Sharing links between devices isn’t always easy. The only exception is if you’re using an iPhone and a Mac that have a shared clipboard. If you’re on a different desktop OS such as Linux or Windows 10, your ability to share links to another device runs into platform restrictions. Chrome has added a new feature to its stable release that lets you push links to other connected devices. The browser is easily one of the most popular browsers on the desktop and it has mobile versions for both Android and iOS. It’s a great way to share links between the various devices that you own. Here’s how the feature works.
Chrome connected devices
This feature relies on Chrome sync to work. A connected Chrome device is any device that has the Chrome browser installed and that has Chrome sync enabled. All devices must be using the same Google ID to sync data. Chrome sync is available on all versions of Chrome desktop and mobile.
Send links to connected devices – Chrome desktop
Open the link that you want to send in Chrome and right-click in the URL bar. From the context menu, select Send to your devices. Select a device from the sub-menu and then open Chrome on the device.
You will see a notification telling you that you’ve received a new tab. Tap it, and the link will open. On mobile devices, these notifications only appear in Chrome and are not send through the mobile OS’ notification system.
Send links to connected devices – Chrome mobile
On your mobile device, whether it’s Android or iOS, open the link you want to send to a device and tap the share button. A menu will open listing various options once of which will be ‘Send to your devices’. Tap it and then select the device you want to send the link to.
Go to the device that you sent the link to, and you will see an alert/notification (depending on the platform) telling you a link has been sent. If you tap it, it will open the link in a new tab.
If you’re sending links to a desktop via Chrome, the browser must be allowed to send notifications. Unlike its mobile version, the notifications on the desktop are delivered via the desktop OS’ notification system.
Adding new devices is pretty easy; all you have to do is install Chrome on the device and then sign in and enable sync via the same Google ID.
Opera GX is a version of the Opera browser that targets gamers. It’s not going to run games but it has certain features that gaming enthusiasts might be interested in. In fact, it has features ordinary users might find useful e.g., CPU and GPU limits. The browser has just added a network bandwidth limiting feature as well. Here’s how it works.
Limit network bandwidth in Opera GX
Open Opera GX and you’ll see a bar of controls along the left. Click the icon that looks like a speed dial and a panel will open. You’ll see a ‘Network Limiter’ switch at the very top. Turn it On, and a dropdown will appear below it. Open the dropdown and it will list the various network speeds that you can limit Opera GX to.
The lowest limit is 64 Kb/s and the maximum limit is 25 Mb/s. You cannot freely choose the limit between the upper and lower limit in the dropdown. You will be selecting from preset values. The lowest limit is pretty low but the highest limit falls short of the internet speed you’d get if you have a good connection. In some countries, internet speeds are delivered in GBs so you can imagine how the 25 Mb/s limit might be small in comparison.
If you wanted to limit network speed in any other browser, even a mainstream one like Chrome or Firefox, you’d have to go through developer tools or find an add-on or extension to do that job. Limiting bandwidth might be useful for gamers but it’s just as useful for users who aren’t interested in games.
The network limit, once set, is saved between sessions. If you close the browser and open it again, the limit will still be set which is a good thing but if you suddenly find the internet is slow in the browser, check if you may have enabled a bandwidth limit for the network and then forgotten about it.
The limit will apply to all activity in the browser; any website you visit will load at the speed that you’ve allocated, and any file that you download will also be constrained by it.
The network bandwidth limits how much of your network Opera GX can use however, if other apps on your system are also downloading content, the browser might end up using significantly less bandwidth. This tool doesn’t let you set a minimum bandwidth usage limit. That simply isn’t possible. If you’re looking to distribute bandwidth on a per-app basis, you’re going to have to look for a tool that is independent of any other app and that runs on your desktop and not just in your browser.
Firefox has a picture-in-picture mode, much like Chrome and Safari do. This feature was added in Firefox 67 (current stable version is 68) and works on websites that use an HTML5 media player. One popular website is of course YouTube. For some reason, the feature isn’t enabled for everyone by default so here’s how you can enable and use Firefox Picture-in-picture mode.
Enable Firefox Picture-in-picture mode
Open Firefox and in the URL bar, enter the following.
Tap Enter, and accept the warning that you see on your screen. Once you’re on the preferences page, use the search bar at the top and look for the following preference.
Double-click it to change its value from False to True.
Use Firefox picture-in-picture mode
Once enabled, you can start using the picture-in-picture mode in Firefox. Navigate to a website with playable video content, and make sure it’s an HTML5 player. Play it, right-click the player. The first time you right-click the player, the context menu may, or may not, have a picture-in-picture option. If it does, select it and the video will be played in Picture-in-picture mode.
