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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.

Chrome for Android - Data Saver

Chrome's Data Saver feature can speed up page loading by cutting down on bandwidth use.

The second feature actually uses more data to make your mobile browsing seem swifter. It's called Instant Pages, and it works by allowing Chrome to predict what page you're going to visit next and then start preloading it before you get there.

The system looks at things like your browsing history to "bet" on your behavior — so when you start typing something into the address bar, for instance, it might recognize what site you're likely to be aiming for and then start fetching it before you hit Enter. That way, by the time you get there, the page is already loaded and waiting.

You can find the option under the "Privacy" section of Chrome's settings; look for the line labeled "Prefetch page resources." Because of the feature's background data usage, you might want to set it to function only when you're on a Wi-Fi connection.

12. Make the Web easier to read

Let's face it: Some websites don't exactly make reading pleasant. Whether it's an annoying layout or a font that hurts your cerebrum, we've all come across a page that could be a little easier on the eyes.

Google has a solution in the works: Reader mode, which tries to turn desktop-oriented Web pages into mobile-friendly ones by simplifying the formatting and stripping out extraneous elements such as ads, buttons, navigation bars and related-links boxes. At the moment, it functions most reliably in the Beta or Dev channel (scroll back up to the previous tip if you weren't paying attention) — so if you want to give it a try, I'd suggest doing it in one of those apps.

And a disclaimer: This feature is really, really still under development — so much that you have to go out of your way to enable it in a scary-sounding section of the browser known as "flags." The warning at the top of that section says it all:

These experimental features may change, break, or disappear at any time. We make absolutely no guarantees about what may happen if you turn one of these experiments on.

In other words, mess around with this at your own risk — and only if you're comfortable doing some advanced under-the-hood tinkering.

Still with me? Good. To get started, type chrome:flags into the browser's address bar, then look for the "Enable Reader Mode Toolbar Icon" setting. (Quick tip: Use the "Find in page" feature in the main Chrome menu to locate it quickly.) Toggle that setting to "Enable." You should see another setting near it for "Reader mode triggering"; I've found the feature works best with that set to "With article structured markup."


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