Samsung Galaxy S7 For Dummies (2016)
Part III. Live on the Internet: Going Mobile
IN THIS PART …
Surf the Internet from your phone and visit websites.
Get to know Google’s Play Store and add exciting new apps your phone.
Set the Browsing settings to get to your favorite websites quickly.
Chapter 7. You’ve Got the Whole (Web) World in Your Hands
IN THIS CHAPTER
Surfing the Internet from your phone
Changing the browsing settings
Adding and deleting bookmarks
If you’re like most people, one of the reasons you got a smartphone is because you want Internet access on the go. You don’t want to have to wait until you get back to your laptop or desktop to find the information you need online. You want to be able to access the Internet even when you’re away from a Wi-Fi hotspot — and that’s exactly what you can do with your Galaxy S7 phone. In this chapter, I show you how.
The browser that comes standard with your Galaxy S7 works almost identically to the browser that’s currently on your PC. You see many familiar toolbars, including the Favorites bar and search engine. And the mobile version of the browser includes tabs that allow you to open multiple Internet sessions simultaneously.
This chapter goes into much more detail on using the Internet browser on your Galaxy S7, as well as the websites you can access from your phone, and discusses some of the trade-offs you can make when viewing a web page.
Starting the Browser
You have three options for getting access to information from the Internet via your Galaxy S7 phone. Which one you use is a personal choice. The choices are
· Use the regular web page: This option involves accessing a web page via its regular address (URL) and having the page come up on your screen. The resulting text may be small.
· Use the mobile web page: Many websites offer a mobile version of their regular web page. This is an abbreviated version of the full website that can be more easily read on a mobile device.
· Find out whether a mobile app is associated with the web page: Many websites have found that it is most expedient to write a mobile application to access the information on its website. The app reformats the web page to fit better on a mobile screen — a convenient option if you plan to access this website regularly. I cover the trade-offs about this option later in the section “Deciding Between Mobile Browsing and Mobile Apps” and explore how to find and install such apps in Chapter 8.
With this background, head to the Internet. On your Galaxy S7 phone, you may have a few choices on how to get there. Figure 7-1 shows three possible icons that can get you there. Tap any of these, and you can start surfing.
FIGURE 7-1: Possible paths to the Internet on your Galaxy S7.
If you want a little more understanding as to why there are multiple options, read the nearby sidebar on Internet terminology.
BASIC INTERNET TERMINOLOGY FOR DUMMIES
The term Internet access can mean a few different things. In some circumstances, the word Internet can mean a web browser. A web browser is an app that will display pages on the Internet. In other circumstances, the word Internet may refer to a search engine. You use a search engine to find either information you are seeking or to bring you to a website. Then you use a web browser to look at the information. Chances are the web browser on your phone that you will use is an app from Google called Chrome.
The chances are that the search engine you use on your phone is Google, but it may be the search engine for Microsoft called Bing. The goal with your phone is to get you where you want with minimal fuss. It is easier for the people that are bringing you this phone and service (Samsung, Google, and your wireless carrier) to give you three icons that essentially point to the same thing than to explain the terminology. Tapping the Internet icon, the Chrome icon, or the Google icon will most likely bring up the Chrome web browser.
For your purpose, tap either the Chrome icon or the Google icon to get started. These icons will typically be on the Home screen. Alternatively, tap the Application icon and find the Chrome or Google icon.
If you love Bing, you are not out of luck. Bing is either on your phone, or you can get it installed (I cover how to install things like Bing in Chapter 8). For now, just stay with Chrome and Google. Things on other browsers and search engines are mostly similar, and choosing the Chrome/Google pair simplifies things.
As long as you’re connected to the Internet (that is, you are either near a Wi-Fi hotspot or in an area where you have cellular service), your home page appears. If you tap the Google icon, it will be Google. If you tap Chrome, your default home page could be blank or the Google home page, but many cellular carriers set their phones’ home pages to their own websites.
If you’re out of coverage range or you turned off the cellular and Wi-Fi radios because you turned on Airplane mode, you get a pop-up screen letting you know that there is no Internet connection. (Read about Airplane mode in Chapter 2.)
If you should be in coverage but are not connected or when you get off the airplane, you can re-establish your connections by pulling down the Notification screen and either tapping the Wi-Fi icon at the top or turning off Airplane mode.
Accessing Mobile (or Not) Websites
The browser on your phone is designed to work like the browser on your PC. At any time, you can enter a web address (URL) by tapping the text box at the top of the screen. You can try this by typing in the address of your favorite website and seeing what happens.
For example, the page seen in Figure 7-2 is the regular version of the website Refdesk.com.
FIGURE 7-2: The regular version of the website Refdesk.com.
As you can see, the website is all there. Also as you can see, the text is very small. This particular website is designed to take you to a lot of useful links throughout the Internet, so this is an extreme example of a regular website.
While this text is crisp and bright on your beautiful screen, it is still small. You can stretch and pinch to find the information you need. (Stretching and pinching are hand movements you can use to enlarge/shrink what you see onscreen, as covered in Chapter 2.) With a little bit of practice, you can navigate your familiar websites with ease.
The other option is to find the mobile version of a website. As a comparison, Figure 7-3 shows the mobile version of Refdesk.com. It has fewer pictures, the text is larger, and the mobile version loads faster— but it’s less flashy.
FIGURE 7-3: The mobile version of Refdesk.com.
In the case of RefDesk, you can get to the mobile version by entering m.refdesk.com into the text block at the top from the software keyboard. Refdesk.com is far from the only website to offer a mobile version. Many sites —from Facebook to Flickr to Gmail to Wikipedia — offer mobile versions.
