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Google Contemplating Removing Chrome 'Close Other Tabs' and 'Close Tabs to the Right' Options (bleepingcomputer.com) 266

An anonymous reader shares a report: Chrome engineers are planning to remove two options from Chrome that allow users to quickly close a large number of tabs with just a few clicks. The options, named "Close other tabs" and "Close tabs to the right" reside in the menu that appears when a user right-clicks on a Chrome tab. According to an issue on the Chromium project spotted yesterday by a Reddit user, Google engineers planned to remove to menu options for many years even before opening the Chromium issue, dated itself to July 31, 2015. After several years of inactivity and no decision, things started to move again in September 2016, when usage statistics confirmed that Chrome users rarely used the two options they initially wanted to remove. Seeing no new discussions past this point, Chromium engineers assigned the issue in February, meaning engineers are getting ready to remove the two menu options it in future Chromium builds.
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Google Contemplating Removing Chrome 'Close Other Tabs' and 'Close Tabs to the Right' Options

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  • by Harold Halloway ( 1047486 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @01:23PM (#54089355)

    As someone who tends to open new links in a new tab and who ends up with a dozen or so open, I've always found those options to be very useful, especially the 'Close Tabs to the Right' one. I'm not sure why Google would want to get rid of them - the options hardly seem like a security risk or a burden on processor or RAM resources. I'll miss them if they do disappear.

    • by smelch ( 1988698 )
      As somebody who is constantly having Visual Studio open new tabs in chrome, Close tabs to the right is fantastic.
      • Google doesn't care about you, you're the exception to their statistics. I'm the exception to some of their other statistics, and they don't care about me either. For example, I actually used the '+' to indicate in Google Search that I want a particular term to actually appear in the results. They say you can use double quotes, but (a) that isn't as convenient, and (b) double quotes mean something else, particularly when used to group words into a phrase.

        You can also see Google's (non-)response to users

    • Exactly right. Google something, right-click-open-in-new-tab a bunch of interesting looking sites, then easily close them all down when you're finished. I use these very useful features multiple times every day. Please don't kill them.
      • by wrp103 ( 583277 )

        Exactly right. Google something, right-click-open-in-new-tab a bunch of interesting looking sites, then easily close them all down when you're finished. I use these very useful features multiple times every day. Please don't kill them.

        That is exactly what I do, several times a day, so I would miss that feature. What is the motivation for the change?

        Actually, if somebody writes an extension to put them back, it would be the best of both worlds. Those of us who use the feature will have it available, while those who don't use it will be running a leaner browser. (not sure how much leaner, though. ;^)

        • Actually, if somebody writes an extension to put them back, it would be the best of both worlds.

          The features are not available in the APIs, so no extension can re-implement it.

          • by antek9 ( 305362 )
            In that case Google better put them into the API. These functions clearly are available under Firefox, I'm using an add-on that puts them (among many more, e.g. Close Left Tabs, Mute Tab, Duplicate Tab and so on) into the context menu, it's called Tab Mix Plus. I use these functions all the time and have no idea why Google would want to cripple Chrome even more.
    • You could also just say: "Noooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

      • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )

        You could also just say: "Noooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

        When asked to use Chrome? Absolutely!

    • by joelgrimes ( 130046 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @02:10PM (#54089841) Homepage
      Close other tabs is fairly trivial to replace. Just drag the tab out and kill the original window. I'll miss close-to-the-right.
    • I'm not sure why Google would want to get rid of them

      Because everyone is all about "minimalism!!!" these days, and Chrome is the poster child of this. I'm actually surprised these features have lasted this long, or even got in there in the first place.

      Go back 15 years and look at the UIs we used to have: we have far more features than today. Now everything needs to be designed to run on a small tablet screen and operated with your thumbs.

