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How to add Gemini access to your Chrome browser

Here's how you can supercharge your Chrome browser with Google's Gemini AI tool.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
Gemini AI chatbot
Screenshot by Maria Diaz/ZDNET

If you're a fan of Google's Gemini AI service, you might want to inject it into your Chrome browser. This will let you add responses alongside your Google search engine results, pull in real-time flight info for personalized travel planning, search hotels based on what's important to you, add location-based information, summarize, find, and get quick answers from your own content, and get answers about YouTube videos.

Also: I ranked the AI features announced at Google I/O from most useful to gimmicky

All of these benefits can be added to Chrome for free, and I'm going to show you how to do it.

How to add Gemini features

What you'll need: To make these features work, you'll only need two things: an updated Chrome browser and a Google account. I'll demonstrate how to add Gemini to Chrome version 125.0.6422.60.

1. Log in to your Google Account

Open Chrome and make sure you're logged in to your Google account. Then, point Chrome to gemini.google.com/extensions. On this page, you'll find five boxes, one for each feature. 

Also: 3 ways Gemini Advanced beats other AI assistants, according to Google

You can toggle the enable/disable switch for each. I've enabled everything apart from the Google Workspace feature (because I don't want Gemini accessing my documents stored in Google Drive).

The different Gemini features avaialble to Chrome.

You can add as many or as few of the features as you like.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

2. Using the Gemini service

After enabling these features, go to gemini.google.com and click the + sign in the left sidebar to start a new chat, powered by the extensions you've enabled. 

Install the Gemini Side Panel extension

1. Install the extension

What you did earlier was enable extensions within the Gemini service. This time around, we'll add an extension to Chrome that opens Gemini as a sidebar. This isn't the official Google Gemini Extension because, quite honestly, that one is pretty worthless.

Also: Meet Gemini AI Live: Like FaceTiming with a friend who knows everything

You can install the Gemini Side Panel extension from the Chrome Web Store by clicking Install and then, when prompted, clicking Add Extension. 

2. Using the extension

Once installed, click the extension icon to open the Gemini sidebar and start using the service. Trust me when I tell you this is the way to go, as the official Chrome extension only seems to do what Google Search is already doing (displaying Gemini results alongside standard search results). 

The Gemini Side Panel extension in Chrome.

This is the feature Google should have created in the first place.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Enable experimental AI features

1. Open the AI settings page

You can also enable experimental AI features in Chrome. The operative word is experimental. Some features may not work as expected and some may never get added to the service. To access the AI settings page, type chrome://settings/ai in the Chrome search bar and hit Enter.

2. Enable experimental features

Click the On/Off slider for "Try out experimental AI features."

The Experimental Features option.

Enabling experimental features for Gemini doesn't always pan out.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

3. Check the features and enable what you like

When I enabled experimental features, only one appeared: the Tab organizer. After I enabled the feature, a new entry appeared in the tab right-click menu, labeled Organize Similar Tabs. As expected, this feature was pretty buggy and I couldn't get it to work. 

Also: Android 15 unveiled: Here are 8 exciting (or handy) features coming to your phone

Given this feature is listed as experimental, that's to be expected. Again, your mileage may vary with this feature, but it's nice to see what Google has in the pipeline.

There you go. You've given Chrome an AI-enabled boost that can change how you interact with Gemini. From my perspective, the only way to take full advantage of these features is through the Gemini Side Panel. I say that because I use DuckDuckGo as my default search engine and still want to access Gemini without opening a new tab and going to the Gemini page.

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