5 Extensions to Make the Most of Chrome’s Omnibox

If you use Google Chrome, you may have noticed that the “address bar” can be used for more than simply typing in websites. In fact, we’ve talked about some of the built-in tools this address bar has within it. This is because Chrome’s address bar isn’t just an address bar; it’s a multipurpose tool that you can use to improve productivity. Google calls this bar the Omnibar, as it does much more than just redirect the browser to a chosen URL.

Did you know, however, that you can also add extensions to Chrome to enhance the Omnibox? There are a few useful tools that add extra functionality, so you can spend less time going through options and windows and more time getting what you want done.

Feeling bogged down with all the tabs you have opened? Perhaps you’re not a fan of hunting through your collection of open websites, looking for the one you want. If this sounds like a problem you face on a regular basis, OmniTab can make things a little easier.

To activate it, first install the addon into Chrome. Once it’s done installing, type the letter “o” into an empty Omnibar and press space. OmniTab will now be active – you can tell because “OmniTab” will appear within the Omnibar. Now, begin typing the name of the website you want to switch to, and OmniTab will search your tabs and show you a list of the ones that meet the criteria. Select the one you want to go to, and you’ll be taken there in an instant.

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If you are, or were, an avid Firefox user, you’ll know of the handy history search tool in its address bar. Type the start of a URL, and it’ll bring up a brief history of that address, sorted by the amount of times you have visited each page.

People coming to Chrome from Firefox might lament the absence of this feature, as Chrome is more focused on using the Omnibar to deliver relevant Google search terms than recent history. Bomnibox, however, aims to add this feature. After installation, type “$” followed by a space to activate Bomnibox, then type the URL of a website, and it’ll show you a history sorted by the amount of hits each page has.

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It’s easy to lose track of time while surfing the ‘Net, doing work, or even just catching up on social media. Omnibox Timer allows you to set up a simple countdown timer to help remind you of upcoming events, all from the comfort of the Omnibox.

To activate it, type “tm” into the Omnibox, then a space. You’ll see “Omnibox Timer” appear in the Omnibox. When you see this, enter the amount of time you want to set the timer for in numerals, then add “s,” “m,” or “h,” to define it as seconds, minutes, or hours respectively. If you don’t add a letter, the addon automatically assumes it’s in minutes. Write the reason for the countdown to remind the future you why you set it up. “20m Get the laundry”, for instance, will remind you in twenty minutes that your laundry is done.

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Send From Omnibox makes smart use of the browser’s mailto command to make sending emails easier. Once installed, you can activate the addon by typing “.” followed by a space into the Omnibox.

Once activated, sending an email is easy. First, type the email of the recipient you want to send the email to. Then, type the message you want to send. For example: “email@example.com How was your day?“. Once you done, hit Enter, and Chrome will automatically make a mailto using the email and message you provided. From here you can edit the email or change the address you’re sending from, depending on what you’ve set up as your default mailto option in Chrome.

If you find yourself having to deal with foreign languages often, it’s handy to be able to quickly access Google Translate from the Omnibar. Omnibox Translator adds this feature, allowing you to get a translation quickly and efficiently without having to navigate to the Google Translate page.

After installing the addon, activate the translator by typing “tr,” then a space into a blank Omnibox. Once the Omnibox Translator box appears in the Omnibar, type the language you’re translating from, then the language you’re translating to, and then the text you want translated.

For instance, if you want to know what the French word “voiture” means, you type “tr”, then a space, then “french english voiture.” When you press enter, a popup will appear telling you the translated word:

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While most Chrome users use the Omnibox for searching and navigating webpages, it’s capable of so much more. With the help of addons you can make the most of the Omnibox by adding helpful features to it.

Do you make use of addons for Chrome’s Omnibox? If you don’t, will you in the future? Let us know below.

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