Today Google is announcing a handful of changes to its popular Chrome browser, including a whole pile of enhancements to tabbed navigation across platforms, the QR code page sharing feature it rolled out last month, the ability to save edited PDFs from right inside Chrome, plus performance improvements that will make the next Chrome release up to 10% faster. As usual for Google, though, some of these changes are older things that already rolled out behind feature flags, but now they're official.

Most of the changes have to do with how you navigate between tabs in Chrome. When you think about it, tabbed navigation really hasn't changed for a decade (if not more). The last appreciable change we got was when tabs could adaptively shrink in size to better utilize the space available, but Google's rolling out a whole pile of changes across platforms:

  • Tab groups can now be collapsed and expanded.
  • The touch-friendly tab interface that debuted with Chrome OS 81 and the Lenovo Duet is rolling out widely.
  • Chrome for Android will offer an already-opened tab if you start typing that page address in a new tab.
  • Long-teased hover-over tab previews, previously locked behind a feature flag, will debut with the next Beta.

The next Chrome release will also pick up the ability to save filled-out PDFs, finally improving on the (slightly useless) feature Chrome's had for a while. And those cute Chrome dino-themed QR codes, which already rolled out to stable behind a feature flag is going to be enabled.

Lastly, Chrome 85 will also be up to 10% faster in certain performance metrics, based on some improvements Google has made. These enhancements come courtesy of something called Profile Guided Optimization. There's also a long-planned Tab Throttling optimization that reduce the impact of background tabs when it comes to performance, rolling out now in the current Beta release. And not only will these performance improvements mean faster page-load times, we'll also see better battery life and potentially meme-diminishing memory savings, too.

Some of these changes are rolling out now (probably as part of Chrome 85), others are still in Beta. Either way, keep an eye out for these tweaks.