    • Let me guess... you're an intermediate to advanced user and do not let Google spy on you. Yeah, then they won't see how/what gets used by that class of users. Just Grandma going on facebook to see her grandchildren.
    • by Frobnicator ( 565869 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @03:38PM (#54090615) Journal

      The story says the engineers found it was used rarely, citing that as the reason for removal.

      However, doing something rarely does not mean it is used never, nor does it mean removal is appropriate.

      I rarely use a fire extinguisher, yet I keep one in my kitchen and my vehicle. I rarely use my window shutters, but I'm absolutely glad the house has them as they can save a fortune during a storm. I rarely print documents, but I still maintain a printer.

      Just because it is rarely used does not mean it isn't useful, nor does it mean it should be removed.

      • by Altrag ( 195300 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @04:46PM (#54091117)

        In TFA, it even has a ranking of several features. Close to the right is used more than say, Mute Tab.

        And they're still keeping "bookmark all tabs", a feature with 1/10th the usage of Close to the right.

        Makes you wonder if someone in the "feature"-assigning group is on Microsoft's payroll. Chrome and FF keep removing features and getting slower while MS at least is trying to make a useful browser (pretty unsuccessfully so far but hey if all they have to do is wait for the competition to implode, they'll still win at the end of the day!)

        • by xQx ( 5744 )

          You've raised great points.

          Let's start a change.org partition asking Google to remove:

          - Bookmark all tabs
          - Mute tab
          - Unmute tab
          - Close tabs to the right
          - Close other tabs

          Clearly, they do nothing but clutter the interface for about 95% of users.

    • Dammit, that means Chromefox will lose them too. I don't really care what Chrome does since I only use it for printing, but everything they do ends up being done to Chromefox as well.
    • As someone who's used Chrome every day for the last five years - I had to right click on the tab to see what menu options this article talking about. I've never used them, never needed them and never known they're there.

      If you use tabbed browsing properly (one window per subject, one tab per page) you would never need to close "all windows but this" or "all windows right of this" - and if you do, how hard is it to tear the primary tab out then close the remaining window with your unneeded tabs.

      It seems usag

  • What I want back (Score:5, Interesting)

    by OhSoLaMeow ( 2536022 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @01:23PM (#54089367)
    Vertical tabs.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Vivaldi is what you want then.

    • by lgw ( 121541 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @02:15PM (#54089883) Journal

      Remember the good old days, when software companies added features that the user base wanted? It's true - many moons ago, the great software companies wanted to please their users, instead of their "designers". It was a grand old time.

  • by bfwebster ( 90513 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @01:23PM (#54089371) Homepage

    I can't be the only person who uses these on a regular basis.

    Unless...I am.

    Mind. Blown.

    No, seriously. Is usage that rare? Because I do use these a lot. ..bruce..

    • by Chrisq ( 894406 )
      You are not alone. I use them frequently
      • I have used close-to-right only once, a long time ago. Here are two similar things I currently often do:

        1. Close all -- just click the little close box. Saves a few clicks over the close all tabs.

        2. Close all but one -- grab the tab and pull it out into another window, then alt-tab back and click the close box on the previous window.

        Easy, faster, and completely intuitive.

        • 2. Close all but one -- grab the tab and pull it out into another window, then alt-tab back and click the close box on the previous window.

          As opposed to 'right-click, close other tabs'? Not easier, and not faster, sorry.

          Close to the right I've never used, however, but I can see how it'd be useful. My chromebook is slowly becoming more and more irritating to use, the worst offender being the constant tab reloading whenever I switch tabs back and forth with no option to turn it off. Memory usage has
    • I just select the tabs that I want to close in gang (either with shift or ctrl/cmd) and then close them either with ctrl/cmd-w or a right click. For me it would be very rare that I want to close all but a single tab.

      But I admit that I'm weird. I still can't completely let go of Firefox because of Tree Style Tabs. Tabs on the top is madness! :)

    • by EvilSS ( 557649 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @01:47PM (#54089651)

      I can't be the only person who uses these on a regular basis.

