Update, September 1, 3:49 PM EST: ‘Customize Chrome’ will not, in fact, allow you to change which options for Side Panel appear or are omitted from your experience. Instead, the ability to customize Chrome’s New Tab Page shortcuts, modules, and background will be moving from the NTP to the Side Panel via the ‘Customize Chrome’ option that’s being implemented. I’ve kept the article intact and regret the mistake. Thank you Leopeva 64 for all of your hard work and dedication to reporting on new Chrome features accurately!
Don’t like all that comes with Chrome’s new “Side Panel” area? Tired of seeing Reading List and you never save anything to read later? What about History Journeys, or the new Following feed? I don’t blame you. As much as I love what’s becoming of the right side of the browser, I keep stating over and again that it’s quickly becoming quite crowded.
It would seem that someone at Google has heard my complaints (and yours!) as the company is now adding the ability to let you customize what appears there. Soon, you’ll be able to have as much, or as little, as you wish taking up space in the Side Panel. Well, that’s at least the running theory about what “Customize Chrome” is.
The feature flag was recently discovered by Dinsan at Chrome Story, and while there’s no way of knowing for sure exactly what Google’s plans are for the new option, we do have a flag description that gives us some idea.
Customize Chrome Side Panel
Enables the ability to use Customize Chrome functionality from the unified side panel on the New Tab Page. – Mac, Windows, Linux, ChromeOS, Fuchsia, Lacros#customize-chrome-side-panel
As you can see, you’ll likely have to customize what appears in Side Panel by first going to the NTP, or “New Tab Page” for the browser. Packing all customization options – even those for this new feature – into the existing “Customize” tool on the NTP makes sense, but it may be confusing for anyone looking to alter what’s present in the Side Panel while on another tab.
My guess is that it will redirect you to a new tab and automatically launch the customize settings for it when you select “Customize Chrome” in the Side Panel regardless of what tab is active when you do so. There’s no guarantee that this feature will come to fruition, but it’s at least being tested, which shows that the company is just as concerned as we are about how much is being stuffed out of sight in its new slide open panel.