Are you the geeky type who loves to tinker with technical stuff?
Or, you like to customize your tools for better experience and comfort.
Many apps and operating systems allow you to tweak the UI and functions to satisfy your needs. However, when it comes to web browsers, there isn’t much to do. Or is there?
Google Chrome is the most popular browser. It has all that you would need, from privacy to ease of use. Still, some of us might like to do more than changing the themes and adding extensions.
Enters; Chrome Flags.
It is a whole lot of features kept hidden away from the general public. We will answer all your questions about how to use it and what to use in this article.
So, without any further ado, let’s get started.
What is Chrome Flags
Chrome Flags are a set of experimental features. They are not a default part of the browser, but you can use them with a couple of clicks.
To access the Flags menu, you have to enter the URL “chrome://flags” in the address bar and hit enter. Here you will find the variety of flags available for you to tweak. You can also use the search box if you are looking for a specific one.
There are three options for you to tinker with, i.e., Enabled, Disabled, and Default. You will receive a pop-up for relaunching the browser once you change flag settings. All the features will be active after the browser restarts. If you have any tab open at the relaunch time, Chrome will open it by default. If not, you can use this guide to reopen the closed tabs quickly.
Remember, these flags are for test purposes only. So, we can’t guarantee the availability of a particular flag in the future. Google can add and remove the flags without any notice. Moreover, they can be unstable and might have a security issue.
If you are alright with occasional bugs and minor security issues, here are the best flags you can try to improve your browsing experience.
Best Chrome Flags in 2020
Chrome Flags are available on multiple platforms like Linux, Windows, Android, iOS, and macOS. However, some features work on one platform and not on another. You can find it on the Flags tab when you try to enable any feature.
That said, here is a list of experimental features that we loved on multiple platforms.
Global Chrome Flags
In this section, we talk about Chrome Flags that are available on all the platforms. Be it Linux, Windows, Android, or any other supported operating system. You can use these quirky features to enhance your browsing experience.
1. Quieter Notifications
You might have come across the notification pop-up from various sites when you visit them the first time. It asks you to show notifications on your desktop. You have the right to allow or block the notification. However, sometimes we click on the wrong button and bring ourselves some unnecessary trouble. This particular flag in Chrome silent any notification from a website, similar to the silent feature in our smartphones. Sounds interesting. Follow the below link to enable the “Quieter notification permission prompts” flag.
2. Password Import
Chrome has the option to export your password for a long time now. It can be useful if you want to save the passwords somewhere else. However, there isn’t an option to import passwords from some other device. Say you have decided to start using the Chrome browser now. If you need to import your passwords from some other place, you can use this flag. Visit the following link to enable the feature.
Then, go to the settings page on your Chrome browser and look for the “Passwords” section. Here, click on the “three dots” beside “Saved passwords” to view the import setting.
3. Parallel Downloading
The Parallel Downloading feature is there in the Flags for a long time now. However, Google still doesn’t want to include it in the stable version, given its benefits. The feature breaks down a file in multiple chunks to make downloading faster. It works similar to some industry-leading download managers. This way, you can download a file in less time without costing extra data. To use the feature, visit the following link and enable it.
4. Smooth Scrolling
This feature eliminates the jerks that you might experience while scrolling. It works on Windows, Linux, ChromeOS, and Android. Smooth scrolling can provide ease when you are skimming through a long web page. To improve your scrolling experience, visit the following link.
5. Autofill UPI/VPA Values
Since online payment has made its place globally, Google doesn’t want you to miss out on something. You might have observed that Google can recognize an email address and ask you to save the field for future purposes. The same is now possible with a UPI or VPA address. Using the flag, Google can recognize your UPI ID and suggest it in the future when you are looking to buy something online. If that interests you, visit the following link to use the function.
Chrome Flags for Desktop
The desktop version of Chrome lets you use some fascinating features using the Chrome Flags. You can have multiple apps for making the most out of your device on a smartphone. A similar thing might not work for a desktop computer as smoothly. So, use the following features to make Chrome on your desktop more friendly.
1. Share Webpages Using QR Code
We often stumble upon instances where we want to share a webpage with someone on a smartphone. The process is straightforward if you have logged into Chrome on your smartphone and desktop with the same account. You can quickly transfer the page from one device to another. However, sending it to some other device can be a tedious task. So, here is a flag that would create a QR code for the link. You can scan it and open the page on any smartphone. Visit the following link to use the feature.
