Google set to ditch Chrome’s ‘merge tabs and apps’ feature

Chrome's least popular feature gets the chop. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Android

Chrome’s least popular feature gets the chop. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Android

After giving us the ability to merge open Chrome tabs with recent apps on Android, Google is preparing to take it back.

A new Chrome beta release does not include the “merge tabs and apps” feature, while the latest public release no longer enables it by default.

Google introduced this feature when it rolled out Android 5.0 Lollipop. It was supposed to make it easier to multitask and switch between Chrome tabs while using other Android apps, but in reality, it just made the recent apps switcher look even more cluttered.

As a result, a lot of Android users disabled the feature and paid no attention to it. Google recognized this and stopped enabling it by default with its Chrome 49 update, which was rolled out in mid-March. Now it’s taking it away completely.

In the latest Chrome Dev release for Android — version 51.0.2700.2 — the “merge tabs and apps” function is missing. Because this is a beta, there is a chance the feature will return, but the fact that Google has already stopped enabling it means its future looks pretty bleak.

I can’t imagine too many people will be disappointed with that; that Google is removing it completely — rather than just disabling it and giving users the choice — suggests the number of people still using it just isn’t worth the effort anymore.

Will you miss “merge tabs and apps” in Chrome for Android?