Chrome Has A Secret Experimental Mode: Here Are The Best Features

Chrome Has A Secret Experimental Mode: Here Are The Best Features


Google Chrome is a great browser as it is, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with its share of annoyances and curiosities. You can fix some of these, as well as add new features by playing around with Chrome’s experimental settings. Here are a few we really like.

Picture: MARCELODLT/Shutterstock, Evgeny Atamanenko/Shutterstock

When you type chrome://flags into your URL bar in Chrome, you get all kinds of crazy options for experimental features. Some of these can fix problems with Chrome, others do absolutely nothing, and others might wreck havoc on your system, so use them with caution. With that in mind, here are a few we’ve tested and love, although your mileage may vary.

Generate Passwords


LastPassreally should be

Tab Overview with a Gesture


Tab Stacking


As Ghacks

Speed Up Chrome’s Performance


  • GPU compositing on all pages: This option should speed up Chrome across the board by giving your GPU more stuff to do. We’ve had mixed luck with this one, so use at your own risk.
  • Threaded compositing: As cool as the name sounds, you’ll probably only get smoother scrolling when a page is loading with this enabled. Still, that’s helpful enough for those slow-loading pages.
  • GPU Accelerated SVG Filters: This might speed up graphics-heavy sites that have a lot of effects like shaders going on.

Those are the only ones that will speed up performance without significantly changing how web pages look. Other options, like “Disable accelerated 2D canvas”, might speed up performance, but it might have a negative effect on how pages are displayed.

Make Browsing On Touchscreen Devices Bearable


Keep an Eye On What Your Extensions Are Doing


want access to all kinds of data

Fix Annoyances

The other thing that Chrome’s Flags do is fix common annoyances. Occasionally, Chrome adds a new feature that makes things work differently or triggers annoying notifications. The first place to check is the flags to see if you can disable it, but here are a few that fix common annoyances:

  • Revert to the Old New Tab Page: Just find “Enable Instant Extended API” and set it to “disabled”. This should bring back the old new tab with history and recently closed at the forefront.
  • Turn Off Chrome Notification in Windows: If the way Chrome’s notification icon sticks around after you close it is annoying you, then turning it off is pretty simple. Just find “Enable Rich Notifications” and set it to disabled. That should keep the notifications from popping up when you’re not actually running Chrome.
  • Smooth Scrolling: If you’re not getting smooth scrolling on Windows or Linux, turning this feature on should get smooth scrolling working properly.

These are just a few we’ve tested and enjoyed. For the most part, you can fiddle around with the Chrome flags to your hearts content. Just make a note of what you’re enabling (or disabling) so you can fix it in the future. Not every setting is going to work for everyone, and a few that sounded great, like “Enable desktop guest mode” and “Full History Sync” didn’t work for us at all, but you might be able to get them running.

Log in to comment on this story!