With all the browsing we do it’s often almost impossible to hunt down and discover one single site that was visited, say, three weeks ago. While it may not actually be impossible in the literal sense of the term, it certainly can be frustrating and time consuming to the point where it’s not worth the effort and we’re often sent back to the original search efforts we made.
This can be avoided with any one of the different history tools available as Chrome browser apps. Two of the ones I use most are Enhanced History and Visual History, and each has it’s own strengths.
1. Enhanced History: offers advanced filtering
This Chrome extension works best when you have some idea of the time frame you visited a particular site. If you are trying to remember what site you looked at three weeks ago, you’ll be able to use Enhanced History to set that particular time period as your search parameter. Then you can enter a keyword to search for, within that particular time frame, to narrow the results even further. You can change the search parameters dynamically and try different methods until you find the page or pages you’re looking for, as well.
This tool can also be useful for parents who want to be sure their young kids are not browsing sites they shouldn’t be looking at for whatever reason. In addition to searching through your browsing history and specific time periods, Enhanced History also has a couple of useful deletion tools. You can delete just the results of a given search (useful for getting rid of those Onion searches from your work terminal) or even delete the entire history with a single click of the mouse.
If Enhanced History isn’t your cup of tea, or you have different search needs, you might try Visual History, below.
2. Visual History: presents URLs visually, as an interactive chart
This Chrome extension can be used instead or along with Enhanced History. You know those movies where the detective uses bits of string across a map to hunt down a serial killer? Visual History for Chrome looks a lot like that, and can help you hunt down a particular site or group of sites you browsed at a given time. Each site you view will be connected to other sites via these bits of virtual string, if they were both visited within the space of twenty minutes. Each page (or node) is color coded to show their age, with blue being the oldest and yellow the most current pages. Clicking on each node will give a bit of it’s history on the left side, and you will be able to move among them dynamically with the mouse, along with zooming in and out. Exploring your history this way makes more sense to a lot of visually oriented people and it can help you identify trends and other connections. Additionally, there are a couple different options for exporting your visual history in different formats.
Between these two extensions there’s not much you won’t be able to find in your browsing history, whether you’re using them to search your own sites or using them to check up on the kids, both are a handy and free alternative to the standard history page included with Chrome’s basic installation. Until next time, my friends.