Google Chrome's Latest Update Brings Much Needed 'Tab Grouping' Feature; Here's How to Use It

Google keeps rolling out regular updates to its Chrome web browser, but the coronavirus pandemic-led lockdowns had stopped the search-giant from releasing any major Chrome updates over the last month.

Now the internet giant is back with a new update for Chrome in the Chrome 83. Yes, Google skipped Chrome 82 completely, supposedly to make up for the lost time, but Chrome 83 includes all the features that were originally planned for Chrome 82 and some more.

High on Privacy and Some Neat Visual Changes

The latest version of Chrome is pretty high on the privacy factor and brings a bunch of new and updated privacy controls, which may or may not be all that exciting to most people but will definitely appeal to those who value their privacy and pay a lot of attention to which websites collect data on them. Apart from that, the update also brings some really cool interface-level changes to Windows, macOS, Linux, as well as to Android and iOS, and perhaps the most exciting feature the update brings is "grouped tabs" which should come in handy to those of us who suffer from messy tabs.

Simplified Security Settings

For desktop users, the update brings redesigned privacy and security settings with simplified language and visuals. These include more streamlined controls for which websites can use cookies, what data is shared to your Google account across multiple devices and which sites can access your camera and microphone.

The update gives you the option to block third-party cookies in both regular and incognito modes, as well as an option to block all cookies on some or all websites. Google has also reorganized the controls under the "Site Settings" option into two different sections. One of these sections helps you find permissions to access your location, camera or microphone and also notifications, while there's also a dedicated section that highlights the most recent permissions activity.

Google has also changed the existing "People" section, which provides syncing controls, into "You and Google" after the update. Also, the clear browsing data option has now been shifted to the top of the privacy and security section, which makes it easier to clear your browsing history with fewer clicks than before.

Safety Check

There's also a new Safety Check feature In the settings that will tell you if any of your stored passwords have been compromised in a data breach. This new feature also alerts you when the Safe Browsing technology is turned off. Apart from that, you can also use the feature to check whether your Chrome browser is up-to-date with the latest security features and it also tells you how and where to remove malicious extensions that you may have installed.

Enhanced Safe Browsing

Besides the redesigned privacy and security settings, Chrome 83 also gets an Enhanced Safe Browsing feature which should provide a more tailored protection from phishing, malware and other internet threats.

"If you turn on Enhanced Safe Browsing, Chrome proactively checks whether pages and downloads are dangerous by sending information about them to Google Safe Browsing," AbdelKarim Mardini, Senior Product Manager, Chrome, in wrote in a blog post.

"If you're signed in to Chrome, then Chrome and other Google apps you use (Gmail, Drive, etc.) will further protect you based on a holistic view of threats you encounter on the web and attacks against your Google Account."

Google has also said that it will bring additional protections including tailored warnings for phishing sites and file download, along with cross-product alerts to the Enhanced Safe Browsing feature over the next year.

Chrome has started blocking downloads via HTTP from sites that use HTTPS protocol. The latest update also fixed more than 38 security bugs.

Interface Changes

The desktop version of Google's web browser has also received some cosmetic changes to its interface. There's a new puzzle icon that bow sits on the toolbar which lets you access extensions.

However the biggest and most exciting interface change Chrome 83 brings is the much anticipated "tab grouping" feature that allows you to group different tabs together and label them with a custom name and color. The grouped tabs can also be moved like individual tabs and you can also reorder a previously grouped tab.

The feature had been in testing for several months now, and it instantly became a hit with the beta testers when Google previewed it last week.

How to Create Tab Groups in Chrome

Before you use Chrome's new and exciting tab grouping feature, you will need to check it your Chrome browser is updated to the latest version, Chrome 83. To do that, click ok on the three-dot hamburger menu located on the top right of your Chrome home screen and tap 'Help' > About Chrome. Alternatively, you can type "chrome://settings/help" in the address bar to access the update menu.

Once there, the browser will automatically check for updates and download the latest available version and prompt you to restart Chrome once the update is installed.

After you have updated and restarted your Chrome browser, you can get the "group tab" feature to work by opening two or more tabs in Chrome and right clicking on a tab. You will now get an options tray with an option to create a new group. Click on the "Add to New Group" and you will see a new colored dot next to the tab. You can rename the grouped tab or change the color of the tab by tapping on the colored dot.

NOTE: If the feature doesn't show up even after updating your Chrome browser, as was the case with us, you can still get the feature via Chrome Flags by typing "chrome://flags/#tab-groups" in the address bar and enabling the Tab Groups feature.

Add a Tab to Existing Group, Move Grouped Tabs and More

If you want to add a tab to an existing group, right click on the desired tab and tap "Add to Existing Group" and select a group.You can move the grouped tabs to a new window and you can also open a new tab in the group or even ungroup them by right clicking on the tab groups.

Google has also announced that it will give you an option to collapse a tab within a group, so that that take up less space in a future update.

Grouping multiple tabs under one tab group and assigning them different colors and names is a boon for people who open so many tabs in Chrome that the sites' favicons are no longer visible and can't find the tab that they are looking for.