Google makes it easier to test experimental features in Chrome

Chrome Canary lab beakers

Just as Microsoft's Insider program gives a sneaky insight into the future of Office and Windows 10, so many web browsers have various preview versions that let eager users try out new features before their official release.

Chrome is one such browser, and in addition to the main release version, there are also Beta, Dev and Canary builds which are updated far more frequently. While these all get new features and options well before the main build, many are locked behind flag settings. But now Google is making it easier than ever to access new features that are being developed and tested in Chrome Labs.

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The problem with having optional features hidden away on chrome://flags is not only that it is a bit of a hassle to have to navigate through all of the available options, but also that you need to know what you're looking for. If Google adds a new experiment, you might not know about it, but the new system that's being tested in Chrome Canary changes that.

A new toolbar button in the nightly build of the browser gives one-click access to Chrome Labs. In this menu, Google lists the latest experimental settings that you can enable so you can take them for a test drive.

Assuming you have the latest version of Chrome Canary installed, you should see the new Chrome Labs button automatically -- it looks science lab beaker. It is possible, however, that you previously changed a flag that means this toolbar button is not visible. If this is the case, pay a visit to chrome://flags/#chrome-labs, and make sure that the setting is set to Enabled.

Chrome Labs

Once visible, you can periodically click the Chrome Labs button to see what experiments are available for you to try out. At the moment, there are just three for you to play with -- Reading List (a Read It Later-style feature), Tab Scrolling (which makes the tab bar scrollable), and Tab Search (which gives you a search option to work through the hundreds of tabs you have open) -- but more will be added over time. Anything that seems of interest can be enabled via the appropriate submenu.

You can download Chrome Canary here.

Image credit: biDaala_studio / Shutterstock

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