      Unless...I am.

      According to their telemetry, yes, you are the only one.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        According to their telemetry, yes, you are the only one.

        Odds are, people who use advanced features are more likely to turn data harvesting off. Thus making those metrics questionable. Then again, anyone who is opposed to being monitored is not part of the Google's target audience.

    • Use it all the time.... google some code related thing, open a half dozen tabs, read them then want to repeat, go back to google tab then close all tabs to the right.
    • That's what I was thinking when I read this post. I can't comprehend that most power users *aren't* using this function. I would stop using a browser entirely if it dropped 'close other tabs' but closing tabs to the right is a fundamental aspect of my work-related browsing.
    • I use Chrome daily and never knew it was an option. But then again I'm not of those hoarders who has hundreds of tabs open.

      • I am one of those hoarders who has hundreds of tabs open, and I never knew this was an option.

        To close many tabs at once, I just moused-over the leftmost one and center-click rapidly until they are all closed.
    • Until I saw this article, I've never realized there was a close tabs to the right. I knew there was a close other tabs, but I don't think I've ever used it.

    • That's because the RSS dropdown feeds have an item 'open all' which I click inadvertently and sudddenly I have 10 tabs opening up. So closing everything to the right would be useful then.

      Of course I'd also be happy if that 'open all' option were removed...

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      This gets down to something that used to be a common UI design principle before software became so feature-ful it became impractical: manifest interface.

      The idea of a manifest interface (which also is a principle in language and API design) is that if the software has a capability you should be able to see it. You shouldn't have to root around to stumble upon it. Tabs follow this principle; there's enough visual and behavioral cues to suggest that you need to click on a tab. The little "x" in the tab al

  • That's actually a feature I tend to use quite often, especially when researching something - when I finally find the page that (best) tells me what I want to know, I can get rid of all the others that led me there. What exactly is the horrible horrible overhead that the maintainers have to put up with to keep these features in the main branch?

    Meanwhile, another thing that drives me crazy is that Chrome will close a window with 19 active tabs without a single complaint. At least Firefox will ASK if you
    • by Guidii ( 686867 )
      If you're not in incognito mode, you should be able to press Ctrl-Shift-T to reopen the last closed tab. If you closed a window, all of the tabs come back.
  • put the "reopen the last closed tab" into the command bar.

    Yes, I know there's a keyboard command. But just as certain is that the moment I accidentally close a tab, I won't remember it because I don't need it THAT often.

  • Anyone still using Chrome should have long since resolved to using a mostly featureless browser. If you are looking for features, you probably should be looking more at using Palemoon or another browser maintained by another small group. Once a browser seems to hit critical appeal, features start getting stripped out because your grandparents might fuck something up.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's what I call "New Coke Syndrome".

      When a product becomes very popular and widely used, the people who work on the product have a problem. They can't just stop working on it. They can't stop going to work and just say "we're number one, so there's no need to do anything. Send me my paycheck.".

      And so they keep working. Adding new features, removing old features. Making all sorts of "improvements" that in reality actually make the product worse. It happened to Windows. It happened to Firefox. And n

      • by swb ( 14022 )

        I was thinking about this yesterday in a similar way, how once a product's core functionality reaches a certain level you reach a point in its life cycle where as a user you're at risk of significant instability.

        Inevitably the desire to add new features to justify additional licensing fees will lead to the "need" to rewrite or significantly restructure the core functionality and they never get that right the first time, often plunging products back to levels of instability not seen in many versions. And of

    • by H3lldr0p ( 40304 )

      There may be some edge cases for the uninformed but almost everything taken out of Chrome has an impact on the bottom line for Alphabet.

      Stripped out options for not automatically running javascript, html5 video, and made it more difficult to monitor locally stored data. I'm waiting for them to get rid of extensions so we can't have our ad & tracker blockers running.

