh look at Chrome’s current offerings—especially for those willing to brave its early developer builds.

Not long after Chrome’s release, our 2008 Chrome Power User’s Guide covered its best features for savvy surfers, such as keyboard shortcuts and startup switches. We won’t rehash those here; instead we’re going to round up the new stuff that’s come out since in both the stable and developer build of Chrome. (For reference, as of writing, the stable build of Google Chrome is version number, and the developer release is version

Turn Chrome into a Site-Specific Browser with Application Shortcuts

a site-specific browser

Assign Keywords to Your Search Engines

press Tab to search that site specificallyFirefox’s keyword bookmark capabilites

To do so, right-click in Chrome’s address bar and choose “Edit Search Engines”. There, you can add, edit, or remove searches and assign keywords in the Keyword field.

Using this technique you can, for instance, update Twitter with a keyword as well as search via Google. (Set the URL to and the keyword to lh. Then, to search Lifehacker’s archives in Chrome, type lh “your search here” into the address bar.)

Customise the “New Tab” Page

more customisable than ever

Get to Know New Chrome Startup Switches

several Chrome startup switchesadds a bookmark button to Chrome’s toolbarstarts up Google Chrome in private, incognito modehow to get Greasemonkey user scripts going

Choose Your Chrome Theme

Google’s more muted in-house themesartist themes as wellThemes Gallery

Master Mouse and Keyboard Shortcuts for Managing Tabs

Every power user has a few essential keyboard shortcuts in their arsenal, and Chrome offers some mouse-and-keyboard combinations for managing tabs, too. Like Firefox, you can middle-mouse-button click any link to open it in a background tab (or Ctrl+click for the same result). Shift+Click opens a link in a new window, Shift+middle+click (or Shift+Ctrl+click) opens a link in a new tab and switches to it, and Alt+click saves the contents of al link to your computer.

Switch to the Dev Channel Release for Extensions (and More)

Brave devotees to Google Chrome want to take advantage of its open development, and subscribe to the developer channel of early Chrome releases to get a preview of new features. Using Chrome’s Channel Changer tool you can switch from the stable release to the no-guarantees-on-stability beta or developer build. The risk you take in running into unexpected bugs is worth it for features the early builds offer. In the current Developer build version, you can sync your bookmarks, test extensions, and pin tabs. (Also, Mac and Linux users can finally try out Chrome via the developer channel, as a stable release is not yet available.)

(Dev Build Only) synchronise Your Bookmarks

save your Chrome bookmarksuse that in the dev build of Chrome

(Dev Build Only) Install Extensions

  • Gmail Checker: While it doesn’t appear to work for Google Apps accounts (someone? prove me wrong?), the Gmail checker puts the number of unread messages in your inbox on Chrome’s bottom toolbar.
  • Xmarks: Our favourite bookmark syncing extension for Firefox and IE is available for Chrome dev build testers as an alpha version. You must sign into Xmarks and sign up for the alpha test to get the Chrome extension.
  • AdSweep and Adblock+: Scrub annoying flashing ads from your favourite web sites.
  • Session Saver: This extension enables multi-tab saving and reloading.
  • WOT: Integrates web site reputation ratings ala Web of Trust into Google Chrome.
  • LastPass: Adds deeper auto-fill password management to Chrome.

(Dev Build Only) Shrink and Affix Tabs with “Pin Tab” Option

everyone seems to love is available in the dev build of Chrome

What other power tips for Chrome, stable or developer build, are out there? Share your best ones in the comments.

Gina Trapani, Lifehacker’s founding editor, strongly suspects 2010 will be a big year for Google Chrome. Her feature Smarterware appears every week on Lifehacker.


  • FireFox and Opera are the best
    If Chrome was twice as good as those, I would still not use it.
    The reason being –
    I save a lot of web pages.
    If you save web pages, surely you don’t want the accompanying _files folder.
    With Chrome you have to have those flippin folders.
    With practically every other browser you can avoid them by saving in the .MHT format which is a single self contained file.

    Let me know when Chrome can do that, and I will give it another try.

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