Wednesday, March 6, 2013

WotW: 7 Reasons You Should Be Using Google Chrome

You may be using the Internet, but you may not be getting as much out of it as you could be. No, that's not an ad for Time Warner Cable's next great product. It's my pitch for a piece of software that has simplified and improved my Internet experience a million times over.

I'm talking about Google Chrome, the free web browser that has been around for slightly more than four years and has taken the world by storm. In fact, latest estimates have Google Chrome users making up 37% of worldwide users, which makes Chrome the most widely used web browser out there. And that's impressive considering it isn't a default program like Internet Explorer.

There's a reason so many people use and love Chrome. I want to share seven reasons why you should be using Google Chrome.

1. Speed

Everything about Google Chrome is fast. The browser loads within seconds. Google searches and websites load lightning fast. And creating a new tab is a piece of cake and loads quicker than on Firefox or Internet Explorer. With such fast Internet connections out there, shouldn't your browser be even faster? Chrome is.

2. Search in the Address Bar

One of the handiest features of Chrome is the ability to do a Google search right in the address bar. And, similar to going to to do a search, the address bar predicts what you're searching for, making it that much faster. Other browsers, like Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari have a second bar to the right that allows you to do a search in a specified search engine. It's way more convenient to have one place where you type URLs or search queries, depending on what you need. Oh, and did I mention it does this wicked fast?

3. Synced bookmarks

If you're like me, you work on more than one computer. This becomes a problem when you save a bookmark on one and it's not there when you go to another computer. Chrome has this covered. With their Sync feature, all your bookmarks, apps, extensions, saved passwords, settings, themes, and more, are saved on every computer where you have setup sync.

This means when you save a bookmark on your home computer, it's there in Chrome on your work computer as well. This makes bookmark managing so much easier. Oh, and if you get a new computer, simply sign in with your Google account (this is what Chrome uses to sync) and all your settings and bookmarks instantly load. You can't beat that kind of ease and convenience.

4. Multiple Users

One of my absolute favorite features is the ability to have multiple users. If you spend all the time setting up your bookmark bar, you don't want someone else using your computer (your spouse, kids, etc) to add their own bookmarks and mess up your system. Similar to the way you can create unique user accounts on a computer, you can create custom users in Chrome.

This feature is available in the settings and each user is given an avatar to identify themselves (mine is an alien). To switch between user accounts, simply click the avatar in the top-left corner of the browser and select from the list of available users. Your account will then open with all your bookmarks, settings, etc. already loaded.

5. Bookmark Bar

While not unique anymore, Google does the bookmark bar better than its competitors. It's simple, clean, takes up hardly any space at the top of the window, and can fit a slew of your most commonly used bookmarks, making your browsing experience that much faster.

6. Web Store

Chrome has its own "app store," called the Web Store, with a slew of customized apps built for Chrome, and even more extensions to improve your experience. The number of apps is always growing and you can spend hours browsing all the cool sites and apps you didn't even know were out there. Some of them enhance your web experience. Others are just fun (Angry Birds, anyone?). But you can be sure there's an app for you.

7. Extensions

Extensions are available in the Web Store to extend the performance of your browser. Most extensions are attached to sites (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Evernote, etc) and allow you to quickly do things that make life easier. For instance, I have an Any.Do extension that allows me to quickly check and add tasks. My Evernote Clearly extension wipes away all unnecessary clutter on a page and gives me just the text in a larger, easier-to-read format. There are hundreds of extensions and many of them will become indispensable to you once you begin using them.

While I only listed seven reasons you should be using Chrome, I could post plenty more. But hopefully this gives you a taste of what's possible. If you're already using Chrome, share your favorite features/extensions. If you're not using Chrome, well, why not? Download it now and experience the Internet at its best.
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