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Google Chrome is fixing one of the biggest annoyances with tabs

Google Chrome
(Image credit: Thaspol/Adobe)

Accidentally closing your Chrome browser is a huge pain, especially if you had a lot of tabs open. Who has the time to wait while Google reloads every single one?

Fortunately, it looks like Google is working on a new “magic trick” to cut that reload time down to almost nothing — as spotted in the new Chromium Gerrit by Android Police

The changes involve "three new commits over at the Chromium Gerrit," which are designed to work together to reload your lost Chrome tabs instantly. That way, should you accidentally close your Chrome window, you can get back to whatever it was you were doing right away.

Apparently, this feature works in a similar way to Chrome’s back-forward cache. Because you may have noticed that by hitting the back button, Chrome is able to instantly load up the previous webpage.

In that instance Chrome stores a cached version of the webpage in its memory, and this update essentially does the same thing with closed tabs. Chrome will store the closed tabs in its memory for a full 15 seconds, giving you ample time to restore them. And because they’re cached away, they’ll pop back up instantly, with no annoying reloading required.

Android Police points out that this isn’t exactly a new feature; it’s just not one we’ve seen on desktop devices before. Chrome for Android already has a system of caching closed tabs — though it’s much more basic and doesn't freeze pages to reduce CPU usage.

As a regular user of Chrome’s desktop browser, I’m quite happy that this feature is coming. While it’s not so difficult to hit Shift+Ctrl+T (or Command+Shift+T in Mac) to restore lost tabs, having to wait for them to reload is a pain. 

I tend to have a significant number of tabs open at the same time, and my luck means the one I want is always one of the last to be restored. It’s just a shame that this feature seems to be a way off. The fact it isn’t in Chrome’s Canary channel means it can’t actually be tested, and even then there would be a wait before it rolls out to the stable version of the browser.

I eagerly look forward to the day that restoring lost tabs doesn’t take longer than your average Windows update.

Tom Pritchard

Tom covers a little bit of everything at Tom’s Guide, ranging from the latest electric cars all the way down to hot takes on why Christopher Nolan is wrong about everything. Appliances are also muscling their way into his routine, which is a pretty long way from his days as Editor at Gizmodo UK. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining that Ikea won’t let him buy the stuff he really needs online.