  • How about they enable multiple tab rows first?
  • by jenningsthecat ( 1525947 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @01:33PM (#54089485)

    Assuming that those options aren't problems from the code maintenance or security points of view, and if users haven't complained about them, then why remove them? I'm sure some people use them; in Pale Moon I have Tab Mix Plus set up to handle tabs in a way that most users would never even think of, and honestly, I'd be lost without it.

    I know it's heresy to suggest that Chrome might actually be configurable to suit individual needs and tastes; that said, why can't they they just have a preferences setting to show or hide those items? There's a difference between taking the lowest common denominator into account, and catering exclusively to it; and I'm tired of features being stripped away from both software and hardware because the average non-demanding user isn't sufficiently sophisticated to make use of them.

    • Removing features is what made Firefox great. Firefox became a well-known piece of utter shit when it had added feature after feature and bloated to an enormous, complicated hulk of options lost in hundreds of options. Then alternate browsers came along with their slimmed-down feature sets, and people moved.

      Chrome is ditching menu items few people use. It might not die of featuritis.

    • So, here's what happens:

      As a product improves, it gathers users. This is a mark of continuing success.

      Features are added, and users rejoyce.

      At some point, the product plateaus. There are no new users coming in, and people start getting nervous.

      A UI designer is introduced to the product.

      "There's a whole market of learning-disabled children and moderately senile elderly folks we've been ignoring this whole time! They get confused by all of this rich functionality. Burn it to the ground!"

      ... and they do.

    • Assuming that those options aren't problems from the code maintenance or security points of view

      All options are problems from a code maintenance and testing point of view. Every feature has an ongoing cost. If the cost exceeds the benefit, which is almost certainly the case if the feature is very little-used and there are other more often-used and roughly equally-convenient/effective ways to accomplish the same thing, then the feature should be removed.

      That said, I use close-to-right all the time and hope it doesn't get axed. OTOH, another poster pointed out that it's also possible to multi-select t

  • How can I keep up with replies to my Slashdot comments if I can't quickly closed out the tabs I've already looked at?
  • by MiniMike ( 234881 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @01:42PM (#54089595)

    Those two options are so useful, but I've been waiting for them to fill in the obvious remaining choices:
    - Close tabs to the left
    - Close this tab and tabs to the right/left (this is two options)
    - Close odd numbered tabs
    - Close tabs I don't want my Boss/Mom to see (shortcut keys: Ctrl+Ctrl+Ctrl+Ctrl)
    - Close tabs with numbers in the Fibonacci sequence
    - Close tabs with pages originating in travel ban countries
    - Close tabs except those with numbers on my lucky number list (default values will be provided)

  • Google takes their users to be a bunch of moronic infants. Why remove a feature? Ever?? Especially one that has been working fine for years. Oh right... because you don't want to confuse and upset the fragile minds of your users, you can barely manage to use one button on mouse. OK, so that's not for me.
  • by Exitar ( 809068 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @01:45PM (#54089633)

    Probably made by the same people that decided to shut down google reader.

    • I was pissed for a long time after that. However, Inoreader is so good that I shelled out for a yearly subscription to try to keep them around. What's your reader now?

  • by _Shorty-dammit ( 555739 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @01:45PM (#54089635)

    Removing features simply because they're not used by everyone every single day never made sense to me. Even if it is something only a very small percentage of users use, so what? It's not like you have to write that code again every time you compile. It just sits there minding its own business. Leave it alone and mind your own business. It doesn't affect any other work, so why remove it? To save a few bytes of memory? We all have nine zillion memories now. Who cares? Some people use it. And if more people knew about it they'd probably use it, too.

    Most people power on their machine, use the web browser, and office apps. That doesn't mean it would be beneficial to stop making all other programs just because most people don't use them. Same thing.

    • by nightfire-unique ( 253895 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @02:59PM (#54090279)

      Narcissism. There are droves of trendy fashionista UI designers that like "clean" "simple" interfaces, and think to themselves:

      "I don't need this functionality. So let's get rid of it. Fuck everyone else."

