Microsoft Edge Canary gets Chrome’s Tab Group Collapse and Auto Create features
Microsoft Edge has seen a whole bunch of new features since it first reinvented itself as a Chromium-based browser earlier in the year. Even if you’re not a regular user, it’s always worth seeing what’s new because Microsoft has committed to contributing to the Chromium codebase, meaning whatever is new in Edge, may end up in Chrome, or Opera, or one of the other myriad Chromium browsers in a few months time. But it works in reverse too, and today we’ve seen the Tab Grouping feature recently introduced to Google Chrome appear for the first time in the Microsoft Edge Canary channel, suggesting it will arrive more generally in Edge early in 2021.
Tab Groups are already part of Chromium’s core code, but so far, Microsoft Edge users have had to manually switch them on in the flag settings. Google added the ability to expand and collapse the tab groups in Chrome, along with an auto-group feature and its these augmentations that are now testing in Microsoft Edge.
As reported by Techdows, Tab Groups are already proving popular with Chrome users, not least of all because it makes it easier to find the “expendable” pages, versus the ones you want to keep constantly open. Being able to expand/collapse the groups adds extra valuable real-estate to the browser, both visually, and in terms of the memory footprint, something that has always been a bugbear for Chromium browsers.
Microsoft Edge has a very similar release schedule to Google Chrome and features appearing in the Canary channel this month will usually move to the Beta channel next month and become part of stable builds a month after that, so we should likely see it in full effect in February 2021. Microsoft Edge Canary users should download build 89.0.722.0 or above, and then toggle on the features in the edge://flags menu.
It’s worth saying, however, that until that happens, there’s no guarantee that Microsoft will decide to officially support the feature. Testing to see what works is kind of what betas are for, after all.