Google modifies Chrome's Tab Context Menu heavily

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 27, 2019
Updated • Aug 27, 2019
Google Chrome

If you run Google Chrome Canary, the cutting edge development version of the Chrome browser, you may have noticed that Google modified the Tab context menu heavily.

A right-click on a tab in the Chrome browser displays a number of options that are mostly tab-related. The menu lists options to create a new tab, pin a tab, close a tab, bookmark all tabs, or undo the last closed tab among other things.

Going forward, some of these options may no longer be available in the context menu. A right-click on a tab in Chrome Canary displays the following options only: Reload, Duplicate, Pin, Mute site, Close, Close tabs to the right.

chrome right-click tab menu

The options to create a new tab, duplicate, close other tabs, reopen closed tab, and bookmark all tabs have been removed from the menu.

Google moved some of these to the context menu of the tab bar instead. When you right-click on the tab bar, you will see three of the missing options -- new tab, reopen closed tab, bookmark all tabs -- there.

chrome tab bar context menu

Why is Google planning to make the change? A chromium commit provides the following explanation:

Update tab and frame context menus to match most recent UX specs.

This removes four entries from the tab context menu; changes the text on several
others to stop saying "tab(s)" explicitly; adds one entry to the frame context
menu; and changes the bookmark-related menu entry strings from "page" to "tab"
for consistency.

Most of the file changes here are due to renaming enums/APIs to match the string

According to the commit, context menus are updated to match user experience specifications. Development is very data driven; it seems likely that Google looked at usage numbers as well before it started to move items around or remove them entirely.

Closing Words

Some of the moved options can still be triggered with shortcuts, e.g. Ctrl-T to open a New Tab. Still, the removal will impact Chrome users who used some of the removed context menu options when they used the browser.

One of Chrome's biggest strengths up to this point was consistency. Google did not really make many changes that affected the workflow of Chrome users. Google made some changes recently that affected the experience of Chrome users. The sign-in sync of Google sites and Chrome, or the hiding of important information in the address bar (which Google pulled and reinstated in Chrome 76) are just two examples. Both of these received edits after launch.

The planned switch to a new manifest for Chrome extensions could affect existing extensions, e.g. content blockers, significantly as well.

The changes to Chrome's tab context menu are not a done deal yet and it is possible that Google is restoring some options to the context menu before the changes land in Stable. Still, it is another change that will impact the experience of Chrome users.

Now You: Which tab options do you use regularly? What is your take on the removal?

Google modifies Chrome's Tab Context Menu heavily
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Google modifies Chrome's Tab Context Menu heavily
If you run Google Chrome Canary, the cutting edge development version of the Chrome browser, you may have noticed that Google modified the Tab context menu heavily already.
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  1. Anonymous said on December 15, 2019 at 12:29 pm

    I hate people working in modern technology so fucking much. Why do these retards constantly fuck up like this and make things worse than they already are? How can anyone think that pushing this shit out is a good idea?

  2. Anonymous said on December 12, 2019 at 12:14 am

    No words… Just made my life harder… “thanks” google %@%#^#$#^^

  3. Jason said on November 28, 2019 at 6:18 pm

    I left Firefox to go to Chrome. Because of this change, I’m seriously considering switching to Firefox again since Firefox has realized that speed is important and done something about it. Only sticking point is extensions.

    The chrome developers are the dumbest human beings on the planet. I hope whoever did this gets fired and shunned from any technology position.

  4. Rob said on November 15, 2019 at 8:59 pm

    I hate this change so much. As SG said, I hate having to move my mouse in order to restore a tab I just closed.

    About twice a day now I accidentally hit ‘Close tabs to the right’ out of muscle memory. I’d love an addon that just restores the old context menu.

  5. Oliver said on November 7, 2019 at 8:12 am

    Damn it, they took out select all tabs. The new options are next to useless for me.

  6. SC said on November 6, 2019 at 3:08 am

    This is a bad decision — it does not pass the sniff test. You usually want to reopen a tab soon after closing one in error. And where is your mouse then? It’s right where you just killed the tab. Forcing you to mouse over to the tab-ribbon bar is a waste of time.

    The ‘Close other tabs’ option was a productivity enhancer — it enabled single-tasking. Now, I must drag out the tab and mouse back over to close the ‘remnant window’.

    These two poor decisions have probably already cost humanity a man-century :-/

  7. J Eck said on November 5, 2019 at 6:42 pm

    Close other tabs. Removing this command limits the functionality and productivity of the browser. Might even think of dumping Chrome!!

  8. kia said on November 2, 2019 at 4:43 pm

    This is the worst thing they could do to Chrome. Close other tabs was a fabulous feature! Why the remove it?! I am definitely shifting to Firefox as it still has that handy feature!

    1. Mitch Gardner said on November 4, 2019 at 11:32 pm

      SAME! I used close other tabs religiously, now that it’s gone I still have the muscle memory to open the context menu and get confused. I really didn’t want to have to start moving over to FireFox (I use it at work) at this moment but I honestly need that feature and they didn’t even make it an option to turn back on…
      I think the only thing that really is keeping me right now is the passwords I have saved etc, time to start moving to an extension instead and disable chrome.

  9. Chris Stewart said on November 1, 2019 at 2:08 pm

    The single thing I used the most (“Reopen closed tab”) has now moved… infuriating to adjust too after so many years!!!

    1. Anthony said on November 4, 2019 at 7:50 pm

      Same — this UX change means that the option for “Close” is where “Reopen closed tab” used to be. They could at least have changed the spacing so that users would not accidentally click it. Everyone who used it is now accidentally closing additional tabs

  10. Anonymous said on October 31, 2019 at 2:34 am

    Close other tabs. I used that all the time and now its gone ffs.

  11. Efthimios Chaskaris said on October 29, 2019 at 6:07 pm

    I need the reopen closed tab on the tab menu dammit, why do I need to move the mouse over to the right when I can just right click right here?

  12. mst said on September 29, 2019 at 9:07 am

    google added “new tab to the right” option!
    im happy.

  13. Anonymous said on August 27, 2019 at 4:11 pm

    “Duplicate” is still there though.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 27, 2019 at 5:50 pm

      You are right, thanks!

      1. William McIver said on November 13, 2019 at 11:16 pm

        Subject: Regarding Closed tabs
        Go to chrome web store > Extension > Closed tabs > & add it to Chrome:

        1. Left Click on the “Closed Tabs Extension” on your PC.
        2. You are shown a list of blue links that you have closed.
        3. Lift Click any of the links & it pops up in a new tab to the right of the tab you are currently on.
        This is far better than what was Googles Right-Click to open the last tab. You can pick any tab you have closed.
        I also use another Extension called Disable Extensions Temporarily. with this, you can turn on or off extensions you normally use with one click.
        I would consider using “Cleaner” (a free internet cleaner) to clean up your internet rubbish if you don’t already do so.

  14. Paulus said on August 27, 2019 at 10:38 am

    Personally I am wondering or its a good idea maybe I have to get used to it.
    Most of the time i prefer context menu possibility over short keys.
    This not only because there almost to many short key for all the program’s who most often differer a bit with outer program’s
    Especially the context menu functions duplicate and mute I am going to miss.
    Hopefully Chrome will change his mind.

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