Ever since Chrome’s Tab Groups became a thing, I’ve been absolutely addicted not only to the idea of them but also to their execution. I believe Google nailed the implementation here. Being able to right-click any browser tab and add it to a group all contained by a color of your choosing, collapsing them to save RAM, saving them to your bookmark bar, and recalling them at any point in the future all feels like the secret sauce that the modern browsing experience has been sorely missing.
User data management and curation assistance are huge right now, and it’s awesome to see big tech providing tools to allow this, even if it is driven by corporate interest in driving shopping sales and advertisements. Hey, a for-profit company has to make money, right?
“Tab Groups Save” has been in development for far too long
Anyway, I’ve been not-so-patiently waiting for Tab Groups in Chrome to be fully functional and to be honest, that wait is killing me now. When the feature launched, the ability to save groups for later wasn’t even a thing, but now that it is, I can definitively say it’s been in the cooker for too long. Google has been developing the save syncing feature for God knows how long now, and each time I think it’s about to launch, well, it’s not.
Instead of just appearing in the bookmark bar and doing nothing else as was the case for many months, groups you stored away could now be clicked and re-launched in a browsing session. What’s more, is that unchecking the “Save” option on a Tab Group would remove it from the bookmark bar – another thing that never happened until recently.
A sad realization
With all of that in mind, Tab Groups are fully functional and can be relied upon to save all of your active research for another day, right? No, not exactly. Unfortunately, I figured this out the hard way. Not only did I take all of my tab groups, save them and close them out, but I also took all of my old bookmark folders and convert them into Tab Groups, deleting the source material folders.
Once I was finished, I had a load of beautifully colored Tab Groups strung along my “Bookmark” bar, and clicking them launched the group and all of its contents. However, upon closing out Chrome to perform an update, I was met with a horrible realization…Tab Groups are not synced to the browser – only to the active session!
Starting from square one
This means that every single one of my Tab Groups across all six of my Chrome profiles was completely wiped out. I am now looking at a blank bookmark bar. No Tab Groups…no bookmarks – nothing. I suppose it’s bad to hoard things, and this was Chrome’s way of teaching me my lesson. All jokes aside, it appears that the last piece of the puzzle for “Tab Groups Save” before it’s ready to “save” all users from having 300 tabs open at a time and eating all of their RAM (yes, even with collapse and freeze enabled) is the ability to actually, you know… save tabs.
I was naive and went all in on the feature before it was ready, and it’s no one’s fault by my own. Knowing this, I would encourage you all to wait a bit longer before taking all of your tabs and dumping them into groups, and smacking the “Save group” toggle. Sure, you can use groups to organize and color code your research, but the moment you close or quit Chrome’s process at least on Windows, you’re in for a terrible surprise.
Microsoft Edge has the edge right now
I know that Google is working diligently to develop this and other great tools for its users, but sometimes, I wish it worked a little bit faster. For context, Microsoft Edge already has the ability to store and recall Tab Groups to “Collections” even after the browser process is killed and restarted – I checked just today. Without this one simple thing, I’m finding that I need to keep nearly 300 Chrome processes running at once in the Windows 11 task manager (don’t judge me). Let me know in the comments if you face a similar problem and can’t wait to tuck your Tab Groups away for a bit when they’re not in use or if you only have a few tabs open simultaneously.