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.
Any time a developer releases a new feature, the hope is that users will find it helpful. That isn't always the case. For example: the new tab groups feature in Chrome for Android, which is now the default behavior after being introduced in January. While the grouped tabs initially came with a chrome://flags option to turn it off, that option has been removed, and tab groups are now permanently enabled in all current versions of the browser.
Apple claimed at WWDC this year that Safari is the "world's fastest browser" — note that noteveryoneagrees with that, and if the company's claim is true, it's at the cost of not supportingthe modern internet and PWA-hostile policies, but you do you Apple. Separately from speed-ranking titles, Safari is also stealing two pretty handy features from Chrome on mobile platforms. As part of a cross-platform redesign that includes iOS 15, Safari will pick up Chrome's swipe-to-switch-tabs feature, plus Chrome's grid tab view. Safari is also getting tab grouping like Chrome, but it sounds like the iPhone will skip that party.
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.
Some features in Chrome seem to be cursed to never fully roll out. The bottom-bar 'Duet' mobile interface has been in development for over two years at this point, and support for tab groups on the desktop has been rolled out and pulled back more times than I can count. Thankfully, it seems like tab groups are finally going live, for real this time.
Tab grouping is a feature many Chrome users are excited to get, especially since other browsers have been capable of similar for a while. The feature is still a while away from being released in the stable version of Chrome, but the latest update in the Canary channel includes colors for each group and automatically opening links from the same site in the same group. The Send to Self feature for sharing tabs with Chrome on another device now has a history page.
Finding yourself with too many tabs open and your computer memory suffering is something that happens to us all, although some more than others — looking at you, Ryne. When you've got too many in one window, something I like to call "Tab City," it can be hard to find what you want. Tab Groups could be Google's solution to this age-old problem.