The most useful experimental features of Google Chrome

Google Chrome, just like the Mozilla Firefox web browser, ships with a set of features that are not turned on by default. This is usually the case for features that are not yet ready to be enabled for all users of the web browser, but need to be tested by some users to provide Google with the metrics the company needs to improve the feature or remove it again from the browser.

All experimental features of Google Chrome -- and Chromium -- are available when you load chrome://flags in the browser's address bar.

You will notice that some features are enabled, others disabled, and that some may even be unavailable for your platform.

The best Chrome experiments

What you may also notice is that the list is rather large, and that it is not as easy to go through as you may have hoped it would be.

I went through the whole list -- using Chrome 34 -- to find the best experimental features that Chrome has to offer. The following list of features is the result of that work. Lets get started:

Features

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This group lists features that are not enabled by default. Most of them are experimental, which means that you may run into issues after you have enabled them.

They all have in common that they add or change something in Google Chrome.

  • Ignore autocomplete='off': The feature ignores the parameter autocomplete="off" on websites. This is usually done to prevent that password forms are filled out automatically by the web browser.
  • Enable the new Translate UX: Changes from the translate infobar that is displayed on foreign language pages to a smaller notification window that you can launch at any time from the address bar icon.
  • Add grouping to tab context menu:  Adds "select by domain" and "select by opener" grouping options to the tab right-click context menu. If you select by domain for example, all tabs that display a page of that domain in Chrome are selected, so that you can move them together to a new location.
  • Enable Encrypted Media Extensions: This enables the latest version of Encrypted Media Extensions in Google Chrome. The technology is used in HTML5 for the playback of protected contents.
  • Enable Automatic Spelling Correction: Turns on the auto-correction of text while you are still typing.
  • Enable scroll prediction: Tries to predict the final location of the finger while scrolling on touch-supporting devices so that the visible contents at that location get rendered before the finger is there.
  • Enable Download Resumption: Activate the feature to resume downloads that have been cancelled before they could finish (for instance by closing the browser, termination of the Internet connection or corruption due to packet loss and other issues).
  • Enable Offline Cache Mode: Will use the browser cache when web resources are not available.
  • Enable new profile management system: Activates Chrome's new profile management system. This adds multi-profile support to the browser as well as the guest mode.

Performance and Stability

These experiments improve the browser's performance or stability. They may be limited to select operating systems or even versions of an operating system. The D3D11 experiment for instance is only available for Windows 7 and newer versions of the Windows operating system.

Check for known conflicts with 3rd party modules (Windows only): Will run a background check to warn you if software is discovered that may crash the browser.

GPU accelerated SVG Filters: Improves performance by using the video card to accelerated the rendering of SVG Filters.

Enable D3D11 (Windows only): Enables Direct 3D support on Windows systems that support it.

Enable fast tab / window close: Closes tabs and windows faster than before.

Privacy and security

Features that either improve your privacy or security while using Chrome, or change related features.

Disable hyperlink auditing: Hyperlink auditing is a HTML5 feature that allows links to be attached to resources. It is usually used for tracking purposes, and you can disable it in Chrome using this experiment.

Disable Password Manager Reauthentication: Chrome asks for the user's operating system account password before passwords get revealed in the password manager of the browser. The prompt to enter the system password is displayed automatically again after a one-minute grace period. If you do not want that, enable the feature.

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Responses to The most useful experimental features of Google Chrome

  1. TheRube December 30, 2013 at 4:08 am #

    Correct me if I am wrong but from what I have read from various sources, Google Chrome is not a Safe browser to use as it keeps stored consumer-sensitive-information (passwords et al) in its system . . . does not delete it!

    TR

    • CBDunkerson December 30, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

      Chrome, like Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari, can store passwords and other information IF YOU TELL IT TO. If you are concerned about that information being stored in the browser, despite it being encrypted and protected by separate security provisions, then you can just click no when prompted to save the password. Or turn the features off entirely. No different than any other major browser.

  2. Sukhen December 30, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

    I would love to see sorting by 'From' at Gmail. Is there any way?

    • Anonymous December 30, 2013 at 8:45 pm #

      search bar > [person's name]

  3. jciv December 31, 2013 at 3:14 am #

    Great post! The link for Add grouping is an image instead of the chrome link. You should also tell people to copy and paste the link, you can't just click on chrome:// links due to security.

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