If the option isn’t there, right-click the player a second time, and the option should appear.
The picture-in-picture mode works as you’d expect it t; a floating player is added to your screen and it floats above all other windows i.e., it is pinned to the top. You can click and drag it to move it anywhere you want and it can be resized.
The player itself doesn’t feature a lot of controls; only a button to switch back to the window/tab it was originally playing in, and a play/pause button. There’s also a close button which, when clicked, will exit the floating Picture-in-picture mode player. The video will return to the tab it was open in, and it will be stopped at whatever point it was on when you closed the floating player.
Chrome added this feature almost a year before Firefox did and it didn’t work for all websites. It’s the same case with Firefox. It won’t work on all websites, even those using HTML5. One example of this is Facebook which has been using HTML5 for videos since 2015. Neither Chrome nor Firefox’s native picture-in-picture mode works with it. Chrome users can force it with an official extension from Chrome but, there’s nothing official from Mozilla to fill the gap.
You can probably find an add-on that, while not developed by Mozilla, will force other HTML5 players to work with picture-in-picture mode.
Add-ons for Firefox are generally available in the Firefox Marketplace along with themes. These add-ons are safe and you can install them with a few clicks. It’s about as easy as it gets. Add-on developers generally do not have to face any problems when they submit an add-on so distribution is fairly simple.
That said, not all add-ons are distributed via the Firefox Marketplace. Some will inevitably have to be distributed from outside it. In order to install these add-ons, you have to side-load them. Here’s how.
Sideload an add-on
Sideloading an add-on in Firefox is really easy. All you need is the add-on file which is an XPI file. Developers choose how they distribute their add-ons which is why we can’t point you to a single place where add-ons from outside the Firefox Marketplace are made available. They may be on a developer’s website, or they may be on a Github page.
Once you have the XPI file, all you have to do is drag & drop it on to an open Firefox window. Alternatively, you can tap the Ctrl+O keyboard shortcut to open the Select File box, and then select the XPI file from it.
You will see a prompt asking if you want to add the add-on to Firefox, and it will show you a list of the permissions it will have access to. Click Add, and it will be installed.
To uninstall an add-on that you sideloaded, tap the Ctrl+Shift+A keyboard shortcut. This will take you to the add-on manager. Click the more options button next to the add-on and select ‘Remove’ from the menu.
Limitations & precautions
Add-ons that are not from the Firefox Marketplace may not be safe. If the add-on is open-source, it’s likely going to be harmless but if it isn’t, make sure the developer is reliable before you sideload an add-on. A malicious add-on that you install to your browser can steal all sorts of information.
This method will not allow you to install add-ons that are not compatible with your version of Firefox. Compatibility hasn’t been a problem with Firefox add-ons for a long time but there will still be exceptions. If you find an old add-on’s XPI file, and try to install it this way, it may not work. It might also install but fail to work as it should. If that’s the sort of add-on you’re trying to install, it’s best to seek an alternative for it.
Censorship is an amazing thing in that you’ll never know it’s there until it suddenly isn’t. Censorship is often used by governments to keep regulate what information is available to its citizens though other forms of censorship may be used by organizations to restrict content e.g., in schools, or in prisons. When censorship is on a government level, it’s usually done by asking companies to refine or restrict content e.g. Google search results. If you want to uncensor Google search results, you can. You can do this in Firefox, or Chrome, or in Chrome Edge.
In order to uncensor Google search results, you will have to side-load an extension/add-on in Chrome or Firefox (whichever browser you use). This is because the extension that we’re going to use has been removed from both the Chrome Web Store and Firefox Marketplace for obvious reasons.
Uncensor Google search results
Download the Google Unlocked extension from Github. Go to the Releases tab. If you’re looking to download the extension for Chrome, or Chrome Edge, download the CRX file. If you want to install the add-on for Firefox, download the XPI file.
To install the app in Chrome, check out our post on how to install extensions in Chrome. The sideloading section is the one you want to check out. Since this is a Chrome extension, it’s highly likely going to work in Chrome Edge.
For Firefox, the process is much easier. Open the browser and tap the Ctrl+O keyboard shortcut. In the Select File box that opens, select the XPI file you downloaded. You will see a prompt asking if you want to add the add-on or not. It will also display the permissions that the add-on needs. Once you click Add, it will be installed.
Uncensored search results
The uncensored Google search results may feature new entries on the first page, or on subsequent pages. It’s hard to point you to a search term that you can try since it may not be censored in your part of the world. That said, you might have seen that under some search results, the results page tells you that some items were removed in response to a copyright claim. This extension will likely add them back to the search results.
