Picture this: you have you web browser all configured just the way you like it. You have your bookmarks, your settings, your extensions, your apps...all of this customization helps you work better and faster. And then you get a new computer. Or you need to use a conference room computer for a meeting. Or you're snowed in and you need to work from home. Whenever you switch computers, you lose all of those extensions, apps, bookmarks, and settings that you've customized and you have to start over from scratch. Or do you?
Google Chrome, like most other modern browsers, allows users to log into the browser itself. We're not talking about logging into a website or a service, we're talking about logging into the actual web browser with your Google credentials. This links your apps, extensions, bookmarks, history, and apps to your Google profile. This allows you to then take all that customization with you when you switch to a different computer.
This article is going to cover how to use your TSS credentials to log into Chrome, and how this can be helpful to you.
Signing In to Chrome
1. Open a Google Chrome window. Locate the small person silhouette in the upper-right hand corner of the browser window, then click on it. This icon is called the Profile Switcher If you're into keyboard shortcuts, CTL + Shift M will also open the Profile Switcher.
2. After opening the Profile Switcher, click on Sign in to Chrome. Enter the credentials for your TSS Google account
3. Once you've signed in, you'll be prompted with a dialog box informing you that your account is managed by TSS. If you're logging into Chrome for the first time, you'll want to click on 'Create a New Profile'. For subsequent logins, you'll want to use the "Link Data" feature instead.
4. Now you're logged in to Chrome! You can tell because your name should now be visible in the Profile Switcher, the spot where the person silhouette was located before:
Benefits of Signing into Chrome
Now that you're signed in, we'll go over some of the benefits of signing into Chrome.
TSS maintains a set of web bookmarks to useful links to websites and services that we use frequently in the organization. You can view these bookmarks by clicking on the folder labeled "TSS Bookmarks" (or TVCS Bookmarks or Journeys Bookmarks) in bookmarks toolbar.
If you don't see the bookmarks toolbar in your browser, use the keyboard shortcut CTL + Shift + B to reveal the bookmarks toolbar.
The TSS bookmark list is customized for different parts of the organization, but you should see a list of bookmarks similar to the ones below:
Bring Your Apps, Bookmarks, and Settings with You
When I open up Chrome on a new computer, this is what I see for my homepage and apps screen:
Notice that there are no app, bookmarks, or extensions. My apps screen is similarly sparse:
Now compare those images to the view I get after logging into Chrome with my TSS profile
All of my settings, extensions, apps, and other resources have been updated and installed. This is a huge time-saver if I'm giving a presentation in the conference room or if I'm working from home on a new machine.
Work and Personal Accounts: Keep 'Em Separated!
Pretty much anyone who has a personal Google account in addition to their TSS account has encountered this screen before:
As we already covered in another helpdesk article, these permission issues come up when you try and access a TSS document, but Google isn't sure whether it should be using your TSS account or your personal account to do this. One solution to this issue is to follow the advice of the 90s punk rock band The Offspring: Keep em' Separated. You can do this by maintaining two Chrome profiles: one for TSS, one for personal stuff.
1. To add another profile (like a personal account), open the Profile Switcher again (CTL + Shift + M) and click on 'Manage People':
2. Choose 'Add Person' in the bottom-right corner:
3. The next screen will give you some options about coming up with a name and choosing a thumbnail image. Just ignore all this and click on "Save" in the bottom right-hand corner.
4. Now you'll have a new browser window assigned to "Person 1". Click on the profile switcher (or CTL + SHIFT + M) and choose 'Sign in to Chrome'. Now follow the instructors from earlier to add your personal account.
5. Now you'll have two browser instances, one for TSS and one for personal. They can even be open at the same time. Personally, this has been the most useful technique I've found for keeping TSS accounts and personal accounts separate. One pro-tip that can help a lot with this: choose profile pictures with a lot of contrast, so it's easy to tell which one is your personal account and which one is your TSS account.