10 really cool Google Chrome hacks

javascript:window.location.href = 'http://www.stumbleupon.com/demo/#url';

When you want to use the site, simply hit this bookmark and the Stumbleupon homepage will open.

4. Read RSS feeds

One of the overwhelming disappointments about Chrome when it was released was its lack of an integrated RSS feed reader. Google seems to have assumed that everyone would use its standalone web-based Reader offering instead. Now, however, developer Ricardo Ferreira has written a script that conveniently sits behind a bookmark in the Bookmarks bar and allows users to read RSS feeds directly.

To prepare to use the script, in Chrome go to www.feeds.ramisp.org. Drag the piece of text that says 'Auto-Detect RSS' to the Bookmarks bar. This creates a bookmark containing a special JavaScript function.

Now surf to a site with an RSS feed. Press the Auto-Detect RSS bookmark and the site's main feed will open for you in the ramisp.org website. At the top of the page, you'll also see a range of options where you can subscribe to the feed using Yahoo!, Google, Pageflakes or Netvibes.

5. Explore Chrome's 'About:' pages

If you need to know what's going on deep inside Chrome, there's a special URL that you can use to get all the information you'll ever want about the browser and its performance.

In the Omnibox, enter the word 'about:' without the quotes but with the trailing colon. You should see some basic information about the browser's build, the V8 JavaScript engine and so on.

To see how well the browser's DNS pre-fetching system is currently working, enter 'about:dns' into the Omnibox and hit [Enter]. Pre-fetching is a technique used to speed up DNS domain resolutions. Beware, however, because until you close the browser – even if you think that you've cleared your browsing history – this DNS information remains, including the names of all the domains that have been pre-fetched.

For a demonstration of why it's a good idea to clear Chrome's cache completely, enter the URL 'about:cache'. The URLs of every page and every page element that the browser has ever cached will appear – and they're clickable. You would think that this data would be deleted when you clear the browsing data. However, if you select 'Clear browsing data...' on Chrome's Customise menu (the spanner icon), many people don't realise that the Time Period pull-down menu on the resultant pop-up is set to 'Last day' by default. Select the option to delete everything and the cache will clear completely.

For a bit of fun, try entering 'about:internets' and Chrome will run the Pipes screensaver inside itself. (If you're wondering what that's all about, it's a satirical reference to US Senator Ted Stevens' description of the internet as "a series of tubes".)

6. Start browsing in Incognito mode

Chrome has the very useful ability to save a bookmark to the desktop, Start menu or taskbar for later re-use. However, if you're not already in Incognito mode before surfing to the web page and saving it as a bookmark, you can't later start the bookmark in Incognito mode.

To change this, locate the bookmark and right-click on it. Select 'Properties' and at the end ofthe Target text box, add a space and type '-incognito' (without the quotes). Now double-click on the bookmark and it'll open in the distinctive, slate grey Incognito mode. You can also right-click on Chrome in the Start menu and add this keyword to the end of the Target line in its own Properties page to start the entire browser in Incognito mode.

7. Change Chrome's process model

Let's face it; Chrome's internal multiprocess architecture makes it very heavy on virtual memory. It's designed to be robust enough to run the next generation of Web 2.0 applications, and that means acting a little like an operating system. By default, Chrome consists of multiple processes, but if you're only using it for routine surfing duties, there's little point wasting all that extra memory and CPU time, even if you've got a fairly up-to-date PC that can handle the extra load.