      I swear it's that simple.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @03:17PM (#54090421) Homepage

      Removing features simply because they're not used by everyone every single day never made sense to me. Even if it is something only a very small percentage of users use, so what?

      Because a lot of people get confused by too much information and too many options. And contrary to nerds they won't simply dismiss what they don't need they tend to avoid it saying it's too difficult. I'm not surprised if Google has analyzed that they'll lose 0.1% tech savvy users and gain 0.2% computer newbies instead. A case study: My online bank.

      They used to have rather information dense pages and complex filters and dialogs with lots of cross links to related functions. I loved it, you had pretty much everything you wanted to see, do or go to at your fingertips. My parents, well they used it because I used it and having free support was more valuable than trying some other bank. They redesigned, far more simple pages. Far more hierarchies and less directly accessible functions. I hated it, at the time I mostly blamed it on designing for cell phones and tablets not big computer monitors.

      But then I saw how my parents liked it much, much better than before. They said it was so much simpler and less confusing to use. Even though they never used but the first two options, it was far simpler to choose from three than eight and the rest hidden under "more options". The transcript page used to have lots of filters, now by default it has account and period, with the period being predefined like "last 30 days" or whole months with custom dates hidden another layer down.

      And it turns out, that's all they really use. if they ever wonder if they did pay the power bill of $100 in the first two weeks of January they wouldn't filter by recipient and amount and date. They'd just scan the monthly statements manually. I'm thinking this [xkcd.com] and this [xkcd.com] applies, sure they could learn how to make the computer do more but is is worth it? Considering how little they seem to remember of the basics, I'm thinking neither the investment nor the upkeep is worth it.

      So I can totally understand why, the question is do you have to only cater to my parents. But when push comes to shove, I'll manage to do five clicks instead of two just fine even though I'm slightly annoyed by it. My parents though, for them it makes a real difference. Unless it's really a professional's tool that you work in many hours a day, I'll always survive doing it the slightly harder way like just X'ing out all the tabs or hitting Ctrl-W repeatedly without being a make-or-break deal. It would be nice if we could have a browser by nerds, for nerds though. Maybe it's time for a new Phoenix?

      • by Altrag ( 195300 )

        There's a HUGE difference between cleaning things up and moving less-used options into submenus and other "hidden" places, vs removing those features entirely.

        Close tabs to the right is already in a menu many people don't even know exist, never mind use. So why are they singling out those two options when there's say, "Bookmark all tabs" on that same menu which by their own stats is used 1/10th as much?

    • Removing features simply because they're not used by everyone every single day never made sense to me. Even if it is something only a very small percentage of users use, so what?

      There are costs for keeping features, other than the immediate cost to maintain the software itself. For instance, maybe keeping the feature...

      ...forces users to navigate through it or read past it to reach commonly-used features, thus getting in the way
      ...makes the software feel more complicated, decreasing satisfaction for most users
      ...simply distracts most users, wasting the finite amount of attention you get from them
      ...makes the software seem poorly maintained for not dropping support for s

  • " when usage statistics confirmed that Chrome users rarely used the two options they initially wanted to remove"

    The bigger issue he is Google is spying on you. Did they bother to ask you to track your usage of Chrome? Seriously, fuck off Google.
    • by Altrag ( 195300 )

      Yes.

      EULA [google.com] which directs you to their Privacy Policy [google.com], which in turn provides for various forms of data collection.

      You're welcome to hate on EULAs all you want, but until the courts have fully come down on one side or the other (and they seem to be leaning more to the valid side,) you should consider this them asking and your using the software to be your agreement.

      I would say if you don't like it just use something else but lets face it, all EULA's are basically the same -- "we own everything and you own noth

  • Real men let the tabs close themselves. Typically after you get more than 1200 of them open and your computer runs out of all available RAM and the entire OS craps itself and then reboots. THAT's the way manly men close tabs.

