If you prefer Google’s Chrome over Apple’s Safari on your Mac desktops and notebooks, good news: the search monster yesterday updated the browser with a few new features that help restrict kids’ use of the Internet while boosting their parents’ protection from malware.
I was instantly sold on the incredibly useful noisy tab indicators that make it easier to figure out which tab sound is coming from.
Glance over your open tabs in Chrome 32 and you should see a tiny icon on the tab that produces sound. This is quite handy if you keep a few dozen tabs open and can’t figure out which YouTube tab your music is streaming from.
I can also imagine it being especially useful when certain websites (ahem) hijack your browser and play video “promos” in the background.
Here are the new tab indicators.
Gotcha! Here’s the noisy offender.
Using your webcam.
Streaming to your TV using Chromecast.
I love this feature a lot – simple but needed.
If only there was a way to make each tab mutable by clicking the little speaker icon. Or better yet, give us an option to disable all autoplay on load.
Next up is something called a supervised user feature. What’s that? Basically a parental restrictions mode where you can allow or block certain websites and manage permissions for the web page your junior (or tech-illiterate Mom) has requested to view.
A supervised user can sign in to websites, but can’t install extensions or apps from the Chrome Web Store. It’s cool that a supervised user doesn’t need a Google Account, or even an email address for that matter.
Creating a supervised user in Chrome is not the same as adding another user on your operating system.
A supervised user is an additional Chrome user, and can close the supervised user windows and access other Chrome users available on the computer.
If you are the manager of a supervised user, you can always remove your own Chrome profile from the computer or sign out of Chrome before handing it off to a supervised user.
The manager (you) creates a profile for the supervised user (your kid or whatever) through your own Google Account, here’s how.
Step 1: Hit the Chrome menu and select Settings.
Step 2: In the Users section, click ‘Add new user’.
Step 3: Choose an optional profile picture and enter a name for the supervised user
Step 4: Tick the ‘This is a supervised user managed by <your email address>’ box. If the checkbox is greyed out, just sign in to Chrome with your Google Account.
The dashboard – you can see it right above – not only gives you a peek into the supervised user’s browsing history, you can also block specific websites and approve ones your children are allowed to see.
SafeSearch is turned on by default for supervised users.
The best bit: the dashboard is a web app so it’s accessible from any browser.
I want that thing in the mobile version!
And the last new feature: stronger malware protection.
If you see this message in the download tray at the bottom of your screen, just click Dismiss “knowing that Chrome is working to keep you safe”, Google explains.
Unfortunately, Google didn’t bother to optimize Chrome for new power-saving technologies in OS X Mavericks (or Snow Leopard, for that matter) so the browser still drains your MacBook’s battery fast and kicks that fan into overdrive.
Until that gets sorted out, I’m using Safari on the road.
Do you use Chrome for Mac?
Is Google outgunning Apple in terms of desktop browsers?