Chrome, Tab Groups arrives, the feature everyone was waiting for

Chrome adds a tool to group all open tabs and save space for users. Here's how it works

After many requests from users around the world Google is about to release a very useful feature on Chrome: tab grouping. Unfortunately, however, it's going to do it in the worst way and, undoubtedly, less useful than other solutions it could have adopted.

The change is contained in version 81 of Chrome but, while initially it seemed that Google wanted to make it official for everyone, in reality it is not so: it is still between experiments (and we will see in a while that there could remain for quite a while) and to activate it is necessary to write in the Chrome address bar the string chrome://flags/#tab-groups and then click Enabled and restart the browser. From now on we can start grouping tabs of open windows, but with some very big limitations. Here's how it works.

How to group tabs on Chrome

Creating a tab group on Chrome 81 is not intuitive at all: we have to right-click on an existing tab and then choose "Add to a new group". A small window will open where we can enter the name of the group and choose a color. After doing so, the group will be created and in place of the tab the chosen name will appear, in the chosen color. At this point we have two ways to add tabs to a group. The first is to click on the group and choose "New tab in group": an empty window will open, already inserted in the group, and we can then choose the address to navigate to. Or we can right-click on an already open tab and choose "Add to existing group" and then choose one of the groups we've created.

Tab Groups on Chrome: what's wrong

In both cases we'll get the same result: instead of saving space we'll have wasted even more space because the tabs are grouped together, but they are all next to each other and are not placed in a tree structure, which would save us several useful inches on the screen. The only useful thing about tab groups made in this way is that by dragging the group name to the right or left we'll move all the tabs belonging to that group.

If Google wanted to get an idea of how to do tab grouping that works, it would have been enough to remember what its competitor Opera did back in 2012: to create a group of tabs just overlap one to another and immediately a small arrow appeared to the right of the grouped tabs, which allowed you to show them all and then group them again. With one click. Or, without even making a click, it was enough to place the mouse on the group to see all the thumbnails of the grouped tabs appear. Today Opera, which is now based on Chromium code, uses a new method called "Workspaces" that is less immediate but, in any case, light years ahead of what Chrome offers today.