Sunday, March 31, 2013

Google Chrome Tricked Out

by Dietrich Schmitz

Alright.  I've been a long-time Mozilla and Mozilla Firefox devotee, but, the time came and went (months ago) when I decided that the value of using Chrome exceeded anything that Firefox could muster.

Today, I share with you some of the things which will improve your Chrome experience.

Graphics Hardware Acceleration

It has become popular for browsers to support 3D graphics--that is when a graphics cpu is detected, the browser will send work to the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) vs. letting your Central Processing Unit (CPU) do all of the heavy lifting.  This greatly speeds up screen writes to the canvas.

Checking your system's support is simple enough:

Override software rendering list (blacklist)

Now, restart your browser and type into the omnibar: chrome://gpu

It should look like this:

All green is good.  That last one isn't supported yet by the graphics driver on my Netbook so otherwise we are now 'firing on all cylinders' and the GPU will handle graphics primitive calls instead of the CPU now.  Good deal.

Security Sandbox

With Linux, you know that security is being taken seriously.  In fact, now as of Linux Kernel 3.5, support for seccomp-bpf is baked right into the kernel.  Any application can take advantage of it and the good news is Chrome will see and use this security sandbox feature.  To check if your Chrome is sandboxed type chrome://sandbox and you should see this:

This is a good thing.  Be sure it is set on your Linux system.  Microsoft Windows does not have it.

Google Chrome Extensions

Visiting the Google Chrome Web Store is a right of passage for every newcomer to Chrome.  It's exciting and you'll find a vast array of Apps, Extensions, and Themes a click away from adding to your browser.

Here are a few that I recommend every user consider adding to Chrome.

The above extensions will automatically appear on your Chrome toolbar (right of the Omnibar)

In addition, there are some Apps which only appear in your 'New Tab' Chrome menu that I recommend.

Don't get carried away.  Remember each extension is going to consume some memory.  The above are what I use day to day and minimally really provide some good features and value.

I hope you enjoy Google Chrome and get the most out of your browsing experience.

-- Dietrich

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