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Google Chrome For Android: Tricks And Secrets

We present some tips to make the most of Google Chrome for Android: a roundup of more or less known tricks that will help you during your online browsing sessions from your mobile device. The Chrome browser for Android can be downloaded from the Google Play Store.  It is the most used because, based on the agreements signed between the Mountain View company and the hardware manufacturers (OEMs), it is often pre-installed with the official ROMs. 

To surf the net from your mobile device, Google Chrome for Android is one of many possible choices. We presented some alternative products in the article Android Browser: which alternatives to Choose. This time, however, we want to focus precisely on Google Chrome for Android and present the browser’s lesser-known features, which are often very useful on mobile devices.

Using Google Chrome For Android: It Is Not Necessary To Log In

After downloading Google Chrome and running the application for the first time, many users assume that it is necessary to log in with their user account to use the web browser. At least one Google user account is usually configured on Android devices to access the Play Store and all the other apps of the company founded by Page and Brin. However, accessing Google Chrome for Android with your account is optional.

By touching the three dots at the top right, choosing Settings, then Access Chrome, the list of websites visited with the Android smartphone or tablet would be shared with all other devices (even desktops and notebooks) together with the passwords, favorites and much more information.

Sharing the information managed by the Google web browser on all devices may not be exactly what you want, also because the data will be sent overseas and stored on the company’s cloud servers: to learn more, we suggest reading the article Synchronizing Chrome, what does it mean to access data from multiple devices.

Get A List Of Open Tabs In Google Chrome For Android

To the right of the Chrome browser’s address bar for Android, a small square is shown with a number inside it: it indicates how many tabs have been gradually opened. New tabs open when you touch a link on any web page and configure it to open the target page in a new browser tab or when you select the button showing three dots in the column (top right) and choose New Tab.

By touching the small square, Chrome for Android will preview the open tabs: with a simple swipe (dragging) to the left or right, the individual tabs (even if not displayed in the foreground) can be closed. By typing chrome://flags in the address bar and then looking for the Tab Grid Layout setting, you can replace the tab preview with a different graphic solution.

For example, by selecting Disabled and restarting the browser, a list with preview boxes will be shown. The tabs can also be closed from here. It is possible to also try the other solutions in terms of layout. By choosing Reopen closed tab, you can view the contents of a closed tab by mistake.

Copy The URL Of The Website You Are Visiting

To copy and paste the address of the site you are visiting elsewhere in Google Chrome for Android, press and hold the URL in the top bar, then choose the Copy icon. Alternatively, you can access the Chrome main menu (button showing three dots in a column), tap the “i” icon, and then press and hold the address displayed at the top of the screen. The browser will show the ” Link Copied ” message at the bottom.

Add A Link To Any Website On The Home Screen

If you used to consult a site or a web application often, you could open it directly from the Android Home screen. To proceed, access the Chrome main menu (button with three dots in the column), then choose the Add to Home screen item. Once you’ve assigned a name, the icon will appear on the Android Home screen and the Chrome icon to confirm that it’s a shortcut.

Request A Desktop Version Website

Websites use the user agent or, in the case of responsive pages, the viewport to optimize the display of the site on mobile devices. By doing so, it is possible to remove and reposition those contents that complicate the consultation of the pages on mobile devices, also forcing horizontal scrolling. To request the display of any website in desktop mode, access the Chrome main menu and then tick the Desktop site box.

Clear Your Browser Cache

Google Chrome for Android also uses its cache in which the browser stores items already downloaded in the past while browsing online. After visiting some websites, unwanted advertising messages appear in full screen or that completely useless new tabs open. Often this is not due to installed applications but to pages that have been opened in the past and cookies stored on the mobile device.

 To completely clear the cache (an operation that often helps to solve this type of problem), you can access the main Chrome menu, choose Settings, Privacy, and then Clear browsing data (the last option on the list). By choosing the Advanced tab, you can avoid deleting saved passwords or autofill form data, which are often useful information.

Switch Between Tabs With A Simple Swipe

A trick that few know is the one that allows you to quickly switch from one tab to another by swiping left or right from Chrome’s address bar for Android. Do not drag to other points of the Chrome screen but limit yourself to acting on the browser’s address bar (the box where the URL of the page you are visiting is shown).

Quickly Go To The Previous Or Next Web Page In The History

The browser keeps a separate browsing history for each tab you open in Google Chrome for Android. To quickly go to the page you were visiting previously, swipe from the middle of the left to the right: touch the left edge of the screen, then drag to the right to return to the previous page.

To go to the next page, keep your finger pressed on the right end of the page you are viewing, then drag to the left. In both cases, if pages are stored in the history, displayed before or after the page currently displayed, a small arrow will appear, and you can quickly switch from one page to another.

Touch Any Word To Google It And Enable The New Context Menu

By touching any word shown on the website you are visiting, Chrome will make a small reference to the same term appear at the bottom of the screen. By selecting it, Chrome for Android will perform a contextual search proposing websites that contain relevant information.

Similarly, by touching a phone number, address or email, Chrome will offer to open the Android dialer, navigator or Google Maps, the email client. By accessing the chrome://flags page and searching for Context, you will access many more possibilities that will be automatically presented by pressing and holding on an image, a link and so on (in many cases, integration with Google Lens will be activated).

Examine Image Content And Translate The Text With Google Lens

The Google Lens service allows you to analyze what is present in any image to extract useful information. Presented in the article Google Lens, the new features of the app that uses artificial intelligence, Lens has recently been integrated with the Google Photos app, making it extremely useful for subjecting the texts contained in photos to optical character recognition (OCR ). 

Images acquired by taking a photo of paper documents: Google Photos: recognize texts and copy them elsewhere. With a simple modification, Lens can be connected with the Chrome browser for Android: by pressing and holding on any image published on the web, you will find the new item Search with Google Lens . 

By selecting it, it will be possible to establish, using the search engine, which pages the same image is being used. Furthermore, it will be possible to obtain the translation of the text depicted in the image, extrapolate the text present therein with the possibility of copying it elsewhere, look for a product similar to the one depicted in the photo and obtain information on a restaurant menu.

To activate Search with Google Lens in the context menu of Chrome for Android, type chrome://flags in the browser’s address bar, then search for context-menu-search-with-google-lens. By activating the corresponding item or Google Lens-powered image search in the context menu, and restarting Chrome, the item Search with Google Lens will be automatically added.

How To Use Google Chrome Developer Tools On Android

In Google Chrome for Android, you don’t have a button equivalent to the F12 key on the desktop, and you can’t call up Google’s developer tools in any other way. Yet sometimes, advertising or phishing messages appear that have nothing to do with your visiting website: the Developer Tools would allow you to shed light on the problem.

Read Also: Add Reminders On Android Mobile And Desktop

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