Google Chrome is garnering some momentum these days with global market-share hovering at around 24% and an expected takeover of Firefox. Personally, Chrome has become one of my favorite browsers largely due its relatively low resource usage and the overall “snappy” look and feel. Many users also favor this browser because it has a very minimalistic approach to web surfing with hardly any icons or unnecessary menu bars that can often be distracting.
In this post, I go behind the scenes of Google Chrome and discuss how to optimize and troubleshoot this browser, using five internal pages. To access each of these featured pages, such as the one below, simply type them into the address bar and hit the “Enter” key:
Memory Diagnostics: “about:memory”
Does your browser slow to a crawl and bring down your system? Then it’s time to figure out which websites are responsible. To get an overview of Google Chrome’s overall memory usage, type in “about:memory” in the address bar and hit “Enter”. The “Processes” section gives you an exact overview of each tab and plug-in that is running as well as how much memory each needs, as seen below:
If a website is eating several hundred megabytes of RAM, you might want to try the same page in another browser such as Firefox or Internet Explorer to see if the problem persists. If any of your plug-ins are causing problems, it might be wise to update them (e.g. update your Flash plugin) or disable unnecessary plug-ins altogether (more on that below).
DNS stats: “about:dns”
Chrome pre-loads the DNS information for your top ten most frequently accessed websites in order to load them just a tad faster. To see which ones are stored in the DNS cache, type in “about:DNS”:
DNS stats: “about:plugins”
Disabling browser-plugins is the most effective way to speed up and troubleshoot your web browser. It may be surprising to realize the amount of plug-ins that are active and slowing down your browser performance and web-loading speeds. To check out all active plug-ins, type in “about:plugins” in the address bar and press “Enter”. You’ll see a window similar to this one:
If you’re running into severe performance or stability problems, it might be wise to disable these plug-ins individually in order to determine the root of the problem. If you’re just looking to speed up your browser a bit, try turning off all those plug-ins that you may not need such as the Remoting Viewer, the Windows Live Photo Gallery plugin, or the iTunes Application Detector.
DNS stats: “about:flags”
Google Chrome is filled with impressive experimental features that will give your web experience a huge boost, such as a built-in print preview tab, GPU acceleration for all websites, a plug-in troubleshooter, or the ability to display tabs on the side instead of on the top of your browser. To play around with these features, (which I must stress are experimental, simply type in “about:flags” into the address bar of your browser and hit “Enter”. You’ll see a list of all features that you can enable one by one:
While it’s fun to play around with these, remember to be careful regarding what you enable. Since these features haven’t been tested 100% yet, you might run into compatibility problems and other issues.
What are your favorite hidden browsing features? Let us know in the comment section below!