How to use Google Chrome Flags to enable experimental features

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 21, 2021
Google Chrome

Google Chrome and other Chromium-based browsers work out of the box for the most part. All versions of Google Chrome come with support for "Chrome flags", which unlocks a treasure trove of features, many of which are considered beta or experimental.

Google uses different Chrome editions for development purposes, including Chrome Canary and Beta. Some features are introduced as flags, and users need to enable them to make them work in the browser. While it is often not recommended to do so, especially in work environments, it may sometimes unlock useful features that would not be available for weeks or months otherwise.

Many features of Chrome's flag page are integrated natively in the browser at one point in development, but it may also happen that some are removed without further notice.

How to access Chrome Flags

All users may access experimental flags in Chrome. All that is required for that is to type chrome://flags in the browser to get started.

Google Chrome displays a warning at the top and the list of flags below that on the page. The list begins with flags that are user-enabled, and then the remaining flags. The unavailable tab lists flags that are not available, e.g. because they are not supported on a platform or setup.

Each flag is listed with its name, a short description, platform availability, and status. There is also a handy link to jump to that flag right away in the browser.

Title and description are often enough to figure out what a particular flag does. Sometimes, you may need to run a search for the name of a feature to find out more before changing its status.

An example: If you load chrome://flags/#enable-tab-search in Chrome, the Tab Search experiment is displayed. You may select the box on the right to change the status of the flag to Enabled or Disabled. Changes require a restart of the browser before they take effect. Chrome will display a relaunch button

You may encounter different statuses when you work with the chrome://flags page. The most common ones are:

  • Default -- this is the default value as set by Google. Its value can be Enabled or Disabled, or it may have another value.
  • Enabled -- the experimental Chrome flag is enabled.
  • Disabled -- the flag is disabled in the browser.

Closing Words

Chrome Flags opens a world of configuration options. You may use them to enable features that are not ready for inclusion in Chrome Stable, or disable features that Google is testing currently.

Ultimately, it is not as great of a configuration tool as Firefox's about:config page, but it gives Chrome users temporary control over some features of the browser.

All other Chromium-based browsers, including Microsoft Edge, Brave, Opera and Vivaldi, support flags as well. You may open them using  a different address, e.g. edge://flags instead of chrome://flags in Microsoft Edge, but the available experiments are mostly the same.

Now You: do you tweak flags in your browser?

How to use Google Chrome Flags to enable experimental features
Article Name
How to use Google Chrome Flags to enable experimental features
Find out how to use Google Chrome's experimental Flags feature to enable or disable experimental features in the web browser.
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  1. D.M said on April 21, 2021 at 4:04 pm

    Developers need to get this page in order!
    Too many flags have accumulated there … IMHO.

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