Google added a new tab grouping functionality to the company’s Chrome web browser last week as an experimental feature. Experimental means that the feature is in testing and that Google plans to collect data on the use of the new feature to determine whether it is a good addition to stable versions of the web browser.
Our main criticism of the feature was that it did not support a minimize or collapse option to free up room on the Chrome task bar; doing so would provide a solution for Chrome’s tab overload issue which shows blank tabs once a certain threshold has been reached and does not display additional tabs anymore when they opened unless other tabs are closed before that.
Google added a new feature to Chrome this week that adds the collapse option to the tab groups feature of the browser. Once enabled, all it takes is to left-click on the group header to collapse or expand the group.
It is still possible to name tab groups and assign colors to groups by right-clicking on them.
The new collapse option is integrated in Chrome 85 and newer only. Here is how it is activated:
- Load chrome://flags/ in the web browser’s address bar.
- Search for Tab Groups to display all tab grouping experiments.
- Enable “Tab Groups” and “Tab Groups Collapse”.
- Restart Google Chrome.
Right-click on any tab after the restart and select “add tab to group” to create a new group. Once done, left-click on the group header to collapse it or expand it again.
The integration of a collapsing option improves Chrome’s Tab Groups feature significantly. It gives Chrome users options to group sites that they visit, and collapse groups to free up space on the tab bar.
I see multiple use cases for tab groups, e.g. to sort different activities into different groups, use a “temporary” group for sites of interest that you need to access for a certain time, or to put all tabs into groups to extend the tab space that is available without having to open multiple Chrome windows or using extensions that bring order into the tab chaos.
Other browsers, the new Microsoft Edge for example, will support the feature also.