Google Explores Removing Or Recycling More Unused Features In Chrome


Google’s exploration of Chrome features to be taken away has apparently continued with experimental new changes aimed at removing clutter from the browser’s Profile menu. The change, spotted by India-based TechDows is one of a few such removals recently noticed in the Canary Channel of the browser. Specifically, that's in Chrome for Linux, Windows, and macOS devices.

In effect, Google seems to be toying with the removal of everything below the "Passwords," "Payment methods," and "Addresses and more" options within the menu. For clarity, that's the list menu that appears when users click or tap on their profile image in desktop Chrome.

Left behind after the change, users would only have access to those options. As things currently stand, users have access to a slew of other options. That includes managing people under the signed-in account, closing open windows, and opening up an unsynced guest window.


The button typically used to turn on cross-device syncing is also missing, but will almost certainly be added back later. Alternatively, Google may narrow things down so that is turned on by default and must be turned off deeper in account settings.

How does this change things, exactly?

The feature removals from Chrome may prove somewhat alarming for some users who still use them. Google doesn't seem to be abandoning those users entirely though. Some insight into how it plans to handle things could be taken from another other change spotted by the source.

That's because the company is also exploring a new method by which to turn on the guest mode by default. For now, that only works in the desktop variants of the browser. It also isn't tucked behind a flag. After being turned on, new windows open up in guest mode every time.


Instead, the setting is only presently accessible to those who are comfortable with altering Chrome's properties at the system level. First users need to open up Google Chrome's Property menu via a context click on the browser's launch icon. Then, an empty space needs to be added, followed by "–guest" behind the pre-filled value in the "Target" field in the "Shortcut" tab of that menu.

That's not an ideal solution and isn't one that most users should attempt to implement. It is one that will likely result in larger user-friendly options. That's because it wasn't available at all prior to Chrome 77 and seems to be added solely for testing purposes.

The implication may be that Google plans to add back at least a few of its features somewhere else. So it makes sense to explore entirely new ways to enable those. In particular, it makes sense to explore new methods that aren't as impactful on development. In this case, it could end up as a quick toggle that moves all guest mode feature access into one place within the Chrome UI.


Why is Google removing Chrome features?

While only experimental for now, Google's decision here appears to be just one of many changes that are set to begin removing features from Chrome. For instance, the company is looking at removing features from the context menu that appears after right-clicking on a tab.

After that other change, users will no longer be able to use the context menu to open new tabs. The option to close all open tabs to the right or re-open one closed by accident won't be there either. Bookmarking every currently open tab in a window also won't be possible.

Like the other above-mentioned changes, those are all alterations appearing in the Canary Channel of the browser. Google has, however, provided some explanation to that change in the Chromium repository.


The company is removing those features because they're predominantly unused. That makes them an all-but-unnecessary hassle to support. The same is likely true of the other features that the search giant is testing getting rid of. There's still a chance the company will decide that the changes aren't needed. But at least Google appears to be preparing alternative means to reach some of the same ends if it does.