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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

25 Google Chrome Flags You Should Use in 2021

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Google Chrome is one of the most popular browsers and has garnered a number of fans over the years. While its abundance of features may look like a lot to some people, Chrome also has a ton of hidden features in Chrome Settings and Chrome Flags that’ll help quench the thirst of users who want more. I especially admire the Chrome flags as they can not just tweak the UI or boost performance, but also add new features to everyone’s favorite browser. Chrome flags, if you have not heard of it before, are experimental features that Google is currently working on but has made it available for trial to users. You can learn everything there’s to know about Chrome flags and how to enable the one in our detailed guide right here. Now that you know all about flags, here are the 25 most useful and cool Chrome flags.

Note: A word of caution. Chrome flags are experimental features which are currently in development and thus, their functionality could be finicky.

Google Chrome Flags to Make Browsing Fun in 2021

Since Google Chrome Flags work on both mobile and desktop version of Chrome, we have divided this article into three different section. The first section mention only those flags that work on both desktop and mobile version of Chrome while the next two section deal with Chrome flags for desktop and mobile separately. You can use the table of content below to switch to any section you want.

Global Chrome Flags

In this section, we have mentioned Chrome Flags which are common and available on both desktop and smartphone devices, be it Windows, Android, macOS, Linux or Chrome OS. They can be found on the chrome://flags page on any of the platforms.

1. Quieter Notification

We know how notifications have become almost a nuisance on Google Chrome. Almost every website abuses the notification permission and incessantly prompts a dialog box to allow notifications. However, with the Quieter Notification flag turned on, the notification prompts gets blocked completely. How awesome is that? So open chrome://flags and enable “Quieter notification permission prompts” flag and you are done.

2. Faster Download Speeds

Parallel Downloading has been in the Chrome Flags repository for a very long time. It seems Google is not working on this feature to make it part of the stable channel. Nevertheless, this flag accelerates download speed by breaking the files into smaller chunks, similar to how IDM and other download managers work. So search for “parallel downloading” and enable the flag.

3. Password Import

Google Chrome has offered the option to export passwords for some time now, but if you are moving to the most popular browser from one of its competitors and want to import your password, well, enabling the #PasswordImport flag is what you should do right after downloading the browser. You can then go to “Settings -> Passwords” and tap the ‘three dots’ icon next to ‘Saved Passwords’ to see the ‘Import’ option.

password import google chrome flag

4. Enable Smooth Scrolling

As the name suggests, this Chrome flag helps improve the scrolling experience on your mobile and desktop. It reduces the janks and jitters that you may witness while scrolling and it works with Windows, Linux, and Chrome OS as well. You can enable #smooth-scrolling from the Chrome Flags page.

smooth scrolling google chrome

5. Secure DNS Lookups

Another awesome Chrome Flag that you must enable is Secure DNS Lookups. Many users, including me, have been using HTTPS Everywhere extension to always force HTTPS connection while using the internet. And now, Google has brought a flag that does the same thing. So just enable the flag and Chrome will try to use a secure HTTPS connection for any website that you are visiting. By the way, Mozilla has already made DNS over HTTPS a default feature on Firefox.

5. Secure DNS Lookups

6. UPI/VPA Values

Since Google Pay has gotten pretty popular and UPI has almost become a primary way of payments in India, Google is bringing an option to autofill UPI/VPA values in payment forms. After enabling this flag, Chrome will be able to recognize UPI ID or VPA and offer you to save or autofill your VPA address in the payment box. That’s awesome, right?

6. UPI/VPA Values

7. Heavy Ad Intervention

For the most part, Google Chrome does a decent job of cutting down on egregious ads on the internet. However, if you want the ad detection and blocking on Chrome to be more aggressive you can use the heavy ad intervention Chrome flag. When you enable this flag, Chrome will start aggressively blocking ads that are resource-heavy on your system. As a result, you will see less ads, and your browsing experience will be faster and smoother. Win-win!

You can access this Chrome flag by heading over to chrome://flags/#enable-heavy-ad-intervention

heavy ad intervention google chrome flag

8. Reading List

If you consume a lot of articles on the internet, chances are you’re using apps like Pocket to save some articles that you want to read later, right? Well that functionality is now built-in on Chrome. All you have to do is enable the ‘read later’ Chrome flag and you’re off to the races.

