About a month ago users on the Chromium repository led a very polite revolt against tab groups in Chrome for Android, declaring that they much preferred the option to simply open a selected link in a new tab directly. A little yellow bird told us that Google has listened to those users, and "Open in new tab" is coming back.

One user tipped us to the below option in version 94.0.4579.0 of Chrome Canary for Android. It looks like Google isn't completely giving up on tab groups for mobile Chrome; "Open in new tab in group" is still available as yet another option, just above the incognito tab. Surprisingly, there's a way to enable it even in the current stable release version, Chrome 91.

In order to see the "Open in new tab" option, you need to dive into the familiar Chrome://flags menu. First, go to chrome://flags/#enable-start-surface and among the many options, pick "Enabled Single Surface V2 Finale." Then go to another flag, chrome://flags/#enable-tab-grid-layout, and select "Enabled without auto group." Restart Chrome, then open the Android recents menu and dismiss Chrome. Open Chrome one more time, and you should see the "Open in new tab" option when you long-tap any standard link in the browser.

There's mention of this change in a few commits on the Chromium Gerrit, indicating that it's being prepared for the big time. Assuming that the functionality seen above makes its way through Google's development process, and that version 94 is when it will debut, the "open in new tab" option might become visible by default in a few months. But that's far from certain at the moment — here's hoping Google doesn't reverse course once again.

  • Thanks:
  • Shiv

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