Google's new Chrome Labs feature makes it easier to live on the bleeding edge of browsers

Extensions On Chromebook Pixel Slate
Extensions On Chromebook Pixel Slate (Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • The latest Chrome Canary builds include a new 'Chrome Labs' feature.
  • The new UI element should make it easier for users to discover new experimental features, as well as try them out.
  • It currently only features the 'Tab Search' and 'Reading List' experiments.

While the Chrome developers may be working on any number of experimental features at a time, it's often quite the chore to actually try them out for yourself. Not only do you have to be on an experimental release of the browser, but you also have to stay abreast of new changes via enthusiast sites (like this one!), look up flags for each feature, and then manually enable them in a hidden corner of the browser.

Well, Google's finally looking to address this particular pain point and make like easier for Chrome hackers and tinkerers. The latest Chrome Canary builds now include a feature called 'Chrome Labs' (via Techdows), which adds a new drop-down next to your extensions for easy access.

Click on the conical beaker icon (called an Erlenmeyer flask, by the way), and you can see a list of experimental features that you can enable, disable, or revert to their default settings with just a couple of clicks. So much easier than before, no?

Chrome Labs

Source: Techdows (Image credit: Source: Techdows)

Unfortunately, the path to this flags-free utopia — you guessed it! — goes through chrome://flags. Paste that address in the URL bar, search from 'Chrome Labs', enable the feature, and restart your browser for it to take effect.

Also, note that Chrome Labs currently only supports a couple of experimental features, namely Reading List and Tab Search. The former allows you to add tabs to a reading list, which is easily accessible via your bookmarks bar, while the latter lets you quickly find an open tab by simply searching for it — quite the godsend for someone like me, who has up to 50 tabs open at once!

Hopefully, Google will increase the features available via Chrome Labs in the future and possibly even make it a one-stop alternative for chome://flags for all your experimental feature needs.

And while it continues to experiment with new features, Google has recently also been working on both improving the browser's performance and boosting its privacy credentials — by limiting browser extensions' access to your data, for example.

Google Pixelbook Go

Pixelbook Go

If you'd like the best experience with Chrome, not to mention priority access to most of the newest experimental features, you may want to take a look at the lineup of PCs literally named after the browser! With a gorgeous display and a refreshing design, the Pixelbook Go is sure to delight any Chrome lover's heart!

Muhammad Jarir Kanji