5 Super Duper Secret Browser Hacks

Odds are, you’re smart enough to have ditched the piece of rubber dog poop that is Internet Explorer sometime around the middle of 5th grade. In fact, you’re probably happily reading this from Firefox or Chrome, like the majority of our readers are.

Are you still using your browser in its stock configuration, though? You may not know this, but you can in fact trick your browser out like Alvin Joiner tricks out Escalades and internet memes. Truth be told, these browser “hacks” aren’t really super-secret – but that hasn’t stopped you from remaining ignorant of them, now has it?

Number 1, Punk

My first mega-super-stupendous hack is utilizing the “Pin Tab” feature in Firefox or Chrome (by the way, just because I don’t mention a different browser doesn’t mean that browser doesn’t have the feature I’m talking about. I just don’t know if it does. Do some research of your own, broseph).

Are you one of “those guys” (or girls, I guess) that always has 8,203 tabs open in your browser? Well sober up, chump – I regularly have over 9000 of my own open. That makes me 9000x more productive than someone with a single tab open – I know because of science.

Pin those tabs.

Pin the tabs that are always open.

Here’s a cool trick for those of you who collect tabs like they’re large gold bricks – in Chrome or Firefox, right-click a tab that you use all the time and click “Pin Tab”. This will do a couple things – 1) The tab will now be over on the left side and show only the favicon, and 2) it will open automatically any time you open your browser. I use this feature for sites like Facebook, Gmail, Grooveshark, and Passpack. It’s super-handy for opening those sites that you always use, and it saves some space on your tab bar as well.

The Second Hack.

The second hack involves getting off your lazy butt and installing some extensions. Ok, actually you really don’t have to get off your lazy butt to do this. Still, you should. I want you to put a barbell on your back and do squats while you install these.

In case you don’t know, Firefox and Chrome are both extendable via, duh, extensions. These are basically little programs that you install in the browser, much like you install regular programs into your OS. Extensions can give your browser functionality it didn’t have before, such as the ability to take screenshots, share links, block ads, and put troll faces everywhere. You can browse all available extensions for Chrome here and Firefox here.

Since I’m a Chrome user, I’ll list off a few of my favorite extensions for Chrome. Firefox usually has either the same ones or some that do largely the same thing, so search around if you’re sticking with the red furry animal.

  • UsePass – replaces the Passpack bookmark that lets you auto-login to websites.
  • Buffer Button – lets you add tweets to your Buffer from any webpage. It even creates the tweet and shortens the link for you.
  • Lightshot – lets you take screenshots from within the browser. As a blogger, this tool is indispensable to me. It lets you copy the screenshot, download it, upload it to an image hosting service, and even share it.
  • AdBlock – probably the most popular extension ever made. Blocks ads.
  • PanicButton – it’s a boss button.
  • Surplus – puts your Google+ notifications in a browser extension, so you can disable the email notifications and still not miss things that happen.

Check out my guest post on Site Sketch 101 for a more in-depth look at Chrome extensions for Twitter, if you’re so inclined.

And a Third.

This one isn’t so much a hack as much as it’s me telling you to put on your adventure pants and try out a new browser. RockMelt is a browser built off of Chrome that packs in tons of social media features and other goodies. To use the browser, you have to connect it to Facebook – you find out why once it starts up. RockMelt has, on each side of the browser window, “edges” – areas where added functionality is packed in. The left edge shows all of your online Facebook friends. Here’s the cool bit – you can start chatting with them using the browser’s built-in Facebook chat tool – which means you can chat even when you’re on a different site.


RockMelt in action

The right edge is the “app” edge, which I think is even cooler: here you can add your Twitter accounts, RSS feeds, and other things. The browser’s built-in Twitter client is actually pretty good – it won’t replace TweetDeck as my Twitter client of choice, but it’s nice to have.

RockMelt works with Chrome extensions as well, although not all of them. In fact, if it worked with more than it currently does, it would completely replace Chrome as my browser of choice.

A Wild Fourth Hack Appears

Ever wanted to send a link between multiple computers (or to your smartphone) really quickly and simply? Yeah, you could just post it on your Facebook wall and grab it on your other device, but this is crude and spams your friends.

In fact, having to go to any specific site to share a link with yourself is a hassle best left to people who would otherwise just be picking their noses. Your time is valuable; that’s why you need Keepitwith.me.

This web app is super-simple – all it does is generate two links that you put in your bookmarks bar. One is for sending, the other is for receiving. After you follow the instructions to add these two booksmarks to all the devices you’d like to be able to share between, you can literally just press the Send bookmark on one computer, and then press the Receive bookmark on the other to share web pages. Easy.

The Fifth One. (It’s Useless)

I’ll be honest – this last hack will not get you any further in life.

But it’s just so damn fun.

Yes, I’m speaking of none other than the Katamari Hack. Place the bookmark in your bookmark bar, and then start destroying every website you come across by rolling over everything with an ever-growing ball. Awesome.



So! I hope you gained some good ideas for pimping your browser from this post. If you have hacks of your own, then get your ass down to the comments and share them. Don’t be selfish, now.

Thomas Frank is the geek behind College Info Geek. After paying off $14K in student loans before graduating, landing jobs and internships, starting a successful business, and travelling the globe, he's now on a mission to help you build a remarkable college experience as well. Get the Newsletter | Twitter | Instagram

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