How to Customize Google Chrome With Chrome:flags

Advanced browser configuration is a topic that is something of a dark art. However, there are many ways you can access your browser’s most advanced features and customize its behavior. In this TechJunkie article, we covered how you can customize Firefox using about:config. Google Chrome’s equivalent of about:config is chrome:flags. Chrome:flags enables a variety of additional settings you can use to customize your browser. In this article I will describe some of the more useful chrome:flags options and show you how to use them.

Is Google Chrome Customizable?

If you’re new to the Google Chrome web browser, you might be wondering if you can customize it. The simple answer is, of course you can. Like most software, there are a plethora of ways to tailor the product to your needs. Follow along to get started with your browser customization.

How to Open Chrome Flags

Getting started is simple, just type “chrome://flags” in the Google Chrome address bar and press Enter. That opens the page shown in the snapshot below. The page includes a list of experimental settings to customize the browser with.

You can scroll down and look for interesting flags yourself, start typing in the Search Flags textbox, or press Ctrl + F to open the Browser search box and search the page for flags by name.

Note that whenever you change a flag, before the change takes effect, you’ll need to relaunch Chrome. The browser will automatically prompt you to do this when you make a change, or you can make a bunch of changes and then relaunch once everything has been selected. It’s up to you.

Ways to Customize the Google Chrome Browser

Regardless of what you’re looking for, there’s most likely a way to achieve it in the Chrome browser. Consider some of these flags as a starting point for your browser customization.

Change Smooth Scroll

For a long time, Google didn’t have smooth scrolling in Chrome! Although the feature is now on by default, you might want to turn it off, and chrome://flags is the place you can do that. Enter ‘smooth scroll‘ in the search box to find the setting, and you can set smooth scrolling to use the default value for a page, to be always on, or to be always off.

Enabling Parallel Downloading

If you like downloading a lot of content at once, then you’ll want to enable parallel downloading in Chrome. Type ‘enable-parallel-downloading‘ into your search bar and select Enabled.

Disabling Ads

For those of you that like to view sites without dealing with the burden of resource intensive ads, then you should consider enabling Heavy Ad Intervention. This is a useful tool that unloads resource intensive ads by default. All you need to do is type ‘enable-heavy-ad-intervention‘ into the search bar and enable it.

Dark Mode

A dark theme for your web content is always pleasing for the eye, you can add this to your browser by searching for ‘enable-force-dark‘ and selecting Enabled from the dropdown menu.

If you desire more customization with your dark mode settings, then experiment with the options available.

A Few Useful Google Chrome Flags for Developers

There are several options available for developers to test and monitor there web apps, take a look for yourself.

Localhost Testing

If you’re inclined to use Google Chrome and you want to test apps or servers without SSL certificates, then you’ll want to allow insecure localhost connections. All you need to do is enter ‘allow-insecure-localhost‘ into the search box and select enable from the dropdown menu.

Network Logging

If you’re a network engineer or need to monitor your network logs for certain traffic, then you’ll want to enable ‘enable-network-logging-to-file‘. Simply type it into the search bar and select Enabled from the dropdown menu.

Ways to Get Deprecated Features

For many, the features offered in previous versions of Chrome were a must-have. If you’re looking for features in the Chrome browser that are no longer supported by Google, then you should check out some of the extensions available in the Chrome store.

Muting Audio Tabs

Muting audio in tabs is a desired feature for those that like to peruse many tabs at once. If you relied on this feature in earlier versions of Chrome, you were probably disappointed to learn that they no longer offer this. Fortunately, a few developers have kept the option available by creating their own versions.

Peruse through the chrome store before giving up hope on finding a solution to your browser problems, you’ll probably find a trustworthy extension that solves your problems.

So, there are quite a few chrome:flag settings you can select to customize Google Chrome with. Given that all these features are experimental, you’ll have to check them after every update to Chrome to ensure that they haven’t been deprecated. Your tailored web browser experience is only a few clicks away.

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