Google tests Tab Groups Collapse option in Chrome

Martin Brinkmann
May 18, 2020
Updated • May 18, 2020
Google Chrome

Google added a new tab grouping functionality to the company's Chrome web browser last week as an experimental feature. Experimental means that the feature is in testing and that Google plans to collect data on the use of the new feature to determine whether it is a good addition to stable versions of the web browser.

Google's implementation of Tab Groups is different from established tab stacking (Vivaldi) and Containers (Firefox) tab grouping functionalities. Chrome displayed all groups and tabs all the time.

Our main criticism of the feature was that it did not support a minimize or collapse option to free up room on the Chrome task bar; doing so would provide a solution for Chrome's tab overload issue which shows blank tabs once a certain threshold has been reached and does not display additional tabs anymore when they opened unless other tabs are closed before that.

Google added a new feature to Chrome this week that adds the collapse option to the tab groups feature of the browser. Once enabled, all it takes is to left-click on the group header to collapse or expand the group.

chrome tab groups collapse new

It is still possible to name tab groups and assign colors to groups by right-clicking on them.

The new collapse option is integrated in Chrome 85 and newer only. Here is how it is activated:

  1. Load chrome://flags/ in the web browser's address bar.
  2. Search for Tab Groups to display all tab grouping experiments.
  3. Enable "Tab Groups" and "Tab Groups Collapse".
  4. Restart Google Chrome.

Right-click on any tab after the restart and select "add tab to group" to create a new group. Once done, left-click on the group header to collapse it or expand it again.

Closing Words

The integration of a collapsing option improves Chrome's Tab Groups feature significantly. It gives Chrome users options to group sites that they visit, and collapse groups to free up space on the tab bar.

I see multiple use cases for tab groups, e.g. to sort different activities into different groups, use a "temporary" group for sites of interest that you need to access for a certain time, or to put all tabs into groups to extend the tab space that is available without having to open multiple Chrome windows or using extensions that bring order into the tab chaos.

Other browsers, the new Microsoft Edge for example, will support the feature also.

Now You: With group collapsing supported, what is your take now on Chrome's Tab Groups feature (via Deskmodder, Techdows)

Google tests Tab Groups Collapse option in Chrome
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Google tests Tab Groups Collapse option in Chrome
Google added a new feature to Chrome this week that adds the collapse option to the tab groups feature of the browser.
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  1. anona said on May 19, 2020 at 11:29 am

    Would be quite ironic if Opera gets tab stacks again – 8 years after they dropped them when they switched from Presto to Chromium!

  2. Kubrick said on May 18, 2020 at 8:09 pm

    How does this affect a chromium based browser like vivaldi which has it’s own tab management.

    I gave up entirely on vivaldi as i have asked several times which actual setting take priority with this app.

    does anyone know or does vivaldi just code an app on chromium and hope for the best.?.

    1. Iron Heart said on May 19, 2020 at 6:29 pm


      In general, all Vivaldi settings related to the UI take precedence over Chromium settings. That‘s because the Vivaldi UI runs on top of Chromium, and you will never see the Chromium UI (which is still present, but hidden) anyway, so any change you make in chrome://flags will have no effect on the Vivaldi UI. That being said, all settings NOT related to the UI in chrome://flags will have an effect on Vivaldi.

      If you think that this is messy, then I can only say: Yes, it is. Vivaldi is like a Doctor Frankenstein‘s experiment, a completely unrelated UI artificially shoehorned into the Chromium codebase. Literally all other Chromium-based browsers (Chrome, Brave, Iridium, Ungoogled Chromium, Opera, Edge etc.) use the Chromium UI as is, sometimes with slight modifications applied to it. Vivaldi is the only one using a completely unrelated UI, but this in turn enables its unique customization options.

      If you don‘t know how to handle the Vivaldi UI, if it is too confusing to you, just move to another Chromium-based browser (Brave, Ungoogled Chromium, Iridium are sane choices in regards to privacy).

  3. alisadeqi said on May 18, 2020 at 7:48 pm

    lo…l even you run a ublock on ghacks.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 19, 2020 at 7:00 am

      I don’t use Chrome for work, I always open Ghacks when I do screenshots in the browser.

  4. Allwynd said on May 18, 2020 at 3:34 pm

    I’m not sure I can find this feature beneficial, but OK, let’s have it, I don’t mind.

  5. chesscanoe said on May 18, 2020 at 1:17 pm

    Using Chrome Version 83.0.4103.56 (Official Build) beta (64-bit) under Microsoft Windows [Version 10.0.18363.836]: If I use “chrome://flags” and then search on “Groups” I enabled Tab Groups, Tab Groups Collapse, and Tab Groups Feedback, and relaunched Chrome. I like the feature e.g. researching articles on a new computer model. However, I do try to run with as few tabs as possible otherwise.

  6. Yuliya said on May 18, 2020 at 1:05 pm

    Yaaay, Chromium the best browser 🥰🤗

  7. ShintoPlasm said on May 18, 2020 at 12:43 pm

    This is great, it’s as if the Google devs read gHacks and act accordingly! :P

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