Google Chrome just got a killer upgrade to make browsing better

Google Chrome
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Chrome is the most popular browser in the U.S. and U.K., though it has its flaws. Fortunately, Google is about to fix one of the biggest ones.

Spotted by Ghacks, the in-development "Scrollable tabstrip" feature will let you sift through your open tabs more easily. Of course if you're a Firefox user you'll find this quite amusing, since the Mozilla-designed browser has had a similar feature for years.

Currently in Chrome, the more tabs you open, the smaller each one becomes and the less of the page name you see. Therefore if you open more than twenty tabs or so, the title of each page is clipped so much that you can only see the icon. That can make it very difficult to tell which page is which, particularly if you've got the same website open multiple times.

(Image credit: Ghacks)

Chrome already offers tab groups as a way to organize your tabs more intelligently, but that still suffers from the shrinking problem if you have a large number of tabs open.

But with scrollable tab strips enabled, the tabs stay at a fixed size when you have more tabs than your current window has space for. Instead, you can move left and right with your scroll wheel or equivalent trackpad gesture if you put your mouse cursor at the top of the window.

A newly introduced but currently disabled option for this is left/right buttons to navigate through the row of tabs. This is how Firefox lets users move through tabs, and could also be the way Google introduces this feature onto touchscreen devices further down the line.

How to try scrollable tabs in Chrome now

If you want to try it out right now, you'll have to download the desktop version of Chrome Canary 88, the unstable experimental version of Google's browser. If you'd rather stick to the mainline stable releases, you'll likely be waiting for a few weeks before Google refines this feature to the point it can be safely released to the general Chrome userbase. However, there's always a chance Google could remove the feature if it doesn't meet its standards.

If you do decide to download Canary, then go to the chrome://flags menu in the browser, then search for Scrollable TabStrip and activate it. After restarting the browser, you'll now be able to try the feature.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.