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Huge Google Chrome update includes improved tab groups and a built-in PDF reader

Google shared some new improvements coming to its Chrome web browser, including faster loading times, a built-in PDF reader, and updates to tab groups.

In a post penned by Alex Ainslie, director of user interface at Chrome, Google lists out and explains how the new features will help Chrome users stay more productive. Addressing common complaints about Chrome using up too many system resources, at the top of that list includes some under the hood performance improvements for Chrome. Google says that with changes to profile guides optimization and tab throttling, the browser will now be 10% faster.

Elsewhere, there’s a new ability coming in the Chrome Beta channel, which will let you see tabs faster with a preview. To use it, Google says you’ll simply hover over the tab to see a thumbnail preview of the page. The feature gives a glimpse of the web page, including a photo and the full headline. This was a distinctive feature of the old Microsoft Edge browser but was lost in its transition to Chromium.

Another big announcement is the ability to fill out and save PDFs in Chrome. This eliminates the need to use a PDF reader, and Chrome will allow you to save your progress as you type on PDFs. There’s no release date yet for the feature, however.

“In this Chrome release, we’re also going beyond tabs to improve Chrome’s PDF functionality. Over the next few weeks, you’ll be able to fill out PDF forms and save them with your inputs, directly from Chrome,” Google said.

In addition, Google is promoting the previously announced ability to group tabs in Chrome. With the feature, you’ll be able to visually distinguish and group your tabs by a topic or by the task. Now, in response to feedback from users, you’ll be able to collapse and expand tab groups to help clean up space when those specific tabs aren’t needed. Currently, this feature is not available in the regular version of Chrome, but it can be found in the beta version of the browser.

Some of the other features coming to Chrome include a new touch-friendly tablet mode. Previously teased in April, the new touch-friendly mode will make it easier to flip through open tabs on touch-enabled devices like a Pixelbook. It’ll be coming first to Chromebooks, but it makes the new tab interface larger, with a mini-preview of open websites, to help make it easier to find the content that you’re looking for. Google did not mention a specific release date for the feature.

Wrapping up the list of new features even a new ability to generate a QR code that users can scan or download to open a URL. The feature is rolling out to Chrome on the desktop now and can be accessed from a QR icon in the address bar.

Mobile users on Android are also getting the ability to switch to an already open tab. Google also improved URL sharing on Android so users can quickly copy a link or send it to Chrome on other devices.

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