How the Google Chrome Browser Works

Chrome Browser Basics

When you first open the Google Chrome browser, you'll have little more than an address bar and a few links to get you started. If you're already comfortable with Web browsing, you'll probably just enter a Web address and go from there. As you continue using Chrome, though, you'll want to be familiar with these other functions:

  • Navigation buttons -- By clicking the icons to the left of the address bar, you can go back to a previous page, forward to a page you backed up from, refresh a page and go to your browser's home page.
  • Bookmark star -- If you want to bookmark a page in Chrome, click the star on the far right of the address bar. The star changes from white to yellow to symbolize your choice, and a small dialog box appears to confirm your choice and let you change the name and bookmark folder.
  • Bookmarks bar -- This is one of two places you can save bookmarks. The bar provides fast, one-click browsing to your favorite sites. Add bookmarks here by choosing "Bookmarks bar" from the list of folders when you save the bookmark. For each bookmark in the bar, Chrome displays the favorites icon associated with the Web page and the title you set for your bookmark (the Web page title, by default).
  • Other bookmarks -- This is your other option for saving bookmarks in Chrome. If you bookmark a page that you don't need on the bookmarks bar, you can add it to this menu instead.
  • New tab button -- Tabbed browsing is a standard feature of most Web browsers today. Even with only one page open, Chrome has a tab at the top with the favorite icon and title of the page. You can open a new tab by clicking the new tab button, with a plus sign ("+"), to the right of your open tabs. Click the tabs to switch between them, or toggle between tabs by holding down your Shift key and pressing the Page Up and Page Down keys.
  • Settings menu -- Click the wrench icon on the far right of the address bar to access additional built-in features like changing the language. We'll look at each of these more later.

Like other browsers, Chrome has a bookmark manager. To access it, click the Settings menu and select "Bookmark manager." Chrome opens its bookmark manager in a separate browser tab as if it were a Web page. Besides editing and deleting bookmarks there, you can also add folders and drag and drop both bookmarks and folders to organize them into a hierarchy. Chrome saves your changes as you make them, so just close the browser tab when you're finished.


When your bookmarks bar fills up, Chrome displays a double-arrow icon on the right. Click that icon to show the bookmarks that don't fit in the available space. Here's a useful tip to save space: Add folders to your bookmarks bar. Folders under your bookmarks bar become drop-down menus of related bookmarks. This keeps your bookmarks easy to access without filling up your bookmarks bar.

Those are the basics for Chrome! Google has truly kept the interface simple with a focus on getting you from page to page efficiently. But what if you want more from your browser than just managing bookmarks? Chances are Chrome has what you need either built in or as an add-on feature. Let's look at the built-in features hiding in that Settings menu.