With the flag enabled, you can click on the Bookmark icon and you will see a new ‘Add to Reading List’ option. This is great because you can easily keep a track of all the pages you want to read later, and even mark them as read/unread.

chrome flag read later

You can access this Chrome flag by heading over to chrome://flags/#read-later

9. Enable QUIC Protocol for Faster Browsing

Google has been working on the QUIC connection protocol for a while now, and even though its still in development, there are some websites that make use of it. QUIC is a mixture of TCP/UDP and it aims to increase browsing speeds on QUIC enabled websites by cutting down on the number of trips to the server down to one.

If you want to start using QUIC protocol whenever possible, head over to chrome://flags/#enable-quic and enable the flag.

enable quic protocol chrome flag

Desktop Chrome Flags

10. Share Webpages Using QR Codes

This is one of the latest Google Chrome Flags and its job is to make sharing links easier. Suppose you are browsing web on your desktop and you want to quickly open that link on your mobile device. Well, there’s no easy way to share link to your mobile device unless you are logged in the desktop Chrome and your mobile device with same Google ID. Well, if you enable this flag you will be able to share links in seconds. To make this work, open Google Flags page and search for “QR”. Now enable the “#sharing-qr-code-generator” flag.

Google Chrome QR Code Flag

Once you do that, you will see a ‘QR code’ icon in the address bar, next to the bookmark (star) icon. Click on it and Chrome will show you a QR code corresponding to the webpage that’s on your current tab. Just scan it with your phone to open the link on your smartphone. However, as I said, this is a new flag and hence it’s available only in the latest Canary build of Google Chrome. if you are using the stable version of Chrome, you might have to wait for a few weeks before you can access this flag.

11. Hover Cards

Hover Cards is a new way to identify and navigate through tabs. It’s especially helpful when you are dealing with lots of Chrome tabs. Basically, if you enable this flag then a preview image of the tab will show in the form of hovercard. I am using this feature on my Chromebook and it’s absolutely great for seamless navigation.

12. Pull to Refresh Gesture

This is one of my favorite Chrome flags in this list. You can enable this gesture on your laptop and swipe down on the trackpad to refresh the webpage. On my Chromebook, it works satisfyingly good.

11. Pull to Refresh Gesture

13. Disable Google Chrome Incognito Mode Detection

Native File System API is for allowing websites to access your native file manager. However, users have found out that, after you enable this flag, websites are not able to detect the incognito mode. And that’s why this flag is important. If you want to block websites from detecting incognito mode then enable the Native File System API flag.

12. Disable Google Chrome Incognito Mode Detection

14. Enable Reader Mode

While Safari has an excellent Reader Mode, we do not have such a feature on Google Chrome. However, there is a hidden Chrome flag that lets you enable Reader mode on Chrome. You get a barebone reader mode which simplifies the web page and removes unnecessary ads. Sure, it’s not as good as Safari’s Reader Mode, but it does work.

15. Focus Mode

Focus Mode is another Chrome flag that I personally use. It lets you isolate a tab in a separate window just like PWAs (Progressive Web App). For example, when you want to deal with a Chrome tab in a separate window then this mode can let you do it. The best part is that you do not have to make a PWA first. Just right-click on the tab and choose “Focus”.

14. Focus Mode

16. Treat Risky Downloads

First of all, this flag is not for everyone. However, if you are introducing the internet and web browser (in this case, Chrome) to someone who is new to this whole internet world then consider enabling this flag. It prevents downloading of files that can be executed on your computer like EXE, DMG, DEB and more. Chrome does this so that amateur users don’t download malware or adware unintentionally. The flag also blocks downloads that are originating from insecure pages. In case you want to learn more about how to enhance Google Chrome security then head over to our linked article.

treak risky downloads

17. Enable Tab Search

If you’re a power-user enough to be looking at Chrome flags, chances are your browser tab-strip is full to the brim with open tabs. However, that also means it can be difficult to find out which tabs are open and quickly navigate to them. However, you can use a cool Chrome flag to get a tab search feature in Chrome and quickly find the tabs you’re looking for.

