Google Chrome is one of the popular browsers for Windows PC and the credit goes to its diverse set of features. Only a few people know that Chrome has some hidden experimental features which are primarily still in beta. You can try out these features if you like laying your hands on under-the-hood developments. In this guide, we are going to talk about Google Chrome Flags, a reserve for experimental and prototypical features and settings that are hidden inside the Chrome browser itself. If you’re a person with some love for dabbling with hidden features, you’re on the right boat.
These empirical features include the functionalities being developed by Google and put in on Chrome for user feedback but not yet released for general availability. These features when used in a cautious manner, can effectively improve your browsing experience. There are lots of amazing features for consumers to try out in here. We’re going to list down ten most useful and handy features you can enable using Chrome Flags. But before we jump on that front, let’s take a look at how to access Chrome Flags via its hidden configuration page.
How to access Chrome Flags
Before we get the ball rolling, it is important to note that these features are experimental which may behave differently at times. Quoting Google,
“We make absolutely no guarantees about what may happen if you turn one of these experiments on, and your browser may even spontaneously combust. Jokes aside, your browser may delete all your data, or your security and privacy could be compromised in unexpected ways.”
To overcome any sudden change in browser behavior, you can turn off all these experimental features by pressing the Reset button.
Now, to access Chrome Flags, you simply need to put “chrome://flags” or “about://flags” in the address bar of your Chrome browser and hit Enter.
This will open up the Chrome Flags page where you’ll see several experimental features listed. There is a short description below each experiment along with the supported platforms. When you scroll down to the bottom, you can see some of the feature listed under a section named Unavailable Experiments which is probably because of the missing support for Windows OS.
To enable any feature, you need to click on the Enable button or select Enabled from the drop-down menu. Whenever you enable any setting, you’ll have to relaunch your browser for the changes to take effect.
Useful Chrome Flag settings
1. Material design makeover
Google has been much keen to push out its material design principles to all of its products and services. Under development, Chrome is also getting its share. You can check it out by enabling the below flags:
When enabled, you can see some of the browser elements are redesigned with a slight touch of material design. Google is expected to launch it soon for general users.
2. Tab Audio Muting UI Control
You can use this feature to place a mute button on the top of tabs in which you are playing any video/audio. It might come in handy when you can mute the tab without navigating to it and pausing the video/audio manually. Just for the record, you can also mute a tab using the contextual menu of any tab which you can launch by right-clicking on it.
3. Smooth Scrolling
This particular feature makes it easy to scroll through when you have multiple tabs open. Still, under testing, it is expected to improve your scrolling experience which might get sluggish otherwise under heavy load.
4. Download Resumption
Sometimes you might have experienced some issues with the inbuilt download manager in Chrome where your downloads get interrupted due to some reason or the other. This flag allows you to resume your downloads using the Resume context menu item. Quite a handy feature!
5. Fast Tab/Window Close
Another solution to a slow browsing experience in Chrome! At times, you see an intermittent delay while closing certain tabs or windows in Chrome. You can turn this flag on in order to reduce the delay by some bars and close the tabs much faster than before.
6. Password Generator
Well, this Chrome password generator can be really useful for those who often has to scratch their heads for choosing a strong password while creating any account on a website. There are times when it gets little tough to choose a password based on the imposed requirements by the website. Turning this flag on can sail you out of such situations. Google suggest you a password whenever you are creating any new account. This password is then saved in Chrome so that you won’t have to buy any extra trouble.
7. Save Passwords Automatically
You might have noticed a little pop-up window appearing on the top-right corner whenever you sign into any website in a Chrome window, which asks you whether you want the save the password you just entered. Using this flag (see the above image), you can skip that step altogether and save all the passwords automatically. Pretty neat and handy feature if you’re the only person using your computer. You can also export and import passwords in Chrome browser by enabling a Chrome flag.
8. Extension Toolbar Redesign
You can use this flag to turn on the redesigned, yet-experimental extension toolbar if you’re bored with the old one. If you have lots of extensions installed, this feature puts them on far right side of the omnibox. Hiding any particular extension dumps it down into the hamburger menu.
9. Offline Auto-Reload Mode
We all experience the situation when we go offline suddenly, and all the loading pages break down into an error. Enabling this feature will auto-reload such pages that fail to load when the browser is online again. You don’t have to take the trouble of hitting the refresh button when you get re-connected to the Internet.
10. Single-click Autofill
As the name suggests, this particular feature enables the option to suggest autofill contents whenever you stumble upon a form element. It can be useful if you have the information stored and want to fill it out fast.
Flags can be really useful for developers who wants to test out their applications/extensions under a multitude of the operational environment. Some of the experiments have been there for quite some time now so they can be trusted. You can see a substantial improvement in your browsing experience when using the Chrome flags mentioned above. But if you are not an advanced user, best to stay away from them.
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