Even though I’ve repeatedly tried to quit Google Chrome, not a day goes by I don’t use it again. Safari is still my main browser, but since I access Chrome from time to time too, I should have improved it somehow. It’s not about the look – I’ve changed the theme to the one that pleases me – it’s about a functional upgrade, which made Chrome experiment with new colors and at certain moments almost indispensable tools. I explain what I did and how I did it.
How to speed up downloads on Chrome
Historically, for most Chrome users, there are no extensions other than advertising blockers. That’s why the first time they visit the Google Chrome Store is their last – when they install the extension for blocking ads. However, there are quite a few interesting and useful solutions to make Chrome better, for example, to increase its speed.
One extension is FasterChrome (Download FasterChrome from the Chrome Store). It preloads web pages, so all the sites you open will start loading almost instantly. The download will start when you move your mouse cursor over the link that leads to it. To avoid false positives and widespread downloading of all sites where the cursor runs, the developers have provided a minimum time to activate the preload, equal to 65 milliseconds.
This is enough to prevent accidental loading when switching between sites while also loading the content of the targeted site. At first glance all this seems a little strange, but my personal experience has shown that pages in the browser do load faster, just by clicking on a link. The best result is when you use lightweight sites that are already fully loaded.
Chrome is slow. What do I do?
Another secret that will make Chrome a little faster is hidden in the settings of the browser itself. You may have heard of it before, but that doesn’t make it any less efficient or useful. Of course, we’re talking about Chrome hardware acceleration. It’s a mechanism that allows the browser to use the power of the graphics accelerator, so you can increase command processing speed and reduce the load on your computer.
- Start Chrome and go to “Settings” – “Advanced Settings”
- Scroll to the bottom of the list of available settings before “Hardware Acceleration”
- Move the activating tumbler to the active position. Now you can use it.
Hardware acceleration is quite effective when used on computers that are not that powerful. On a Mac Pro the browser won’t have any problems, no matter what it does or how many pages it runs in the background. But on low-performance machines like netbooks and old desktops on Windows, it’s a really indispensable tool. What’s more, even on my MacBook Air with Intel Core i5 and 8GB of performance benefits can be seen.
How to stop sites from working in the background
Chrome is not the most economical browser, so it’s important to make sure it doesn’t overload your system. However, some sites have the ability to run in the background and not only perform certain manipulations but also, quite unpleasantly, consume battery life. This is especially true if you work on a laptop and you don’t have access to a power supply. So it’s important to stop sites from working in the background.
- To prohibit background activity sites, go to “Settings”
- In the “Privacy and Security” section, go to “Site Settings”
- Go to the “Background Synchronization” tab and prohibit recently closed sites from sending and receiving data.
If necessary, you can also add exceptions -sites you trust and will be able to synchronize with your computer in the background, and therefore perform necessary commands. However, remember all this has a very negative impact on battery life, so you should use this very carefully.
How to block website notifications
I wouldn’t be wrong in assuming you hate site notifications. I don’t like them either, so I just blocked them. You can do the same.
- To block notifications, open “Settings”
- Go to Privacy and Security, and from there to Site Settings
- Find the “Notifications” tab, open it, and prevent sites from asking to send notifications.
As in the previous case, you can also specify a list of exceptions that will still be able to send you notifications even after disabling this. You should only do this if you are really interested in pop-up alerts, but since they will also work in the background, I wouldn’t do this so as to preserve battery life.
How to send a link from your smartphone to your computer
Unlike all other ways to improve Chrome, the link-sharing feature is available in your default browser. Not everyone knows it exists, although it’s very useful in situations where you need to quickly switch from your smartphone to a desktop.
- To send the link from your Android smartphone to your computer, open Google Chrome and click “Share”
- Select “Send to your devices” and select the desired device with Chrome
- To send the link from PC to smartphone, highlight the entire link
- An icon of the computer with the attached smartphone will appear in the address bar – click it and select the device you want to send the link to.
Some of you may find these tips too obvious. However, in my experience these are the ones that make Chrome not just better, but turn it a far from a perfect browser into a great tool to work with.