Google Chrome is nothing if not absolutely insane with all the UI and feature tweaks the company keeps testing in its Android app. The browser added tab grouping in the Android app recently, and further back in the day, Google had started testing the new ‘Duet’ functionality in the app that brought the browser’s UI to the bottom, making it easier to access.
Now, in an attempt to make the Chrome browser’s UI more clean, the company is reportedly testing a new UI change that integrates the tab group UI with the Duet redesign in Chrome Dev and Canary.
First reported by 9to5Google, the new feature can be enabled in Chrome Dev and Canary builds by enabling a Chrome flag “Duet-TabStrip Integration”. The description for this flag states that it “Allows users to access integration of Duet and TabStrip.”
We tried accessing the new UI in Chrome Dev and Canary on Android phones in our office but the new UI didn’t show up for us. However, based on screenshots shared by 9to5Google, with the new flag enabled, Chrome hides the tab-group UI inside the tab button in the toolbar. It can be made visible by long pressing on the tab button, and comes up as a floating toolbar above the bottom toolbar in Chrome. There’s also a button to hide the tab group UI if needed.
While the new UI looks cleaner, it does add an extra interaction to get to the group of tabs you have open on your smartphone, which doesn’t feel like the best way to go about it especially considering that tab groups should prove most useful to people who have a lot of tabs open on their phones and are looking for an easier way to manage them.