A lot of people recommend using other search engines instead of Google. DuckDuckGo is often recommended and while it will give you uncensored results, its algorithm isn’t as efficient as Google’s which is why, this extension may be worth installing.
YouTube added a live streaming feature a while ago. It was added to compete with Twitch though that didn’t quite work. Still, the live streaming feature is there and this year, Apple is going to be using it to stream its iPhone event. If you already follow Apple, or any other channel for that matter, and you’ve enabled notifications for it, you will get an alert when the channel goes live. That said, if you’re only interested in a specific event that’s going to be broadcast, you can set up a YouTube live stream alert for the channel. Here’s how.
YouTube live stream alert
In order for this to work, the channel must already have set up the live stream to play in advance. If the channel already doesn’t have the stream link up, waiting to go live, you will have to subscribe to the channel and enable alerts for it instead. We’ll detail how to do that as well.
Locate the live stream. It should be on the channel’s page. The link will show a countdown timer to when the event/stream will start. Click the ‘Set Reminder’ button. If you’re not already signed into YouTube, you’re going to have to sign in first.
The reminder is set the second you click the button. It’s delivered via email but also via YouTube on both the mobile app and the website. You can undo it by clicking the ‘Reminder on’ button and it will be toggled off.
The stream may start earlier than the time that the channel has set and if it does, you won’t get an alert for it. The live streaming feature, and its reminders, need work. The notification settings don’t allow you to set when you should get a reminder to a live stream i.e., how far in advance. You’re alerted at the designated start time, and not before that.
Live alerts for subscriptions
If you’ve already subscribed to a channel, you will need to enable alerts for it. This might seem like something that should happen automatically but any YouTube channel will tell you otherwise. To subscribe to alerts, visit the channel’s page. You’ll see a bell icon next to the Subscribe button. Click it to get alerts for activity from the channel.
You can also find this same bell icon under a video that’s been uploaded by the channel. Click it and you’ll be subscribed to alerts from the channel. These alerts will include both new video updates, live stream updates, as well as status updates.
Skype has returned its focus to its core function; messaging and calls. To that end, it’s added several useful features to the app that aid in better communication such as subtitles. Another feature that’s recently been added to Skype is a bookmark feature. The name is self-explanatory for the most part; you can bookmark a Skype message and quickly find it again whenever you need to. Here’s how it works.
Bookmark a Skype message
This feature is available on the Skype desktop apps, the web app, and the mobile apps for iOS and Android.
Desktop & Web
Open the Skype app on your desktop or visit the Skype web interface in your browser. Select the chat thread that you want to bookmark a message from. Look for the message and when you find it, click the three dots/more options button next to it. In the menu that opens, select the ‘Add bookmark’ option.
To access the bookmarks, click your profile icon at the top left (above the search bar). In the menu that opens, click Bookmarks.
The bookmarks are grouped by person, and then sorted by date. If you hover the mouse over it, an arrow appears. When you click the arrow, it takes you to the message within the chat thread it’s from. To remove a bookmark, click the three dots/more options button that appears when you hover the mouse over it and select the remove option from the menu.
iOS & Android
Make sure the Skype app on your phone is up to date and visit the chat thread that you want to bookmark a message from. Tap and hold on the message until a menu or additional options appear. Tap ‘Add bookmark’ from the menu, and the message will be bookmarked. You will see a little icon on top of the message indicating that it has been bookmarked.
To view bookmarks, return to the main app screen and tap your profile at the top. From the menu, tap Bookmarks. If you tap a bookmark, it will take you to the chat thread it’s from. If you want to remove a bookmark, tap and hold on it until a menu appears. Select the ‘Remove bookmark’ option from the menu and it will be removed.
You can bookmark messages that have been sent to you, or that have been sent by you. When you bookmark a message that has been sent, the sender is not notified that it has been bookmarked.
Your Skype ID is associated with an email address like most online services are. The email is key to recovering a lost password, among other things. Your Skype ID can be changed but so can the email that’s associated with it. It’s a simple enough change to make and since Skype is often a critical communication tool for most people, you can not only change the primary email for a Skype ID, you can also add a secondary one. Here’s how.
Primary email for Skype ID
Visit this link in your browser, and sign in to your Skype account. In the column on the left, click the ‘Edit Profile’ option.
Click the ‘Add email address’ option under the ‘Email address’ section.
This will allow you to change whatever email is set as the primary email and also enter a secondary one if you want to. One you’ve changed the email address, scroll to the very end of the page and click Save.
