10 Awesome Google Chrome Features You Should Be Using

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Google Chrome has become the go-to browser for many people. It’s packed with powerful features that make it popular, but you might not have found all the best ones yet. We will make sure you do.

Cast your tab or desktop

Select "Cast."

You might think you need fancy software to share a Chrome tab or your entire desktop to another screen. Chrome actually has this capability built-in, and it’s super easy to use.

Chrome gives you three options when casting to a Chromecast or Nest Smart Display. You can cast a tab, a file, or your entire desktop. The option is easily accessible from the Chrome menu. It works on Chrome for Windows, Mac and Linux.

RELATED: How to Cast Windows 11 Desktop to Chromecast

Search websites with the Omnibox

Using a custom search keyword in Google Chrome.

Chrome’s omnibox, also known as the address bar, is so named because it can do a lot of different things. You may know that you can search directly with any search engine you want, but it can also search for specific websites.

Rather than doing a Google search for something like “howtogeek google chrome” to find an article on our site, you can search How-To Geek directly from the omnibox. In fact, you can do this with just about any website you want. This can be a great time-saving feature.

RELATED: How to Fix and Use Custom Search Keywords in Google Chrome

Right click to find highlighted text

Another great search feature in Chrome is the ability to quickly search for anything just by highlighting text. It will work with the search engine you have chosen to use in Chrome.

All you have to do is highlight some text, then right-click and select “Find [provider] for [text]. A new tab will open with a pre-populated search for the highlighted text. A super quick shortcut to search for things.

Tab groups

Example image of group tabs

If you ever find yourself with too many tabs open in Chrome, you really need to know about tab groups. This feature allows you to organize tabs into groups and collapse them to save space in the tab bar.

Tab groups can be moved all together and labeled with colors and names. It’s a handy feature that most modern browsers have added and it’s become a must-have way to prevent tabs from taking over your browser window.

RELATED: How to Enable and Use Tab Groups in Google Chrome

Find open tabs

google chrome search tabs

Another feature that can help you untangle your messy tabs is tab search. Can’t find the tab you need right now? Just tap the little arrow in the top bar of the Chrome window and you can see them all in a list. If you know the tab name, type it in the search bar to quickly jump to that specific tab.

RELATED: How to Find Open Tabs on Google Chrome

Automatically change new tab background

Check the details of the Google Chrome new tab background by clicking the source link in the lower left corner of the new tab page.

Chrome’s New Tab page is surprisingly useful. It has shortcuts to Gmail and Google Images, a search bar, and your frequently visited websites. You can give an extra touch to the New Tab page with backgrounds.

You can set a background to use all the time, but if you want to take things a step further, Chrome can automatically cycle through different backgrounds. Every day you will be greeted with a fresh new background.

RELATED: How to Automatically Change Google Chrome New Tab Background

Change where downloads are saved

Here is a little trick that can make your life easier. By default, Chrome saves downloads to your device’s “Downloads” folder. You can actually change where these downloads are saved.

In fact, you have two choices for your download folder. You can choose any default location you want or choose to be prompted every time. If you find that your Downloads folder is getting out of hand, it might be a good idea to change Chrome’s behavior.

RELATED: How to Change Chrome Downloads Folder Location

Live captions for any video or audio

google chrome live caption

Closed captions are a necessary feature for many people who are visually or hard of hearing. Sites like YouTube have good embedded subtitles, but that’s not the case everywhere. Chrome can fix this problem for you.

“Live Captions” is a feature that automatically places on-screen captions for any video or audio playing in your browser. The feature is built right into Chrome: no feature flags or extensions required.

RELATED: How to Get Live Captions for Any Video or Audio in Chrome

Enable extensions in incognito mode

The "authorize in private navigation mode" to toggle.

Chrome’s incognito mode feature does not include your installed extensions. This is a privacy feature, but you can allow certain extensions in incognito mode if you wish.

The good thing about this is that you don’t have to choose all or nothing. You can specify which extensions you want to allow in incognito mode. Just keep in mind that this will allow these extensions to access your incognito browsing.

RELATED: How to Enable an Extension in Chrome’s Incognito Mode

Experiment with hidden features

Finally, Chrome has tons of hidden features that you might not know about. These features are hidden behind “flags” that need to be activated manually. Google is constantly adding and removing new feature flags.

This is the big thing to remember with flags. They’re not in the stable version of Chrome for a reason. Sometimes they will eventually make their way to stable releases, but sometimes they never will. Still, it can be fun trying out these features, just don’t get emotionally attached.

RELATED: How to Enable Google Chrome Flags to Test Beta Features

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