Chrome’s new Declutter tool may soon help manage your 100 plus open tabs

Recent evidence suggests Chrome on Android may receive a new Tab Declutter tool to help people manage so many open tabs. Hints of this feature were discovered in lines of code on Google’s Chromium platform by 9To5Google. It’s unknown exactly how Tab Declutter will work, although there is enough information to paint a picture.

According to the report, tabs that have been unused for a long period of time “will automatically” be put away in an archive. You can then go over to the archive editor, look at what’s there, and decide for yourself whether you want to delete a tab or restore it. 

Not only could Tab Declutter help people manage a messy browser, but it might also boost Chrome’s performance. All those open tabs can eat away at a device's RAM, slowing things down to a crawl.

This isn’t the first time Google has worked on improving tab management for its browser. Back in January, the company implemented an organizer tool harnessing the power of AI to instantly group tabs together based on a certain topic.  

These efforts even go as far back as 2020, when the tech giant began developing a feature that would recommend closing certain tabs if they’ve been left alone for an extended period of time. It was similar to the new Declutter tool, though much less aggressive, since it wouldn’t archive anything. Ultimately, nothing came of it, however it seems Google is looking back at this old idea.  

Speculating on all the open tabs

As 9To5Google points out, this has the potential to “become one of the most annoying features” the company has ever made. Imagine Chrome disappearing tabs you wanted to look at without letting you know. It could get frustrating pretty fast. 

Additionally, would it be possible to set a time limit for when an unused page is allowed to be put away? Will there be an exception list telling Chrome to leave certain websites alone? We'll have the answer if and when this feature eventually goes live.

We have no word on when Tab Declutter will launch. It’s unknown if Chrome on iOS is scheduled to receive a similar upgrade as the Chromium edition. It's possible Android devices will get first dibs, then iPhones, or the iPhone may be left out in some regions that don't get a Chromium-based browser. 

9To5Google speculates the update will launch in early May as part of Chrome 125. This seems a little early if it’s still in the middle of development. Late summer to early autumn is more plausible, but we could be totally wrong. We’ll just have to wait.

Until we get more news, check out TechRadar's roundup of the best Chromebooks for 2024.

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Google Chrome’s latest AI feature could be bad news for bloggers

Google continues to sprinkle AI into its product line with a new feature coming to its Search Generative Experience (SGE), where Google’s Chrome web browser will summarize the articles you’re reading. Currently, SGE already summarizes your search results so you don’t have to scroll forever, but with this new feature, you’ll get a little more help after you’ve clicked the link.

According to a Google blog post announcing the new feature, we won’t see the new feature right away, which Google has named “SGE while browsing”. The generated summary will begin rolling out next week Tuesday as an “early experiment” within the opt-in Search Labs, a program for people to experiment with early Google Search experiences and share feedback. Interestingly, it will be available on mobile before the Chrome browser on desktop, so keep your eyes peeled while you’re Googling on Android or iOS. 

Google generative AI in action

(Image credit: Google)

As you can see, the little pop-up appears as you’re scrolling through a blog page or article, and you’ll be able to see what Google’s tool thinks are the key points of the page. If you click a highlighted point, you’ll be taken down to that paragraph in the article.

The Verge notes that the feature “will only work on articles that are freely available to the public on the web,” so you won’t see it on websites or articles that are behind a paywall.

There are a few other smaller features that will be introduced as well via the SGE, like being able to hover over certain words and see definitions or diagrams (mostly for scientific, economic or historical topics).

Should Bloggers be worried? 

This feature could certainly be super helpful, especially if you’re looking for concise information very quickly. However, it may be bad news for the people writing the content and I don’t think Google has considered that.

If you’ve spent time and energy to really flesh out your article, give your topic context and personality and people are just given summaries and skip over that, it may be discouraging. Especially if you’re writing about sensitive or serious topics, if the generated summaries are leaving out crucial information people may only go with the presented points and leave behind something important or useful (like mixing cleaning products or medication information).

Content creators may not be happy about the new change and the way it might CEO Sundar Pichai said that “over time this will just be how Search works” so, I guess we’ll have to get used to it. 

