Restore “Open in tab” in Google Chrome on Android (disable tab grouping)
Google introduced tab groups to the company’s Chrome web browser some time ago. The main idea behind tab groups is to improve the manageability of tabs in the browser by grouping them automatically. Say, you open the Ghacks website and then two articles in new tabs in Chrome. Instead of displaying the articles as individual tabs, the three tabs would automatically form a group. When you are done, you can close the group and with it all of its tabs.
Tab groups aren’t popular with all Chrome users, and the recent Chrome code changes on Android have sparked quite a bit of controversy. Previously, Chrome users could turn off tab groups by disabling the feature on Chrome’s experimental flags page. Chrome would stop automatically creating tab groups.
The update invalidated the flag. As long as it’s still there, setting it to off no longer has any effect. Chrome always automatically creates tab groups, and there is no option in the menu to open a link in a new tab (and not inside the tab group).
Chrome users on Android have two default options for opening links by long pressing them. Open the link in a group tab or open it in an incognito tab.
Disable Chrome Tab Grouping
It is still possible to restore the option to open links in a new tab, and not in a tab group, in Google Chrome for Android. The functionality is powered by an experimental indicator, and it is possible that this indicator will disappear at some point, made unnecessary by Google or changed.
For now, here’s what you can do:
- Load chrome: // flags in the Chrome version on Android.
- Use the search at the top to find the tab grid layout.
- Set the flag to Off.
- Restart the Google Chrome browser on Android.
The classic option to open links in a new tab is restored after restart. Set the flag to On or Default to restore the status quo.
Chrome was never a browser that gave users a lot of customization options. Often times, Google would introduce a change and remove options after a while. Making tab groups the only default option in Chrome is a classic Google gesture. It’s possible that the feature is still under development and options to turn it off will be introduced, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
For now, disabling the tab grid layout will restore the classic behavior.
Now you: What is your opinion on the groups of tabs?