The following is a post I wrote for Synergyse, a company that focusses on Google Apps training.
Awesome Chrome Features You Probably Aren’t Using
When I became a Google Certified Teacher, my daily production was still done primarily in Microsoft Office. I made the decision, at that time, that all of my new productivity would be done in Drive. I would still use the old Office documents, if needed, but create new in Drive.
And I haven’t looked back!
Now, only 3 years later, all of my productivity, with the exception of video creation and editing, is done in Google Drive. Furthermore, my browser of choice is Chrome for the simple reason that Google products work best with Google products. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
My computer doesn’t have near the issues that some of my colleagues experience because, for the majority of the day, the only application I have running is the Chrome web browser. I can access my email, my calendar, create documents, create and manage websites, blog...nearly everything I need to do on a daily basis within one application.
Life is simpler.
And more powerful! I’m going to share with you some things you can do with Chrome that you might not be using. You might have heard about them, but remember that champions don’t need to be told what to do, just reminded!
The Omnibox is Chrome’s all-in-one search engine and address bar. They must have known that it drove me nuts to see a person type an address into a Google Search bar. Chrome will know what you want to do.
But there is so much more the Omnibox can do, and here are just a few examples:
Install the extension OmniDrive from the Chrome Web Store
Type “Drive” then tab/space and type your query
Right-click on the Omnibox and select “Edit Search Engines”
In the window that opens, scroll down to “Other Search Engines” and click “Add a New Search Engine. In the boxes, from left to right, enter
Gmail → gml → https://mail.google.com/mail/#search/%s
To search your Gmail, in the Omnibox type “gml” and hit Tab or Space. Your Omnibox will change:
Type your query in the Omnibox and a your Gmail will open with those search results.
Enter your calculation
...and your answer will appear!
Set A Timer
Via Google Search
Type “Set timer for “x” minutes/seconds
You will then get a timer pop up! It will start automatically, but you can stop, start, and reset as needed!
Via Omnibox Timer
Install the extension from the Chrome Web Store
Type “tm” into the Omnibox followed by Tab or Space
Type in the desired time, press the return key and you will be alerted when time is up!
Extensions are small “programs” that are installed into Chrome that increases the functionality and productivity of the browser. These have made me more productive by bringing more power to my creative environment.
While there are several that can be installed from the Chrome Web Store, here are the ones I use on a daily basis:
This extension will alert me if I have any new mail and, with one simple click, will open a new tab with my inbox displayed.
Save to Google Drive will allow me to save websites, pictures, or other web content right to my Google Drive and bypass my computer all together. Even cooler is that I can right-click on the content and “Save to Google Drive” will be an option!
No one likes an email, document, or anything that has a link that is a gazillion characters long. When I click this extension, the active URL is shortened to a nice goo.gl version and I can copy it to my clipboard. I can then paste it into an email, document, or simply display it. It also creates a QR code that I can take a screenshot of and insert into websites, presentations, and more.
Tab Scissors gives you two active windows on one screen. This is awesome because I can be reading a website or watching a YouTube video on one side and typing notes on a Google Doc on the other.
All of this coolness is not just for teachers; these are great for students as well! My high school just went 1:1 with Chromebooks last year and we have been showing students these same features. Get them using Chrome beyond searching and addresses and they will be more productive in their classes and quality digital citizens.
Have a happy day!