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Google Chrome’s new customization tools make the browser a lot more fun

If you've been finding Google Chrome a gray, uninspiring place to be lately, then the browser's new customization tools make it much easier to give it a much-needed lick of paint.

In the latest version of Chrome on desktop, Google has added a new side panel that lets you try out a bunch of new uplifting colors, themes and settings. While many of these options were previously available in Chrome, these new ones are easier to use and actually let you see the changes you're making in real-time.

If you don't have automatic updates turned on, you can update to the latest version by going to the three dots in the top right-hand corner of the toolbar then going to Help > About Google Chrome.

Once you're updated, how do you find Chrome's customization tools? Open a new tab and you'll see a 'Customize Chrome' icon in the bottom right-hand corner. Click that and it'll open up the new sidebar. The main section to fiddle with is the 'Appearance' section at the top.

A video showing where to find the Google Chrome customization settings

(Image credit: Google)

This lets you change two big things – the overall color scheme of your Chrome browser and the background image, which you can set to change everyday. Click on 'Change theme' and you'll see a range of default background options from a selection of artists, or some more subtle ones like 'geometric shapes' if those are too distracting.

If you can't decide on one, then just toggle the 'refresh daily' option within each collection and Chrome will cycle through them. Alongside these themes, you can also pick a background color for your toolbar and tabs, thanks to the grid further down. 

There are 15 default colors to choose from, though you can go super-granular with the eyedropper tool, which lets you enter your own RGB values (just in case you were wondering, the TechRadar logo is R:47, G:110, B:145).

Bigger changes under the hood

Chrome's revamped customization tools are a nice little quality-of-life upgrade for regular users – even if it isn't quite as dramatic as the new AI-powered Opera One browser, which has a built-in chatbot called Aria.

Google has so far been reticent to take that step, preferring to keep its Google Bard chatbot as a separate “experiment” that you open in a browser window. But Bard will soon start appearing more prominently in Google's products, including Chrome and Pixel phones (where the chatbot is rumored to be getting its own widget). 

A video showing how to change the color of your Chrome browser

(Image credit: Google)

Google is also separately making some big changes underneath Chrome's hood, with its plans to turn off third-party cookies moving forwards at a glacial pace. So while Microsoft Edge is now arguably a better browser than Chrome, Google is slowly reinventing its browser under the hood.

If you're looking to customize and tweak Google Chrome even more to go with your new themes, remember that the best Chrome extensions are also a fine way to add new features like tabs that automatically close when they've inactive – as long as you watch out for malicious extensions that can steal your Gmail messages and more.

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Google Chrome’s password manager is finally adding this must-have feature

The built-in password manager in Google Chrome is about to get even better as Google is preparing to add the ability to store notes alongside your passwords.

Besides storing your existing passwords, Chrome’s password manager also includes a password generator to help you create strong, unique and complex passwords for each of your online accounts.

While you can use a standalone password manager like LastPass or 1Password to store your passwords securely, Google Chrome and most other browsers now offer similar functionality. However, these paid solutions often come with extra features like secure cloud storage and password sharing in addition to letting you store notes about each of your passwords.

Now though, it appears that Chrome’s built-in password manager will be getting a big upgrade with the next major release of Google’s browser.

Adding notes to your passwords in Chrome

As reported by 9to5Google and first spotted by Leo Varela, the latest Chrome Canary release adds a new feature to Chrome’s built-in password manager that will allow you to store notes with your passwords.

Once this feature becomes generally available, you’ll see a new “Notes” field underneath the username and password fields in Chrome’s password manager. However, this option will only show up when adding a new password or when you go to edit an existing password. Varela also pointed out in his Reddit post that Google is working on adding the ability to securely send passwords to others as well.

Being able to add notes to each of your saved passwords can be quite useful for those with a lot of different online accounts. For instance, you can add a note to give context to the account, to differentiate between a work and personal account or even if you want to back up the answers to the security questions associated with a particular account.

Users running Chrome Canary can test out this feature now and Google has even added the #passwords-notes flag to make it easier to enable. As this feature is currently tied to the release of Chrome 101, it should arrive in the Stable channel around April or May but the timing of its arrival could change.

Via 9to5Google

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