How to activate experimental features in Google Chrome and risks to take into account

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how to activate experimental features in google chrome and risks to take into account
how to activate experimental features in google chrome and risks to take into account

If you are one of those who likes to tinker with new functions and tools, even before they are fully available to all users, you will be interested in knowing this other side of Chrome.

‘Chrome flags’ or experimental functions are a series of options that Google allows you to activate in your Internet browser, but which are not configured by default in the browser.

These functions correspond to things that the company is testing before deciding whether to roll them out to all users or make further improvements. This means, therefore, that these functions are most likely not completely polished or contain bugs. If you try them, it will be at your own risk.

Developers, programmers or technology lovers may be the profiles most interested in this section, as it allows them to discover new features before the rest and send feedback and comments to Google so that they can improve the tool.

How to activate them

If you are determined to try Chrome flags, activating them is very simple. You just have to write in the browser’s search bar: chrome://flags. You can also activate them by opening Chrome from the command line in a terminal. This whitepaper explains exactly how to use the commands.

Once on this page, you will be able to see the list of “experiments” both available and those that you cannot install on your system.

At the time of writing, it is possible to activate features such as the experimental QUIC protocol developed by Google, experimental JavaScript features, or experimental WebAssembly features. An interesting feature is the one that allows you to see a panel with the performance metrics of any web page, called “show performance metrics in HUD.”

Other functions are to accelerate 2D canvas by using the graphics processor, anonymize local IPs exposed by WebRTC or show Autofill predictions for forms.

After making the desired settings, the user will be asked to restart the browser.

Points to consider

An important detail is that some flags will appear not as “enabled” or “disabled” but simply as “default”. As explained in a help forum , the meaning of default can depend on the user, so it is not entirely clear if ‘default’ means activated or deactivated.

It is also essential to know the button available at the top right of the page, which indicates “Reset all” . If you tinker with these functions and detect a fault that you don’t really know how to solve, pressing this button will allow you to clear your doubts and restore the settings instantly.

 

On the other hand, if you are interested not only in one of these specific functions but in all the new features that Chrome may bring, you can download the beta version of the browser from this link . This version of the program will receive the new updates before the rest.

With Chrome beta, it is possible to review features in development, give feedback that makes developers’ work easier, and receive updates every week.

You could put your data at risk

The Chrome flags page itself warns the user through text at the top: “By enabling these functions, you could lose browser data or compromise your security or privacy ,” they indicate. The features you enable apply to all users using the browser and are therefore completely discouraged for profiles such as business administrators.

Furthermore, in the same help forum mentioned above, a Google developer’s notice regarding this ‘secret menu’ is included: “the functions are experimental in nature and are not actually intended for users. The functions they manage may not work, be missing, be unreliable, or cause unwanted side effects . “It is best to avoid setting up experimental features unless you know exactly what you are doing,” they point out.

“Resetting all indicators to their default state should always be the number one step to solve the problem,” the company indicates, so the ‘Reset all’ button should be the spring to use with the highest priority in the event of any problem.

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Abraham
Expert tech and gaming writer, blending computer science expertise