Google is the foremost search engine, so for many it’s the best tool for finding Web pages. However, it could still have more customization options than it does. So why not add a few more customization settings to the search engine with Google Chrome? These are a few of the Chrome extensions that supercharge Google.
Add New Background Wallpapers to Google
Google once had a Classic Plus service that enabled you to add wallpapers to the search engine. However, the company has since discontinued Classic Plus; so there’s no way to customize the background unless you add an extension to Chrome. Background Image for Google Homepage is one extension that you can add wallpapers to the search engine with. Open this extension page and press the + Add to Chrome button to add it to the browser.
Next, enter ‘chrome://extensions’ in the address bar and click Options under the Background Image for Google Homepage extension to open the tab in the snapshot below. If you scroll down that page a bit, you’ll find a number of image thumbnails to select from. Click a background image there and then select a focus area on the grid.
Now open the Google search engine. It should include the new background you just selected from the Background Image for Google Homepage tab as shown in the snapshot directly below. You can always revert back to the original plain background by clicking Remove background image under the wallpaper preview on the Background Image for Google Homepage tab.
You can pretty much add any website image to Google’s background so long as it fits. First, enter a keyword in the Google search box and press the search button. Then click Images to open matching pictures. Click a thumbnail to expand it, and then right-click the image and select Copy link address. Paste the URL into the Enter an Image URL text box on the extension’s tab by pressing Ctrl + V and press Save. Then Google will include the picture on its background.
Add Bing’s Wallpapers to Google
Bing always has alternating backgrounds on it, and you can also add those to Google. All you need is the Bing Wallpaper for Google Homepage extension. When you’ve added that to Chrome, open Google in your browser. It will now include the Bing wallpaper as shown directly below. Note that it won’t work if you haven’t switched off the Background Image for Google Homepage extension.
Input ‘chrome://extensions’ in Chrome’s address bar, and click the Bing Wallpaper for Google Homepage Options to open the tab below. There you can select lower or higher resolution Bing wallpapers by clicking the Wallpaper type drop-down menu.
There are also extra Display setting drop-down menus that you can further configure Google with. For example, you can remove the Google doodle from the search page as below. Press the Save button to apply any selected settings.
Add Thumbnail Previews of Website Pages to Google
Google includes thumbnail previews of images, but not for website pages. You can, however, add thumbnail previews of website pages to Google’s search result page with SearchPreview. Click this hyperlink to open the extensions page and install it. The extension is also available for Firefox and Opera.
Then open Google in Chrome and enter a keyword to search with. The search page will then have thumbnail previews of website pages on the left as in the snapshot directly below. Other search engines such as Bing will also include the page thumbnail previews.
Add Notes, Page Previews and Tags to Google
Better Search is an extension that enables you to customize your Google searches, and it also works with other search engines. This extension beefs up Google with extra note, page preview, tag options and more besides. You can also block pages from searches. This is the Better Search extension page that provides further details.
When you’ve added this to Chrome, head over to Google and enter a keyword to search. Then the search engine will show you matching pages as in the shot directly below. You’ll probably spot a few new things there almost immediately with recent searches displayed on the right, site icons on the left of the hyperlinks and search engine buttons under the search box at the top.
First, press some of the search engines buttons under the search box. For example, you could click the Bing button there to open the Bing search result page for the keyword originally entered into Google. Thus, those buttons give you a handy shortcut to alternative search engine result pages with the same keyword.
On the left of the page there’s an Add Note button. Click that to open the text editor below where you can add some extra notes. Press the Save button in the text editor to save a green note at the top of the search page.
A Recent Searches box on the right of the page includes a list of recently entered keywords. You can click on those to restore the previous searches in Google. Click the x icons beside the keywords to delete them.
When you hover the cursor over the page details, you’ll see a magnifying glass. Click to open a preview of the page in a separate window as shown in the shot directly below. This gives you a handy preview of the page before you open it. Click the Open button at the top left corner of the preview window to open the page in a browser tab.
On the far right of the page there’s a Tags tab that includes a list of tags you can drag and drop page hyperlinks to. Clicking tags on the sidebar opens lists of the tagged pages. You can add new tags by right-clicking the Better Search button on the toolbar, selecting Options and then clicking Edit. Input a new tag in the text box and press Enter.
Hover the cursor over hyperlinks on the Google search page results to select more search options from the toolbar shown in the shot directly below. Then you can select a Useful option that highlights the page in any search list. In addition to that, the option also saves the page hyperlink, which you can then open by clicking Good on the BetterSearch MyLibrary tab.
Alternatively, block pages from appearing in searches by clicking the dustbin button. Then the page will never be included in any search irrespective of keyword entered. You can also select a Block Site button that excludes any other pages from the same site from further searches.
To further configure the extension, click Settings on the BetterSearch MyLibrary tab. All the check boxes there are already selected by default. You can effectively remove some of the Better Search options such as the notes and page previews by unchecking the pertinent check boxes there. Disable the search engine buttons at the top by unchecking the Other Search Engines check boxes.
It’s amazing what four Chrome extensions can do. With them you can now add background wallpapers, thumbnail images, page previews, notes, tags and search customization options to Google.