To enable this flag, just go to chrome://flags/#enable-tab-search and you will see a new droop-down menu where you can see all your open tabs and search through them as well. You can use the keyboard shortcut ctrl+shift+A to open the tab search box as well.

tab search chrome flag

18. Back Forward Cache

If you often find yourself using the back and forward navigation keys in Chrome to navigate across websites and search results, this will be one of the best Chrome flags you’ve used. Simply head over to chrome://flags/#back-forward-cache and enable the flag.

back forward cache

Now, Chrome will start saving entire websites in the cache so when you use the back key or forward key to navigate, the webpages will load instantly without any waiting. Plus, they will even load up if your internet connection drops out for some reason. Pretty neat, right?

Mobile Chrome Flags

19. Chrome Duet UI

Most phones now have massive displays so if you’re having trouble reaching to the top to access the tab switcher or settings, then Chrome Duet (formerly known as Chrome Home) is here to your rescue. Just search for the “Duet” and activate both the flags. After that, restart your Chrome twice. Now, Chrome will display important buttons, such as home, tab switcher, search, share, and overflow menu in the bottom bar for easy one-handed use.

16. Chrome Duet UI

20. Dark Mode

Chrome has finally received dark mode, which you can easily enable from the Settings page (Settings -> Theme -> Dark). However, you can now activate dark mode for web pages as well. It works just like the Dark Reader extension on the desktop. And the best part is that the earlier issue of inverting the images has been resolved. So search for “dark” in Chrome Flags and enable “Force Dark Mode for Web Contents”. You are done.

17. Dark Mode

 

21. Share Clipboard Across Devices

Finally, clipboard sharing is part of Chrome and I am personally very excited. You can share whatever you have copied (like URLs and large texts) on your smartphone and paste it on your desktop seamlessly. How amazing is that? To enable it, search for “clipboard” and activate “shared-clipboard-ui” and “shared-clipboard-receiver”. You may have to enable this flag on your desktop Chrome as well. After that, select a text on your smartphone and tap on Share. Now, you will get an option to share the clipboard with your desktop Chrome in the share sheet menu. And on your desktop, it will be automatically copied to your clipboard.

21. Share Clipboard Across Devices

22. Explore Websites

Lately, Google is going overboard with content suggestions on Chrome and it’s a very frustrating experience. Earlier, you could disable the content feed on the new tab page, but now the flag (Interest Feed Content Suggestion) is not working. Nevertheless, you can remove the ‘Top Sites’ menu from the homepage. Just search for “explore websites” and disable the flag outrightly. Now the Top Sites box will be gone from the homepage.

22. Explore Websites

23. Ephemeral Preview Tab

This flag lets you open hyperlinks in a preview tab which means you can easily move from your current tab to the preview tab comfortably. It’s just like peeking on a webpage without opening it and it works like a charm. To enable it, search for “ephemeral” and enable the “Ephemeral Preview Tab in an overlay panel” flag.

23. Ephemeral Preview Tab

24. Password Leak Detection

Password Leak Detection is an important flag and you must enable it on your Android smartphone. Whenever you create or enter a password on your device, Chrome will alert you if your password has been leaked in any major security breach. It will immensely help you safeguard your data on the internet. So look for “password leak detection” and enable it right away.

25. Password Leak Detection

25. Incognito Screenshots

A lot of people prefer using the Incognito mode to browse websites on Chrome. However, you must have noticed that Incognito Mode doesn’t allow you to take screenshots on Android phones. Even though that makes sense, if you still want the ability to take screenshots, you can do so by just enabling a Chrome flag.

Simply head over to chrome://flags/#incognito-screenshot on Chrome mobile and enable the flag. Relaunch the browser and you will be able to take screenshots of windows in Incognito mode as well.

Bonus. Direct Actions

Direct Actions flag is for those users who have got the new Google Assistant update — most likely in the US and Japan. It lets you operate Chrome with direct instructions from Google Assistant: open a tab, close a tab, refresh this page, share the page with someone, switch to the next tab and so on. Basically, you will be able to directly command Chrome with several voice instructions. So just search for “Direct actions” flag and enable it on your Chrome.

Google Chrome Flags You Should Use

If you’re a regular Google Chrome user and want to enhance your browsing experience, well, you now have a list of 20+ Chrome flag which should check out. Since a lot of the aforementioned features are still under testing, we suggest you proceed with caution to benefit from the Chrome flags. Toying with the flags could disrupt the existing browsing experience or performance, so be sure of what you’re enabling/ disabling before you do. So, which of these Chrome flags would you be tinkering with? Do you think we missed some cool and fun flags? Let us know in the comments down below.

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