One of the most frustrating things about doing any kind of multi-tasking is when it comes to using apps in split-screen. This concept that seems so simple continues to cause headaches, as evidenced by Apple’s continued attempts to implement multi-window support on the iPad.
But what if you could fire up Chrome, open a couple of tabs, and actually split one of the tabs out to the side from within the same window? As noted by our sister site, Windows Central, Microsoft seems to be working on a “reimagining of the Edge web browser” that does just that (and much more.)
Ignoring the UI overhaul that this new version of Edge aims to bring, the biggest feature that I’m excited about is the ability to use a split-screen interface from within the browser window itself. While it might appear as though this is some revolutionary feature, that’s actually not the case. There have been other browsers that offer something similar, and if you use a Mac, you might have already seen this in action.
Arc, from The Browser Company, is in active development, and I recently received my invitation to the beta program. I’ll save some of the other fun things about Arc for another day, but one of the key features of Arc is the ability to open different browser tabs in split-screen. All of this can be done without grabbing ahold of the browser tab, dragging it out of the window, then placing it where you want on the screen.
Instead, I’m able to open a few different tabs in a split-screen view, complete with controls for rearranging those tabs and adding more to the view if needed. I’m even able to resize the different tab windows directly, which is especially helpful when working with more than just two tabs.
In its current implementation, which is still only in testing with the Canary version of Edge, Microsoft is working to allow you to view “just” two tabs side-by-side. But what all of this made me realize was that this is something that Google should have already implemented.
Both Edge and Arc are built on Chromium, so it’s not like either of these companies is creating something brand new from the ground up. Of course, the code creation and implementation are created by Microsoft and The Browser Company. But it really just goes to show that this is possible with Chrome, in some capacity.
Google has been putting a lot of effort into improving the overall Chrome experience, such as adding Material You design elements. Along with other features such as Tab Groups and Memory Saver. But it’s been quite a while since we’ve seen any “earth-shattering” features such as what Edge is working on and what Arc offers.
Frankly, now that we’ve seen two Chromium-based browsers implement this, I think it’s time for Google to do the same with Chrome. I’m all for keyboard shortcuts to manage open windows, regardless of whether I’m using a Chromebook, a MacBook, or my Windows PC. But being able to have a few tabs open in a single window would be an absolute game changer for the way that I work. And I’m sure that I’m not the only one who feels that way.
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Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.