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Make Your Chrome Browser Even Stronger

by Dr. Bruce Ellis
Chrome browser

In a previous post, I shared several flags that you can enable in the Chrome browser for additional features that you might find helpful. I have heard from several folks that enjoyed those features, so here are two more that you might want to consider. And, as a reminder, to access the flags in Chrome, you’ll need to go to chrome://flags in your Chrome browser.

Enable Tab Groups

The Tab Groups flag will allow you to cluster opened tabs into groups. Still experimental, this feature isn’t as robust as it will eventually become, but it may be helpful none-the-less. Once enabled, you’ll notice an additional choice as you right-click on a tab – Add to New Group. If you have already created a group, then you will notice that you have an option to add the tab to a particular group. The first group is named Group 1 with all the tabs added to the group obtaining the color of the group. Unfortunately you cannot rename the group name (yet) and the groups cannot be rearranged. Also, once you close the browser, the grouping is removed.

Chrome browser

Below is what my Chrome tabs look like now.  This flag is definitely in the infant stage of development, but there is great potential for it. Even if you choose not to keep this flag enabled (and you set it back to default), keep an eye on it; in Chrome Canary (the developer’s version of Chrome that is updated nightly), this flag already allows you to rename the group and assign a color to the group.

Chrome browser

If you like the concept of tab groups but are disappointed with the lack of features in this flag, then consider using the Tab Group extension. Wow, what a game changer! Not only can I create tab groups, I can also name them, easily add to them, and have the extension open a saved group in the current browser or a new window! This feature is like having my bookmarks already in a folder and able to open up at once (which is already possible but less convenient than this extension makes it).

If I’m a classroom teacher, I may use the extension to create grouped tabs that I’ll use when teaching…or teach my students to create grouped tabs so they can be more efficient (at least in my class) while on the laptop/desktop/Chromebook. I personally have started using it to group similar tabs that I need to open based on various tasks that I might be doing (work, social media, research, training, etc.).  Below is a screenshot of what my current groupings look like using the extension (not the flag).

Chrome browser

Enable Focus Mode

If you want to focus on a particular website, but don’t want to be distracted by the other tabs that may also open, then consider enabling the Focus Mode flag. Once enabled, Focus Mode will allow you to remove the identified tab from the current window of tabs and open it in its own special window. Special window? Yes, special window. The window that it will open to will be stripped of many interface elements (omnibox, extension bar, bookmarks bar, etc.) leaving you with just a title bar, the more features icon, and a scroll bar.

If you want to drop the focused window back into the window from where it was extracted, then click on the more icon (the vertical three dots on the right-hand side of the browser) and select Open in Chrome. This flag is great if you like to have multiple tabs open normally, but need to focus for a bit.

Google Chrome developers are always working to see how they can keep Chrome ahead of the game and make it the browser of choice. Stay tuned as we keep our eye out for more goodies that are coming your way!

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