10 Hidden Tricks That Boost Your Productivity From Google Chrome’s Address Bar

Chrome's omnibox hides many secrets

Chrome’s omnibox hides many secrets

Did you think Google Chrome’s address bar was just for entering URLs? In reality, it offers you many more possibilities. Here are 10 tasks you can easily accomplish using your favorite browser’s omnibox.

If you regularly surf with Google Chrome, you are probably familiar with the omnibox, the browser’s “omniscient” address bar, located at the top of the page. If entering website URLs is its primary function, it has many other tricks up its sleeve. You will see that this seemingly very basic little bar can accomplish great things… and make your life easier, at the same time!

1. Perform keyword research

This feature integrated into Chrome’s omnibox is undoubtedly the best known. It allows you to avoid returning to the search engine’s home page to enter a query. To minimize input constraints, Google has integrated a drop-down menu displaying suggestions based on Internet users’ habits, the history of previous queries and a spell checker. This menu is displayed on hover as soon as the user starts typing in the address bar. With the recent integration of machine learning technologies into Chrome version 124, Google has further improved the accuracy and reliability of predictive search.

Our tip: you can search using words extracted from online text. Simply highlight them, before dragging and dropping them into the address bar.

Predictive search with the omnibox: entering queries in the address bar

Predictive search with the omnibox: entering queries in the address bar

2. Ask a question to Gemini, Google’s AI assistant

If Gemini has been rather discreet since its launch by the Mountain View firm, the chatbot nonetheless remains present. As proof, Google integrated it into its browser’s omnibox last April. To communicate with the conversational assistant, simply enter @gemini and ask your question (or perform a keyword search). The user is then redirected to the Gemini application where they can view the answer to their question (in English only).

chat with geminichat with gemini

3. Calculate and convert

Maybe it wouldn’t occur to you to use it for this purpose, but know that the omnibox can perform simple calculations and even solve complex equations. You will finally be able to do without a calculator and avoid spending hours on your children’s math problems.

And in case you’re wondering: Google’s address bar can also convert weights, currencies, distances, times, and temperatures. Just ask him!

Solve a math equation with Google Chrome's OmniboxSolve a math equation with Google Chrome's Omnibox

Solve a math equation with Google Chrome’s omnibox

4. Search for content in favorites

This is a feature that you will like if you have accumulated many bookmarks. The omnibox helps you find content buried in the ocean of your favorite sites in just a few clicks. Simply enter @favorites then the keywords describing your search. Matching sites will automatically appear in the drop-down menu.

You can do the same thing to search your history (@history) or your open tabs (@tabs).

5. View Google Drive documents

Google’s various services are designed to interact and provide an optimal user experience. If you need to access a document stored in the cloud, save time by typing @drive, then the title of your file. You will access it directly.

Please note, the functionality is only active if you are connected to the drive associated with your Google account.

6. Install an app

When Google’s Omnibox automatically detects an application, an icon showing a PC screen topped with an arrow appears. By clicking on this symbol, you open a download window allowing you to proceed with the installation.

7. Translate words or expressions

Do you need a translation on the spot? Enter the keywords to translate then select enter. You will directly obtain the translation into (good) French in Google, the engine being pre-configured according to your geographical area.

Automatic translation of keywords entered in the Chrome address barAutomatic translation of keywords entered in the Chrome address bar

Automatic translation of keywords entered in the Chrome address bar

8. Show a notebook in Chrome

Who wouldn’t like to be able to remember an idea, record references or comment on a web page with a single click, without having to interrupt their navigation?

With this little-known tip, you can turn Chrome into a notebook in no time. No, it’s not magic: just another feat of the omnibox.

Copy this section of code into the address bar:

Click enter. A notebook will automatically open in a new tab.

A trick to open a notepad in Chrome A trick to open a notepad in Chrome

A trick to open a notepad in Chrome

9. Write an email

Imagine that you are browsing the internet. Suddenly, you remember you need to send an urgent email. No need to leave the page you are currently viewing. Simply open a new tab and type mailto: into the omnibox. Your default email client will directly open a window inviting you to compose your email.
Another option if you use gmail: enter @gmail in the address bar to access your email more quickly.

10. Turn Chrome into a File Explorer

Did you know that by entering file:// you go directly to your computer’s file tree? And by the way, if you often access several documents that you need to load or share, all you have to do is place them in a local folder, “navigate” to it directly within Chrome and create one shortcut on the favorites bar.

chrome fileschrome files

Are you convinced by the powers of the omnibox? Check out our Chrome review to learn all of the browser’s features.

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