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12 time-saving tips for the Chrome Android browser

JR Raphael | Aug. 31, 2015
Become a mobile browsing pro with these little-known tips for Google's Chrome browser for Android.

Mobile Web browsing is all about finding what you need quickly and with as little hassle as possible — at least, in theory. In the real world, the experience of surfing sites from your smartphone or tablet is often anything but enjoyable.

From sites that have not-so-friendly mobile interfaces to browser commands that take too many steps to execute, hopping around the World Wide Internuts from a handheld device leaves plenty of room for improvement.

Fear not, though, my fellow finger-tappers: There are things you can do to make your touchscreen surfing a smoother ride. Try these tips and tricks for Google's Chrome browser for Android, and get ready for a much better mobile browsing experience.

(Note that a few of these tips work on either a phone or a tablet, but not both. I've indicated "on a phone" or "on a tablet" when that's the case.)

1. Search the simple way

Ever find yourself reading a Web page and wanting to learn more about something you see? On a phone, just press and hold your finger to the area of the text in question, then use the sliders that appear to adjust what words are selected.

Once you've done that, you'll see a white bar containing those words and a Google logo at the bottom of your screen. Tap the bar, and you'll get an overlay window with search results for that very term — right there on the page.

Chrome browser for Android - tap to search

Chrome's tap-to-search feature lets you get quick info without leaving the page.

You can tap any link in the results to open it as a new tab, slide the window upward to make it bigger, or slide it downward to dismiss it and return to your original full-page view.

2. Take back your right to zoom-a-zoom zoom zoom

For some inexplicable reason, lots of websites prevent you from zooming in on your mobile device. And for a variety of reasons — whether you want to make the text larger or get a closer look at, ahem, something that catches your eye in an image (like, you know, an innocent little birdie) — there are bound to be times when you want to get in close.

Thankfully, Chrome lets you take back control. Head into the app's settings (by tapping the menu icon in the upper-right corner and selecting "Settings"), then look for the section called "Accessibility" and find the option within it labeled "Force enable zoom."

Activate that option, and get ready to zoom to your heart's content — whether the website you're looking at wants you to or not.

3. Find your favorite way to zoom

 

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