What you need to know
- Google is adding a new Experiments menu to Google Chrome.
- The new icon gives Chrome users the ability to test out new features and give feedback.
- Google is also increasing its update cadence for stable Chrome builds from six to four weeks.
Early adopters of Google's apps and services are likely very familiar with the
chrome://flags way of accessing experimental features to try out. Some of those features will now be easier to access, thanks to a new Experiments menu that's being added to the toolbar, giving early adopters an easy way to try out some of the latest Chrome features before they're finished.
Clicking the beaker next to the extension's icon will open up the Experiments menu. Reading List, Tab Scrolling, and Tab Search are just a few that users can try out just by toggling the option on the left. There's also an easily accessible feedback button to provide developers with suggestions on improvements to individual features.
Some of these features have been spotted before, like Tab Search, which is already available on the best Chromebooks. Google also subtly announced Reading List when it launched its updated profile interface.
As noted in the tweet, users on the Canary build of Chrome will see the new Experiments menu first, followed by those on the Dev and Beta versions. Those looking to switch versions can check out our guide on how to change software channel on Chrome OS.
Google also announced in a blog post that it's also changing its update cadence for Chrome. Instead of rolling out new "milestones" every six weeks, Google has decided to shorten that to four weeks. Enterprise users will have an eight-week update cadence with security updates provided every two weeks for this "Extended Stable" option, giving administrators more time to manage updates.
As we have improved our testing and release processes for Chrome, and deployed bi-weekly security updates to improve our patch gap, it became clear that we could shorten our release cycle and deliver new features more quickly.
With quicker access to experimental features and a faster update cadence, users could see new features reaching their browsers much faster than before. Google states that the update changes will begin in Q3 2021 with the release of Chrome 94.