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Google Chrome is about to get a great new feature for sharing links

Published May 12th, 2021 4:14PM EDT
Google Chrome Share Menu
Image: Teerasan/Adobe

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Google Chrome faces well-deserved criticism about how it handles computer resources, which can significantly impact battery life on laptops. Google also plans to implement new user tracking technologies for Chrome, replacing third-party cookies with FLoC, which has received plenty of backlash in the past few months.

These are good reasons to ditch Chrome and replace it with an alternative, but Chrome remains the top internet browser, a favorite tool for many people. That’s because Google keeps coming up with neat new features for Chrome that might very well compensate for the more controversial ones. And Google is already working on a brand new change for Chrome that might make link management even easier than before.

Whether you use Chrome for work or personal web surfing, the omnibox is where much of the action happens. That’s where you type in search queries and website addresses and where you copy URLs for sharing with others. The omnibox also offers quick security information about websites and lets you perform additional actions, such as saving a website to bookmarks, entering reader mode, translating pages, and blocking cookies. The omnibox menu might vary depending on the website and the various options you’ve enabled in Chrome.

Google plans on adding another useful button to the omnibox that already appears in the newest Chrome Canary (beta) releases. The “Plus” menu that Chrome Story found might be called Desktop Sharing Hub, 9to5Google explains. That’s its current name if you’re looking to enable it in the chrome://flags menu.

Google Chrome
New Share menu in Google Chrome beta.

Press that “+” icon and a new menu shows up, revealing at least four “Share” actions for the user. You can copy the link at hand, generate a QR code, “Save page as…” and Cast it to Chromecast-connected devices. If you’re signed into Chrome, then a “Send to your devices” option might also appear in the menu.

The QR code button isn’t new, as that’s just one of those buttons you might see appear for some websites right now. But it’s included in the “Plus” menu in the example above. Copying and sharing links is part of the daily internet browsing routines for many people. Having these tools placed in a simple menu that’s immediately available makes plenty of sense, as is the Cast button, which is currently hidden in the hamburger menu on the side.

It’s unclear at this time whether additional buttons can be added to the menu. Extensions installed in Chrome might generate buttons of their own, assuming Google wants to allow such complex functionality for the new share menu. It’s also unclear when the feature will roll out, but it’s currently available on Chrome Canary v92, so you can experience it on Windows, macOS, Linux, and Chrome OS right away.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.