Google Chrome may get a Focus Mode soon

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 25, 2019
Google Chrome

Google added a new experimental flag to Chrome Canary recently called Focus Mode. Chrome Canary is the cutting edge development version of Google Chrome; new features land in Canary first before they are moved to Developer, Beta, and Stable versions of the web browser.

Focus Mode is a brand new feature and it appears that it is not fully implemented yet. The description reveals little, "If enabled, allows the user to switch to Focus Mode", and there is no switch or option to access the mode yet.

It is not uncommon for a feature to land in waves in the browser. Google may have added the Focus Mode flag already but not the underlying code or part of it. It does not take long, usually, before a feature that was partially introduced becomes fully available.

How to enable Focus Mode

chrome focus mode

Focus Mode is available as an experimental flag currently in Chrome Canary.

  1. Load chrome://flags/#focus-mode
  2. Set the status of the experimental flag to Enabled.
  3. Restart Google Chrome.

Google will introduce the functionality with an upcoming update. Note that functionality may change or may be removed entirely at any time.

So, what is Focus Mode?

The short answer is that we don't know. It is only available in the desktop versions of Google Chrome.

A bug listing on the official Chromium project website refers to the project as "Minimal Chrome Desktop UI - Focus Mode". The title suggests that Focus Mode might change the user interface in some way instead of hiding distractions on webpages opened in the browser. How the mode differs from fullscreen mode and the minimal user interface it offers remains to be seen.

It could disable certain user interface related distractions such as notifications for the time it is enabled; this could be useful to users who make use of notifications but prefer to block them when they watch a movie in Chrome, play games, or work.

It seems less likely that Focus Mode will change content on webpages or block certain websites, like the third-party Chrome extension Focus Mode does, when the mode is entered.

Things will become clearer when Google integrates the missing bits in Chrome Canary.

Now You: What do you think Focus Mode does in Chrome?

Google Chrome may get a Focus Mode soon
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Google Chrome may get a Focus Mode soon
Google added a new experimental flag to Chrome Canary recently called Focus Mode which will launch in the browser in the future.
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  1. user17843 said on February 25, 2019 at 9:21 pm

    abstracting the UI is one of the original goals of Chrome. Chrome was the first browser to have only the essential UI elements, which was quickly copied by other browsers.

    Focus mode will probably take it a step further for certain occasions.

  2. Yuliya said on February 25, 2019 at 6:13 pm

    Whoever invented this stupid concept of web notifications in a browser – fucking why?!!

  3. Nebulus said on February 25, 2019 at 9:53 am

    I’m sure some of the users will find uses for it, but for me it is not useful at all (Chrome is my secondary browser, though…)

    1. tratata said on February 25, 2019 at 3:18 pm

      I think it’s like a Zen Mode in programmers IDEs. “Hide all unnecessary UI elements”.

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