Beta Chrome Stuff That You May Want to Try

Beta Chrome Stuff That You May Want to Try

Remember the “Labs” section of Gmail?  Google has a hidden list of experimental features that you can enable to enhance your Chrome experience. First, go to chrome://flags and you’ll find dozens of potentially upcoming features in different stages of development.

However, with them not ready to be on by default, it goes without saying that how long you can use them may vary when enabling them. Be careful too. Google warns that your browser might delete your data and your security could be compromised. It’s not unheard of for flags to cause browser crashes or blue screens, though some are inevitably riskier than others.

Now that I’ve caught your attention and given you the warnings, I tried to pick a handful of flags that seem relatively safe and yet useful to the average Chrome install we normally use in professional IT services. If this isn’t adventurous enough for you, or if you don’t want to risk your main install, Google also provides a beta build of its browser with some new features, as well as Chrome Canary, which updates quite regularly.

Let’s Begin:

#enable-fast-unload for quick tab/window close

When you activate this, it reduces the amount of time it takes for a tab to disappear when you close it. Although it doesn’t actually end the process any faster, the tab will close instantly while the process finishes being shut down in the background, making for a smoother experience.

Available for: Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome OS, Android

#automatic-tab-discarding to automatically discard tabs

Chrome is infamous for its ability to consume memory and even machines with 8GB of RAM might run low with heavy usage. If this is an issue on your PC, you might benefit from automatic tab discarding, which removes tabs from the system memory when it starts running low. Discarded tabs are still shown in-browser and are reloaded when you click them.

Available for: Windows, Mac

Also see: Make Chrome Run Faster and Keep RAM Usage Under Control

#enable-tab-audio-muting to mute audio

Back in 2013 Chrome announced a new feature that displays an audio icon on tabs that are making noise. This flag allows you to mute/unmute the sound coming from a tab by clicking on that audio icon.

Available for: Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome OS

#enable-scroll-anchoring to allow scroll anchoring

There are few things more upsetting while browsing than going to click a link and having it move as the web page finishes loading. This flag will prevent pages from skipping around as they load so you never click on another ad without you wanting to.

Available for: Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome OS, Android

#enable-gpu-rasterization enables GPU rasterization

This flag offloads page rendering from your CPU to your GPU, which makes this a bigger risk/potentially lower reward feature depending on what you do online. Graphics-heavy content is likely to see a performance boost and you can check this for yourself with the in-browser frame counter found in the developer tools: Ctrl + Shift + J > Console Drawer > 3-dot menu > Rendering > FPS meter.

Available for: Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome OS, Android (#num-raster-threads may also be of interest)

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