This post was originally posted on www.itsbenwhitaker.com on 16/09/2017.
In my previous post, I discussed reasons for Going Google - the foundational rationale for integrating G-Suite into education and not-for-profit settings. Here, I will be starting a series looking at individual tools within the suite (and some that are cool add-ons/apps that make sense to discuss here). NB: I do not intend this to be full descriptions or how-tos for these tools; in fact, I want to create a little bit of intrigue to encourage readers to step out into the unknown. Here goes...
Google Chrome - The Browser
According to Digital Trends, Chrome is the best internet browser. When you are on the internet, some might ask if it really matters which you use (the most common other browsers are Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Safari). An estimated 67% of all browsing is now done through Chrome and I can tell why. (Some more recent statistics suggest 77%). Below I will outline a number of reasons for using Chrome and tips & tricks for maximising your browsing.
"If you’re not sure which browser you should be using, you should be using Chrome."
Now, don't get me wrong: many of the other browsers offer many similar features and it is a little bit about personal preference. However, if you are using the full G-Suite it is a no-brainer to use Chrome.
Chrome is ubiquitous - it is found everywhere. Most computers will already have it built in and mobile devices can easily download the Chrome app from the relevant store. This leads on to...
Chrome is consistent - whatever computer, device or country you are in, as soon as you sign in with your Google ID (email address), your bookmarks (see later), extensions and content is all readily available to you.
Chrome has a thriving extension, apps and add-on ecosystem. I can't believe I never knew these excited before! Cool little buttons to develop your experience. Kasey Bell over at ShakeUp Learning has written a fantastic article about apps and extensions that you could use immediately. My personal favourites are Bitmoji (I think you'll know that by now!), Grammarly and Google Docs Quick Create.
Chrome easily manages bookmarks. I know that bookmarks have been around for ages and each browser has them. However, one nifty little trick I have found only in Chrome is to delete the web address in Bookmark Manager and it will simply leave the icon in your toolbar. I have made a screencast of the process here.
Chrome's mobile integration is excellent. This is a bit of a minor aspect but the fact that the browser is so intuitive is worth mentioning.
My Top 10 Tips for Making Chrome Work for You
Always sign in - the best experience in Chrome is when you take all your preferences and customisation with you. So, whatever device you are on, your bespoke experience is best seen when you are signed in.
Customise your apps - the default settings in Chrome are controlled by your domain administrator but so long as you have permissions, you can add your custom apps - Drawings, Pear Deck, EdPuzzle, Classroom, Forms, Canva are what I have added as the most useful
Use the 'Star' to save pages to bookmarks - no need to copy and paste URLs anymore. Simply click the star and then you can save the page to Bookmarks and even it to customisable bookmark folders if you are a super-organised geek like me!
Shorten your bookmarks to make room on your toolbar - this is so cool (especially if you like to maximise space like me). I have created a simple screencast on how to do this here but it basically means that you can have more bookmarks on the same standard sized toolbar (and it looks pretty!
Use the Three Dots for more - as with most Google products, there is the 3 vertical dots feature in Chrome which opens up more options for you to make the experience easier and more productive. In Chrome, a few really good features are the ability to Cast directly from Chrome to compatible devices, Edit directly from webpages and try new Developer Tools if you are looking at using hot-off-the-press features.
Move, pin and unpin tabs - this handy little trick allows you to separate windows (different pages) so that you can shut down multiples in one move (or you can Close all tabs to the Right, for example with a right click). Simply hold your mouse on the specific tab at the top of the screen and it comes 'loose' for you to do with as you wish! You can also Pin tabs so they stay open and where you have them. There a couple of cool features here.
Use extensions wisely - there are so many really useful little shortcuts and developments as add-ons, apps or extensions. I love Grammarly, Bitmoji (as you can tell!) and Google Docs Quick Create which make the job so simple and user-friendly. Kasey Bell from Shake Up Learning has done a brilliant job curating a really detailed list of apps and extensions. Check it out here .
Try Incognito mode - often this is seen as a seedy option (which it certainly can be) but this option of having a mode that doesn't store your history or passwords would be really useful when logging onto shopping or banking sites on public computer, for example (it's also cool having a black background!)
Use shortcuts - time is money after all! We all need things that make our life easier and right within Chrome there are a number of handy shortcuts which I have put into a graphic below (I will be doing a whole post on full shortcuts later in the year so watch this space!)
Hope this has been useful and keep posted for the next part: Google Drive - The Hub...