You will get an email, on the newly selected address, telling you that your primary email and/or secondary email address has been updated.
The primary email is used to recover a lost Skype ID or password. The secondary email can be used for the same purpose but it will be a more complicated process to use it to recover your Skype login information. You will have to first to tell Skype you no longer have access to the primary email before you can use the secondary one.
The email that is associated with a Skype ID is also used to add a person as a Skype contact. Changing the email will not suddenly expel you from contacts’ lists. You will have to let people know which email to use to look you up on Skype since you’ve made a change but other than that, you won’t run into any problems.
You can change both your primary email for a Skype ID and also change your Skype username. Neither one is set permanently however, if you’ve been using the Skype ID in question for a long, long time, it’s not a good idea to make both changes at the same time. Space them far apart enough so that your contacts aren’t confused about who they’re talking to. If you’ve just created a new Skype ID and want to change your email and username, changing them both at the same time will not be as big a deal because your contacts’ list is still bound to be short.
The GIF format is widely supported by desktop image viewers and online image editors, as well as various social media sites. It’s grown in popularity quite a bit but you still can’t use it anywhere and everywhere you want. That said, the right GIF can still be used anywhere, as long as the image format is supported. Google supports the GIF format for profile pictures. If you have the right GIF, and by right we mean appropriate, you can use it as your profile picture. Here’s how you can set a GIF as your Google profile picture.
GIF as Google profile picture
First things first; find a good GIF to use. The GIF being used for this post is not an example of an appropriate GIF. It’s there for instructional purpose only. You can create your own GIF, or you can search online for one.
Once you have the GIF, visit this page. If prompted to, sign in with your Google account. Your profile picture is editable from this very page. Click the camera icon on the picture.
Select the option to upload an image from your computer, and then upload the GIF that you want to use.
Adjust the image if you need to and click ‘Set as profile photo’. That should do the trick and your profile photo should update however, it doesn’t always update immediately. You can wait for the update to eventually happen or you can force it.
To force the update, click the camera button on your profile picture. If the new image hasn’t appeared, you will still see the old one. Clicking the camera button will return you to the same upload photo screen. This time, go to the ‘Your photos’ tab, and select the ‘Profile Photos’ folder. Inside this folder, you will see the GIF you uploaded. Select it, and click the ‘Set as profile photo’ button. Repeat this 2-3 times until the profile photo updates.
The GIF will appear as your profile photo when you send an email and it will play which is why it’s important to have something appropriate and nothing that plays too long.
You can change the profile photo back to your old one, or to something else. The process is the same as it is for setting a GIF as your Google profile photo. All you have to do is use a different image i.e., one that isn’t a GIF when given the option to choose an image. This will update your profile photo across all Google services including YouTube and Chrome. If you want, you can set a different profile photo for Gmail.
Ads are how online content is ‘paid’ for. The content might be a useful article, or it might be a hosted file that you can download. In either case, ads keep the lights on and allow you to consume the content you need for free. Sure, the ads are annoying but they’re necessary. That said, not all ads are the same. A good, reasonable ad shouldn’t pretend to be anything it isn’t. It should look like an ad, and act like an ad. Unfortunately, when it comes to software repositories, you often get ads disguised as download buttons. Users are highly likely to click on these ads thinking they’re the real thing and end up with countless pop ups opening. Here’s a simple way to identify real download links and buttons.
Identify real download links and buttons
This trick works in practically all browsers and doesn’t require that you install any add-ons or extensions. What it does require is that you do not compulsively click items on a web page. Navigate to a web page with a download button or link. It may have several of them, or just the one. The point is to find out if the one you see is real or not.
Hover the mouse cursor over a link or button and you will see a small bar appear at the bottom of the window. This bar is part of your browser’s UI and it reveals the link that you’re about to click. Look at the URL and the domain that it links to will reveal it.
In the screenshot below, the download button is on MediaFire and the link that’s revealed also shows that it links to MediaFire. The name of the file is also part of the URL. All this indicates that the download button is real and clicking it will start the download.
If the link were an ad, the URL would contain the name of an ad related service or domain. For example, if the ad being shown is powered by Google, the domain name will show Googleadservices. Likewise, there are plenty of other ad services that are used and they can all be identified by looking at the URL.
The same trick works for links and for buttons. Once you’ve identified which is the correct link, you can click it and download the file. Some downloads are hidden behind ads i.e., you have to click the ad and view it for a certain period of time before you’re taken to the actual download page. In such a case, this method is of no use because the real download button/link simply won’t appear until you interact with the ad first.