Google’s Chrome web browser is great for netbooks, thanks to its minimal navigation bar which takes up significantly less screen real estate than Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer. If you have a netbook with a 1024 x 600 pixel display, you want a web browser that makes as much room as possible for displaying web content.

But I’ve found that Chrome isn’t all that easy to use if you’re using a touchscreen tablet-style netbook like the Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3t. That’s because you have to rely on scrollbars on the side of the screen to navigate through web pages. The only web browser with built-in Windows 7 touch navigation support is Internet Explorer — and that’s only if you’re using Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional, or Ultimate.

But James Kendrick spotted a nifty extension for the Google Chrome browser that adds touch navigation. It’s called chromeTouch, and once it’s installed, you an navigate through Google Chrome by dragging or flicking any part of a web page — much as you would with a smartphone web browser.

ChromeTouch has a few settings that make it easier to use on small tablets or netbooks as well, including the option to hide the scrollbars altogether, giving you even more screen real estate for web content. And if you want to be able to select text on a page without accidentally scrolling up or down, you can just tap the chromeTouch icon in the URL bar to switch from Full to Auto mode, or turn off the chromeTouch extension altogether.

You can check out my hands-on video after the break.

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16 replies on “ChromeTouch makes the Google Chrome web browser tablet-friendly”

  1. I wonder how well this new browser called WCS Touch Browser would work on the Exo-PC. It says that it is designed for Windows touch screen devices and the feature list looks really impressive.

    Wish I had an Exo-PC. I will give it a try when I get mine.

  2. i just uses standard firefox and am happy with the touch scrolling, touch selection etc…. what am i missing? Anyway will try Grab and Drag

  3. As I commented over on jkontherun, there are several touch/kinetic scrolling exstensions for Chrome available. None of them are as good as the best such extensions for Firefox.

    1. What are your favorites for Firefox? I meant to mention Grab and Drag in this post, but it slipped my mind. On a netbook like the S10-3t though, I found chromeTouch to be much more responsive than Grab and Drag on Firefox.

      1. Grab and Drag is what I’ve used on Firefox. Both you and JK say you prefer chromeTouch though…

        1. I totally agree. I’ve tried all the chrome extensions for ‘ipod like scrolling’ (wet banana, scrollbar anywhere, quick scrolling); and none of them work as well for me as ‘grab and drag’ on firefox.

  4. Fennec, Mozilla Firefox for mobile devices, now has win32, localized desktop builds. Have you played with this? I would love to read your response to this piece of software, and I think that it’s a very sensible browser to use on the types of devices you review for this site. You might consider incorporating it into your review criteria. While Firefox also has nifty touch-friendly extensions, it’s nice to use a browser on the desktop that was actually completely designed around touch.

    1. I use Fennec Alpha on my HP tx1000 tablet. It works great. Also allows double tap to zoom into section, which these plugins don’t have. The newest Fennec build (beta) doesn’t support full screens though. It’s pretty silly that the best browser for tablet PCs is an alpha build made for phones yet being emulated on PCs.

  5. The screen real estate issue is a big one, but also Chrome just *feels* faster on my Acer Aspire One (1024×600). The only screen real estate issue I’ve found is that the options dialog goes off the screen in ubuntu.

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