Google Chrome is the most popular browser on the Internet. According to ZDNet and the U.S. federal government’s Digital Analytics Program (DAP), Chrome has 44.5% market share (as of January 2017). Chrome is so popular, there is a running joke among IT pros that Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser should be called “Microsoft Chrome Installer”.
With Chrome being so widely used, we want to share some tips and tricks to help you use Chrome most effectively.
Keep Google Chrome Up-To-Date
Google Chrome is constantly being updated. Updates are done to add new features, improve the stability of the browser, or help improve performance. Most updates, however, are for security reasons, so it’s important that you’re always running the latest current version.
Chrome generally does a good job of automatically updating itself. If you want to check and be sure, click the three vertical dots in the upper right-hand corner of the browser and then “Settings”. Click the hamburger icon (three horizontal lines) near “Settings” in the upper left and “About Chrome”.
Under “Google Chrome,” you’ll see a message if Chrome is checking for updates. If an update is needed, it’ll automatically update itself and then prompt you to click and restart the browser to complete the install. Keep checking this page until you see a message “Google Chrome is up to date”. As of this blog, Chrome is running Version 60.0.3112.113.
If you receive an error message, it could be that Chrome is already in the process of automatically updating itself. Just wait a little while, restart Chrome and try again.
Synchronize Your Chrome Settings Between Devices
When you first installed Chrome, you may have seen a message asking you to log in. A great feature of Chrome is that you can log into your Google account in Chrome, which will store all of your settings in your Google account.
There are two big advantages to doing this. First, if you ever replace your PC, or have to reinstall Windows and Chrome, you can simply log into the same account. All of your settings will be restored. Essentially, this is a free, cloud backup of all of your browser data and settings.
Synchronizing your Chrome data with your Google account also allows you to synchronize your settings across different devices. If you use Chrome on your PC and your phone, your settings, such as bookmarks, apps and saved passwords, will be the same on both devices. This way, as you optimize everything to work how you like it, you won’t have to repeat yourself on multiple devices.
How To Log Into Google Chrome
If you didn’t add your account to Chrome, or can’t recall if you did, go back to the three vertical dots icon and “Settings”. At the top of the main settings page, you’ll either see the information about the account that’s logged in, or you’ll see a “Sign In To Chrome” link. Click the link and log into your Google account. Once you’re logged in, wait a few moments, and you’re all set!
Cleaning Up Google Chrome
As you use your browser, thousands of files are being downloaded. Web pages, images, cookies, and other settings and data are being transferred. Over time, all of this stuff can cause your browser and web pages to act strangely.
If things are running slow, or just don’t seem to be working quite right, cleaning up some of these settings can be a quick fix. Go back to Google Chrome “Settings,” and select “Advanced” and “Privacy and security”.
The last item in the “Privacy and security” section is “Clear browsing data”. Select it to bring up the “Clear browsing data” window. In the first field, “Clear the following items from …,” select the range of data you want to clear out. Generally, selecting “the beginning of time” is the easy choice.
Deciding What To Clean Up
There are eight checkboxes where you can select the data and settings you want Chrome to clear. The third selection, “Cached images and files,” is always safe to clear, and usually the most important. Cleaning out the cached data will force webpages to load their latest version the next time you visit.
“Cookies and other site data” is another section that can also fix a lot of browser issues. Be warned, these cookies are used by websites to save things like your username and password. If you clear cookies, you’ll need to log in again when going back to your favorite sites. Be sure you have a record of your account passwords.
The other section that can be worth cleaning out is “Autofill form data”. If you visit websites and find that fields (such as payment information in a store shopping cart) are filling in with incorrect information, clearing out the Autofill form data can fix those issues.
Remember, these settings are all synchronized. If you clear out any of these sections on one device, the changes will affect all of your synchronized devices.
Once you have the selections you want, click “Clear Browsing Data,” and in a few moments you’re good to go!
Getting The Best Browsing Experience
Google Chrome remains one of the most popular ways to browse the Internet on PCs, Macs and phones. Knowing how to keep Chrome up-to-date, synchronizing your settings with your Google account, and cleaning up the browser data from time to time will give you the best experience when browsing the web.