Use Chrome Labs to Find New Browser Features

I love when a new version of Chrome comes out because it gives me the ability to tinker with the comprehensive browser chrome://flags/ screen and dig for hidden features. But looking at these flags takes time because the browser doesn’t tell you what’s new (or what’s missing right now). Unless you are using Chrome Canary, that is where the hidden flag enables the new “Chrome Labs” feature in the toolbar, highlighting some of the browser features tested by Google.

Before I get down to it, there are a few caveats. First off, the Chrome Labs feature only exists in Chrome Canary (for now), which means you’ll have to run the beautiful beta of Google’s browser to see it. If potential instability doesn’t bother you – or you have a backup like Edge Chromium to switch to if your browser becomes unstable – give it a try.

Second, the Chrome Labs feature does not highlight all the potential changes Canary contains. There are many more other flags you can enable to gain access to preliminary features, but if you just want to try out a few high-level options without going through all of them, Chrome Labs is for you.

You can start by downloading and installing Chrome Canary (which runs alongside the regular Chrome browser, not replaces it). Launch your browser, type chrome://flags/ into the address bar and press Enter. Find Chrome Labs and enable the flag:

You will now see this icon in the toolbar menu. Click on it and you will see a drop-down menu with several functions that you can test:

Turn anything you want to tinker with on or off, but keep in mind that default doesn’t always mean off. For example, the Tab Search option is now part of Chrome Canary and appears as a small arrow above the toolbar:

Enabling this will do nothing, but disabling it (obviously) will remove the icon and function from your browser.

While the Chrome Labs options menu is not as comprehensive as we would like it to be, I hope this is a sign that a more extensive version will eventually arrive in the stable version of Google Chrome. I have nothing against flags, but it would be great to have a quick and easy way to try out new features without having to go hunting for them every few months. Surprise us, Google. Fill this drop-down menu with options and let people choose what they want to play with.


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