So how do you get to the mobile websites? If a website has a mobile version, your phone browser will usually bring it up. Samsung has gone out of its way to work to make the web experience on the Galaxy S7 phone as familiar as possible to what you experience on your PC.
The most common difference between the address of a mobilized website and a regular one is /mobile.com at the end of the address. For example, the mobile version of Amazon.com is www.amazon.com/mobile.
If your phone doesn’t automatically bring up the mobile version of a site, the simplest way to find it is to search for the desired site along with the term mobile. For example, the first option you get from searching for IMDb mobile on your phone is the mobilized website for the Internet Movie Database.
Getting Around in the Browser
If you tapped one of the icons seen in Figure 7-1, you opened up the browser. Now would be a good time to try some of your favorite websites. Go ahead and tap in a few website addresses and see how they look!
One of the early goals for browsers that work on smartphones was to replicate the experience of using the Internet on a PC. For the most part, the browsers on your phone achieve that goal, even if you probably need to practice your zooming and panning.
One popular capability of PC browsers is the ability to open multiple tabs. This allows you to quickly jump between sessions of, say, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Wikipedia by clicking on a tab. If you had only one tab, your browser would need to wait as the website’s home page was reloaded.
If you want to have multiple tabs open simultaneously, you will need to take a couple of steps to change the settings. If you can handle only one browsing session at time, feel free to skip to the next section on bookmarks.
1. From the browser screen, tap the Menu icon.
Tapping the Menu icon, the three vertical dots to the right of the website address, brings up the menu options seen in Figure 7-4.
2. Tap Settings.
Tapping the Settings brings up the screen shown in Figure 7-5.
3. Tap the Merge tabs and apps setting.
Tapping this setting brings up the screen shown in Figure 7-6.
4. Tap the toggle switch to the off position to get multiple tabs.
Tapping the toggle switch turns off this option. Turning off the option is necessary to see multiple tabs. Figure 7-7 shows the options.
FIGURE 7-4: The Chrome Menu options.
FIGURE 7-5: The Chrome Settings screen.
FIGURE 7-6: The Merge tabs and apps selection.
FIGURE 7-7: The browser screen before and after allowing multiple tabs.
The tab counter tells you how many tabs are open. Because you just enabled the capability to have multiple tabs, there is only one. To add other tabs, tap the tab count box. This brings up a screen like the one shown on the left in Figure 7-8.
FIGURE 7-8: The tab manager with one tab and with two tabs.
If you just want a new window for a second browser tab, tap the + (plus) sign in the upper-left corner of the screen. You get a second browser screen. The right screen shows RefDesk in the second tab. You navigate among the multiple tabs by swiping up or down. If you just want to close an open tab, tap the x in that tab’s upper-right corner. It will disappear.
As convenient as it is to type URLs or search terms with the keyboard, you’ll find it’s usually faster to bookmark a web address that you visit frequently. Making bookmarks is a handy way to create a list of favorite sites that you want to access over and over again.
A bookmark is roughly the equivalent of a Favorite on a Microsoft Internet Explorer browser.
When you want to add a website to your bookmark list, simply visit the site. From there, follow these steps:
1. Tap the Menu options icon.
This brings up the screen shown earlier in Figure 7-4.
2. Tap the outline of a star.
This brings up the screen seen in Figure 7-9.
3. Decide what to name your bookmark and tap Next.
The first textbox is the name you want to give to your bookmark. In this case, the default is Conditions & Forecast – WeatherBug.com. You can choose to shorten it to just WeatherBug, or anything you want to call it. When ready, tap Next on the keyboard.
The second textbox is the web address (URL). You probably want to leave this one alone.
4. Tap the Save button at the bottom-right corner of the screen.
This puts a thumbnail of the website in your Bookmark file. This is shown in Figure 7-10.
FIGURE 7-9: The Bookmark screen for your new addition.
FIGURE 7-10: The Bookmark screen with your new addition.
You access this screen through the Menu options shown in Figure 7-4. The next time you come to Bookmarks, you can tap this thumbnail, and this page will refresh and come up in its own window.
Bookmarks are cool and convenient, but you don’t always want to save them forever. When a bookmark has served its purpose, rather than have it take up prime real estate on your Bookmarks screen, you can delete it. Press and hold the thumbnail of the website you want to delete. Doing so brings up a pop-up like the one shown in Figure 7-11.
FIGURE 7-11: Bookmark housekeeping options.
To delete a bookmark, tap Delete bookmark. Your phone confirms that this is indeed what you want to do. Tap Yes, and the bookmark is gone.
On the other hand, say you really like this site. You can make it your home page. Tap Set as Homepage. Boom. Done. It’s now your home page.
Deciding Between Mobile Browsing and Mobile Apps
When you open the browser, you can use any search engine you want (for example, Bing or Yahoo!). This is a very familiar approach from your experience with PCs. However, you may get very tired of all the pinching and stretching of the screen.
Many companies are aware of this. What they have done is to develop a mobile app that provides you the same information as is available on their website that is formatted for a smartphone screen. Companies in particular will put the information from their website in a mobile app and then add some important mobile features.
For example, it is very convenient to order a custom-made pizza from the website of a national pizza chain. You can order your desired variety of crusts and toppings. The website version also offers directions to the nearest store. The mobile app can take this one step further and give you turn-by-turn directions as you drive to pick up your pizza.
This capability of providing turn-by-turn directions makes no sense for a desktop PC. This capability could make sense for a laptop, but a few laptops have GPS receivers built in. It is also too cumbersome and probably unsafe to rely on turn-by-turn directions from a laptop. It is much easier to get turn-by-turn directions over a smartphone.
This is just one example where downloading a mobile app offers a superior experience. The best part is you get to choose what works for you on your Galaxy S7.