Monday, January 30, 2023

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How to enable an improved ChromeOS tab card for better tab management

Looking for a way to take the guesswork out of what tabs you have open on your Chromebook? Jack Wallen thinks this Chrome experiment can help.


Image: CC Photo Labs/Shutterstock

Remember, back in the day, when a web browser was a single window? If you wanted to open a different site, while leaving the original open, you had to open a new window. Eventually, you’d wind up with a bunch of windows open and your desktop was a mess.

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And then came tabs, a blessing of productivity that made it possible to do more with less. Of course, as with everything in existence, we always find a way to turn something productive into something counterproductive. 

For example, how many tabs do you have open? Five? Ten? Twenty? After a while, it becomes almost impossible to know which tab is which, so you go to great lengths to try to solve that mysterious puzzle. You can try tab groups, workspaces, pinned tabs … the list goes on and on. In my opinion, only one browser has succeeded in making tab management a brilliant success, and that browser is not Chrome.

So when you’re on a Chromebook, what do you do? There’s an experimental feature you can enable that offers a better way for you to know what tab is what. This option can help those who open so many tabs even the favicons don’t help them recognize which tab they need to be working on.

The experimental feature in question is Tab Hover Card Images, and what it does is pop up a card of any tab you hover your cursor over. This can be very handy, especially when you have multiple tabs of the same site open, the card will give you a thumbnail of the page in question.

I’ve found the Hover Card Images feature to be invaluable when working on a Chromebook.

So, how do you add this experimental feature? Let me show you.

What you’ll need

To make this work, you’ll need a running and updated Chromebook. I’ll be demonstrating on ChromeOS 96.0.4657.0. Other than that, you just need a few seconds.

How to enable Tab Hover Card Images

Before we start, enabling this feature does require a restart, so make sure you save all of your work (to avoid losing anything). 

This is very simple. Open Chrome on your Chromebook and type the following into the omnibar:


From the associated drop-down (Figure A), select Enabled.

Figure A


Enabling the Tab Hover Card feature on ChromeOS.

When prompted, click Restart, which will restart your Chromebook. Once the Chromebook restarts, open Chrome and then open a few tabs. If you hover your cursor over one of the tabs, a popup card will appear to display what’s in the tab (Figure B).

Figure B


The Tab Hover Card feature showing a popup for TechRepublic.

This feature works on Chrome, regardless of platform (minus mobile devices), so if you wind up depending on it within ChromeOS, you can always make it a part of your Chrome workflow, no matter what operating system you use.

And that’s all there is to enabling an experiment that can help you make sense out of your ever-growing list of open tabs.

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