Unit 2: Your browser

The concept

Your web browser plays an important part in helping you stay organised

When you consider how much time you spend online, it is clear that your internet browser is the most important piece of software on your device. While other software and apps might have only one function (such as accessing email, or reading your calendar) your browser is the one program that lets you access most online tools. Despite this, for many people their choice of browser is an afterthought.

While web browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Internet Explorer offer similar features, choosing the right browser can have an impact on your workflow and organisation. Browsers can help you keep your bookmarks organised and synchronised across any computer you work on, they can include handy shortcut buttons (extensions) to help you save your work or web pages, or they can even remember those dreaded passwords for you. Many of the tools that we will explore make use of these extensions and help make you more efficient online.

The browser you choose might depend on the devices you own. If you have Apple devices (iPad, Mac etc), then Apple’s Safari browser might be a good choice. If you like using Firefox then there is a useful feature called Firefox Sync which will organise your bookmarks and add ons. Or the discussion about browser choice may be moot, as many of you may be locked in to using Internet Explorer on your work computers. For a long time Internet Explorer was the most popular browser but in recent years it has fallen behind the competition. It has improved in later versions and can do the job adequately, but we think there are better options. If you are locked into using Internet Explorer then we’d encourage you to talk to your technicians at school and see if they can let you install another browser.

In terms of managing your workflow and making your life easier, the browser that we recommend more than any other is Google Chrome. Chrome is one of the most popular browsers in the world, mostly due to the way it integrates with other Google services like Google Docs, Gmail and Calendar. You can use a free Google account to keep all of your bookmarks, add ons and passwords synchronised. It also has great features for staying organised across a variety of devices, as it remembers the web pages you’ve had open on one computer and lets you quickly open them on another. So, if you have been using it at work then you can simply go home, turn on your personal computer and see a list of the pages you just had open. Magic.

Of course, our recommendation of Chrome is only a suggestion. Browser choice comes down to personal preference, a bit like whether you prefer the Beatles or the Rolling Stones. Feel free to stick with your preferred browser if you like. You won’t be disadvantaged as you complete the course.

But if you trust us and give Chrome a try we think you’ll find you won’t go back.

The task

First of all, we’d like you to download and install Google Chrome on your computer. It’s a relatively simple process if you have control over your computer, but on a work device you might need to plead your case about getting it installed. You can download Chrome for your computer here.

Then you will need to:

  1. Sign into Chrome using your Google account that you created in Unit 1,
  2. Save a bookmark
  3. Find out how to install extensions.

To help you with these tasks we’ve put together a couple of step by step guides. If you like watching tutorial videos then watch our introductory video below, which will guide you through the process of signing in, saving a bookmark and accessing the Chrome web store. If you prefer to see screenshots of the process with written instructions, use the guides below the video.

How to sign in to Chrome using your Google account and save a bookmark

How to find and install an extension in Chrome

 

Mobile options

There is a Chrome browser for Apple devices (iPad, iPhone etc.) Bookmarks will synchronise to your tablet or phone if you sign in with your Google account. Chrome will even keep track of the web pages you have open on your computer and then let you open them on your mobile devices.

Because Chrome is a Google product, you will find it integrates very well with Android devices (Android is the operating system created by Google). Have a look at this guide to syncing tabs in Chrome on your Android device. Chrome will even keep track of the web pages you have open on your computer and then let you open them on your mobile devices.

So now that we’ve got our browser set up, let’s have a look at Evernote.

Go to next task: Evernote

Go to Unit 2 overview