    And the really manly manly men then restore the previous chrome session when the computer is back up and running.

    • by Altrag ( 195300 )

      I don't know about IE/Edge, but FF and Chrome both save your tabs and restore them after a crash (or at least give you the option to do so.)

      So its not all THAT manly anymore.

  • I have been slowly transitioning to Firefox, and I use those options often, so this is the kick I needed to just move to Firefox and make that my default browser.

    • by Altrag ( 195300 )

      Heh. I switched to Chrome because FF was getting shittier and shittier back in the day. Now Chrome is following through. Maybe its time for Opera to return to the spotlight? Or some people have mentioned Palemoon.. never heard of that before but might be worth checking out if Chrome continues down this remove-everything path (how long until they remove tabbed browsing all together and call it a "fresh, new way to browse!"?)

  • Sheesh, i would prefer if they just got rid of the X on the tab? I inadvertently close tabs I have open because there is an X on each tab. Get rid of it. I will do a Ctl+w if I am done, or just close the entire browser. The X i feel eats up real estate, and is an annoyance.

    • by Altrag ( 195300 )

      Ctrl+shift+T is your friend.

      That said, I'm mixed about the X's. Certainly its annoying to hit one accidentally but there's not really any other easy way to close a tab, never mind closing a bunch of tabs (but not enough to warrant rearranging to make Close to the right effective, for example.)

      I mean there's Ctrl+F4 which I use plenty, but we can't expect grandma to be memorizing keyboard commands. And even for my own usage, that requires switching to the tab first and I often find myself closing a bunch o

  • Make it so the thing that asks you if you want to save the password saves the password if you click "yes".

  • Although I eventually switched back to Firefox, when they finally added this critical feature, the ability to "close all to the right" was the main reason I used Chrome for several years before that. I use it at least 10 times a day. I will never again use a browser without it.

  • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @02:58PM (#54090273)

    If this feature can be reproduced with a simple extension, no big deal.
    Probably very few people used this feature, so it makes sense to remove it. For those the few who did use it, this is what extensions are for.

    For instance, I like using backspace to go to the previous page. Apparently is pissed some people off so Google removed it. Found an extension to re-enable it, everybody's happy.

  • To whom it may concern...

    There's an utterly mind-blowing, revolutionary notion called "customization".

    There are ancient rumors that before the coming of the return of the Great Dark Apple, people that used shit used to have options on how to do so. Ye, let it be known that you can also give users the option to turn on or off certain UI elements instead of just removing them...so it is written in the ancient texts.

  • What's that thing over there on the wall?

    The fire exit?

    Yeah the fire exit. I never see anyone use that ugly thing. Board it up.

    But I've heard of people using it...

    My studies have shown that only 1% of buildings ever use their fire exits! Board it up now and give it a nice white paint job! White is more interesting than color.

  • Can we move the spell check correction to the context menu option closest to the mouse instead of the one farthest away?

  • Honestly, this is one of the features which makes me keep using Chrome. Especially "Close tabs to the right" which allows me to drag the tab where I want and get rid of the stuff I just wanted to take a glance at.

    I really, REALLY hate the trend towards full-screen, single-page browsing with videos enabled by default. It's beginning to feel a lot like "channel surfing"

  • by mspring ( 126862 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @03:49PM (#54090709)
    Tabs are an overly simplistic way to track and manage "views". In browsers and in IDEs I encounter daily a situation where I created too many of them and they loose their meaning to me. I wished there was a better way to organize "views" in a more scalable way, while also preserving the history of their creation. I want to be able to navigate them by keyboard (and mouse).
  • You know, I've been using almost nothing but Chrome for many years (at least 5), and somehow I never really noticed them there..I only read the context menus *for* something that I'm looking for.. I never notice all the other drivel on those context menus...

  • It's an option I use daily (on Edge) and would really miss if it were to be removed.

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