When Google Chrome was first introduced to audiences in 2008, it quickly became a favorite of many, and it’s easy to see why. As the most widely-used web browser for phones and desktop computers in the world, Chrome has a large library of extensions and add-ons; a clean and simple user interface; and incognito mode (which allows users to surf the web without having their browser/ download history tracked or cookies stored).
But there is one Chrome feature that reigns supreme in classrooms, and that’s the Omnibox—a tool similar to a traditional web browser address bar, but with the capability of doing so much more. The Omnibox has not only been a helpful tool in my classroom, but also in my personal life, which is why today I’m going to share with you my top 4 favorite ways to use the Chrome Omnibox in and out of the classroom.
1. Keep it Short
Whether I’m looking for more resources to share with students in the midst of a class discussion, or I’m lesson planning at home, I’m always looking for ways to save time. With the Omnibox, saving time on my search is easy with Search Shortcuts.
With Search Shortcuts, you can set up personalized search phrases to help speed things up. For example, if you’d like to search for videos on youtube, you can set your Omnibox to recognize “YT” as Youtube, making it so that everytime you type “YT” into the search bar, it will only provide results from Youtube.
To do this:
Open a new browser tab in Google Chrome
Right-click in the Omnibox and select “Edit Search Engines”
Next, a window will appear with 3 columns: Name of Site, Keyword for Site, and Web Address
Within this box, you can
Search for a site you’d like to make into a shortcut (or edit to add your own)
Enter a keyword for your site (For example, “YT” for Youtube)
Enter the web address
Select done to save your changes
2. Time to Focus
At times, staying focused on a work task feels impossible and having easy access to smartphones and the Internet doesn’t help.
With the Omnibox, you can safely allow yourself a short break from your task using the Omnibox Timer. With this feature, you can set a timer, take a break, surf the web, and be alerted when it’s time to get back to work. No more zoning out and wasting time!
Type “tm” into the Omnibox, followed by a space. The Omnibox should now say “Omnibox Timer”
Set your customer alarm or reminder
Use “s” to indicate seconds, “m” for minutes, and “h” for hours
Hit Return or Enter
Once your time is up, an alert will appear on your screen.
3. Quick Calculations
Need an answer to a simple math problem and don’t feel like opening up a calculator? With the Omnibox, you can quickly get that answer.
To do so,
Open a new browser or tab in Google Chrome
Type in the math problem you wish to solve (available to only basic mathematical functions)
Take it a step further with multi-step math problems. Simply add in the parentheses when necessary.
For simple conversions:
Type the original unit of measure
Type an equal sign
Last, type the unit of measure you wish to convert to, and the answer will appear below!
4. Drag and Drop Words
Whether you’re encouraging your students to strengthen their vocabularies, or you encounter a word you don’t know during your own web-browsing, you no longer need to open up a separate web dictionary to find the definition.
To do this:
Highlight the word
Click the highlighted word and drag and drop it into the Omnibox
Now the definition will appear in your Google Chrome’s search results.