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Chrome update offers tab micromanagement options

A new developer preview version of Google's browser lets people switch off the array of Web page thumbnails on new-tab pages. Also an 'undo close tab' command.

One of the features that set Chrome apart from rivals on its debut, the array of Web page thumbnails that greeted users when they launched the browser or opened a new browsing tab, is becoming optional.

In the Chrome update Google released Thursday to those signed up for the raw software available through the preview channel, the browser now includes the "ability to remove thumbnails from the New Tab Page," said Google Chrome Program Manager Anthony Laforge in a blog post.

Personally, I like the feature overall, since it makes some constructive use of valuable screen real estate and doesn't seem to impose much performance penalty. But Google also added another tab management feature I missed: an "undo close tab" option in the tab management menu.

Chrome users could resurrect prematurely closed tabs before by opening a new tab then clicking on one of the three "recently closed" items toward the lower right, but a menu option seems a sensible way to accommodate those folks who wouldn't think to look on a new page for a way to open an old page.

Also, on Wednesday, Google also released a new version of Chrome to the beta channel, version, which offers a better-tested though still rough-around-the-edges version of the open-source browser. That version, after a quick tweak to correct some crashes, fixed a variety of Chrome bugs.