Google releases Chrome 77 with custom colors and tab groups
Organizing your tabs so far only works on Android, but you can try it on personal computers Thursday.
Stephen Shanklandprincipal writer
Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and writes about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
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Google's Chrome gets a splash of color Thursday and some new ways to get a grip on the browser if you have an overabundance of website tabs open. You can now select the colors that'll show on the tab strip, the background behind it and the new tab page.
The colors are a nice touch if you want to personalize your browser, though you could do so already by installing
extensions. Now it's built in by default. You can reach it by opening a new blank tab, clicking the "customize" button to the lower right, then clicking the "color and theme" tab.
Such cosmetic changes are only skin deep, but a lot of people care about them -- look no further than the mad dash to build a dark mode into every app and operating system right now.
More substantive are changes coming to how Chrome lets you manage tabs,
announced in a blog post Thursday.
In Chrome 77, when you get a lot of tabs and they get too skinny to show text, you can now hover your mouse pointer to reveal each tab's title. And Android's tab selection and organization page, available by tapping the tab number button on the bottom right of your phone's screen, will show tabs in a grid pattern as Google phases in a new look. iPhone and iPad users already have this grid arrangement.
The grid is just the beginning, though, because tab grouping is coming, too. This is a way to organize your tabs into batches so you're not as likely to drown in a sea of tabs. It's arriving first on Android, letting you drag one tab atop another the way you might drag app icons to organize them on Android's home screens. You can also switch more easily among tabs in a group.
Tab groups are headed to personal computers, too. Right now they're disabled by default, but you can try them to see progress. To do so, navigate to chrome://flags/ then search for "tab groups" and enable it.