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Get more from web browsing with Firefox and Safari

Hidden features and third-party apps to make life easier

Getting frustrated with keeping track of tabs, or pages that just won't load when you're browsing the web? These tips will help you ensure your time on the net is spent far more efficiently.

Find pages

How many times have you read something on the web and later had no idea where to find that information again?

Although browsers keep track of your history (a list of URLs you've visited recently) that isn't much help if you don't know the name of the site or if the page is no longer in the history list. There are several ways to solve this problem.

Use a search tool

If you're an Apple Mac user running Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard), you can easily search the contents of pages you've visited. That's because Spotlight indexes everything you look at in Safari, except when you've enabled private browsing (Safari: Private Browsing).

Click on the Spotlight icon in the menu bar and enter your search term, and Spotlight will display a list of matches under web pages. But there's a catch: even though Spotlight knows the text that was on the page, it can't display that text if the page no longer exists. For that, you'll need a more powerful tool, such as St Clair Software's £10 HistoryHound 1.9.2.

Windows users should check out Google's free Google Desktop. Like Spotlight, Google Desktop indexes the contents of pages you visit; also like Spotlight, it doesn't store pages, so you must go back to the original site once you've discovered a match. But unlike Spotlight, Google Desktop supports numerous browsers (including Firefox), and can even index messages from your Gmail account, not to mention other files on your hard disk.

Sync your browsers

Have you ever bookmarked an interesting website at work - only to forget the URL when you're at your home PC?

Google Browser Sync makes your Firefox browser settings available on any two or more Firefox-equipped, internet connected PC. In fact, this Firefox extension can remember bookmarks, cookies, and passwords for those websites.

Whenever you open Firefox, Google Browser Sync asks you if you'd like to restore any pages from your last session. The pages you select automatically open in their own tabs. The program takes a few minutes to set up, and it takes a few seconds whenever you open Firefox. Note: Google Browser Sync is free, but it does require a Google account. It also requires that you create and remember a PIN that you'll use the first time you sync your bookmarks on another computer.

NEXT PAGE: Keep bookmarks in sync

  1. Hidden features and third party apps that make life easier
  2. Tips for finding pages
  3. Keep bookmarks in sync
  4. Improve site support

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