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Google Chrome update could make working from home far less stressful

With so many people adjusting to working from home, our web browsing tabs are often a combination of personal and professional endeavours. While you may have half a dozen shopping sites open, you may be researching projects, working in Google Docs, sending web mail and everything in between (yes, even that).

Now Google is rolling out a new update that’ll help Chrome users better balance their work/life browsing habits. Among the updates are new tab groups, which can be labelled and colour coded and can allow users to separate out those used for work and those for personal purposes.

“Tab groups help you visually distinguish your tabs by topic or task—like work or shopping—or even priority,” writes Google’s Alex Ainslie, the director of UX for Chrome in a blog post. “Now you can collapse and expand your tab groups, so it’s easier to see the ones you need to access. This was the most popular feature request we heard from those of you using tab groups, and as we begin rolling out this functionality, we hope you’ll give it a try.”

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Those groups can be expanded and condensed at the user’s convenience, meaning far less clutter when browsing and easier to find categories.

The feature was first announced in May and Chrome users have been testing it in beta for the last few months. Now it’s ready for the masses and is arriving in an update in the coming weeks, which also includes the ability to fill out PDFs and save them directly within the browser.

Google says it has added some back-end tools that will result in pages loading 10% faster than before. Profile Guided Optimization is designed to ensure “the most performance-critical parts of the code can run faster.” Likewise, Tab Throttling will ensure those tabs running in the background don’t consume as much in the way of resources.

Elsewhere, in beta, Google is introducing the ability to preview tabs by hover over them, which should make it easier to find what you’re looking for if you have multiple tabs from the same site open.

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