2. Hover Cards
Hover cards are handy when you want to look at what is in a tab without opening it. It can be helpful if there are several tabs open in your browser. By enabling this feature, you can see the page’s image when you hover over a tab without opening it. However, you have to use two flags at once to get the most out of it. You can use the feature by allowing the flags from here:
3. Tab Groups
Wouldn’t it be best to categorize your tabs according to the work you are doing on it? Yes, that is what precisely this flag can do for you. You can use distinct color to group a few tabs together. Moreover, you can also name them if you like. There are multiple flags available to enhance the function further. You first have to enable the flag mentioned below and then search “tab groups” in the search box to find other functions that go with it.
4. Disable Incognito Mode Detection
The Native File System API is to allow websites to access your native file manager. However, the working style of this flag also serves another purpose. Users have found that, when you enable this flag, the websites can not detect that you are using the incognito mode on Google Chrome. Therefore, it can up your security game. If you don’t want the websites to know that you are using incognito mode, enable the following flag.
5. Enable Reader Mode
We get an inbuilt reader mode in Safari. However, Google Chrome doesn’t offer such a feature. Therefore, here’s a flag that stops a website from loading unnecessary ads and massive images. You get a lightweight version of the page so that you can read it without distractions.
6. Treat Risky Download
If someone is new in the world of the internet, this flag is a must. Newbies often download malicious files on their computer unintentionally. Therefore, Google created this flag to save your computer from harmful downloads. By enabling this flag, you prevent the browser from downloading any executable file like EXE, DMG, DEB, and more. Additionally, it blocks downloads from suspicious websites as well. You can save yourself from a lot of unnecessary trouble by using this flag.
Our browsing experience on a desktop and smartphone varies by a significant margin. Therefore, some flags work best on your smartphone. Here is a list of Flags that you can use to better your experience using Chrome on your mobile.
1. Dark Mode
You can enable the Dark theme on your Chrome mobile app by going to Menu–>Settings–>Theme. Here, you have to select the Dark option to enable the dark theme. Afterward, your Chrome UI would appear in black. However, this feature can not change the website color for you. You can choose to enable the dark mode for web apps like Twitter or YouTube. Or, you can use this flag to force the dark color throughout the websites. It would see if a website offers a dark mode; otherwise, it forces a dark theme by inverting the color. The flag is smart enough not to render the images. The inverted color also does not feel hard on the eyes. Follow the below link to use it on your desktop or mobile.
2. Tab Groups and Tab Grid
One of the best flags available is the option to group tabs. You can search for “Tab Groups” and enable all the flags that appear there. Then you can make a group of tabs and name the folder if you want. You can also share the group if you’re going to send more than one website to someone. Grouping tabs can also help you decrease the clutter that can be a pain to the eyes. You can also switch between multiple websites present in a group with a click.
The Tab Grid flag complements the group feature perfectly. You can view a grid layout for your tabs instead of the vertical cards by enabling this flag. Then you can drag and drop one tab on another to create a group.
3. Chrome Sharing Hub
The sharing feature in Chrome mobile app is simple to use. However, if you want a more classy look for it, you can use this flag. It will make Chrome’s sharing menu similar to Android Q when enabled. The sharing option will then appear at the bottom, and you can scroll horizontally to navigate between multiple options.
4. Search by Google Lens
The option to search by image on Google doesn’t work best on the mobile app. Also, the results aren’t much appreciable. On the other hand, Google Lens provides accurate results and is much easier to use. However, it wasn’t possible to use Google Lens on an image embedded in a website. This flag would let you do that. Once enabled, you can see the option to search by Google Lens when you long tab an image.
5. Share Clipboard Across Devices
If you want to copy something from your smartphone to the computer or vice-versa, it can be a tedious task. But with the shared clipboard, you can copy something on your one device and paste it on another. All you have to do is enable the following flags on your devices and log in with the same account. You can share URLs and long texts seamlessly across devices. Firstly, you have to copy the text and then tap on the share option on Chrome. Here you will find an option to share the clipboard with your desktop chrome. That’s all; you can now paste the text on your computer. Here are the two flags that you have to enable.
6. Ephemeral Preview Tab
This flag lets you open a hyperlink in a preview tab. Thus, you can shift between the two tabs quickly. It can also help you take a peek at a link before opening it in a new tab. To enable the function, follow the below link.
Chrome is no doubt the best internet browser you can get. It carries some fascinating features. To make the updates more reliable and fast, Google experiments with multiple elements in the Flags section. We have mentioned the best flags available currently in this article. Remember, all these flags can exist or not in the future. Or, you might find them as an inbuilt feature someday.