I recently had an auto-push which upgrade my Chrome browser to version 8, and decided to check out the "flags" area, which is the experimental area of the browser.

Flags is accessed by typing about:flags in the address bar. When you load it, you get a big ol’ warning that all this stuff may be unstable:

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…and from there can enable or disable certain features at your own risk.

Here are a few of them I tried out:

GPU Accelerated Compositing

What this does is enable your graphics card in having much more involvement in rendering web pages. This is similar to a feature that will appear in Internet Explorer 9.

This accelerated compositing can be noticed on web sites that utilize a lot of imagery. Mapping sites are a good place to test this out. With Bing Maps in particular you’ll notice some improvement with "Bird’s Eye" view when moving around the map, zooming in/out, rotating, and so on.

Tabbed Settings

Instead of having your settings in a dialog box, they’re in a tab instead:

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This is something that makes sense because it follows more along with how Chrome does things. Extensions, for example, are all done within tabs, so having the browser options in tabs matches up nicely.

It’s also helpful that when in a tab, you can zoom in to make everything easier to read.

Side Tabs

Moves open tabs from top to left:

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For those that have open 20 tabs at a time, you’ll find this useful. When you go higher than that, there’s one huge problem – the list doesn’t scroll vertically.

If this feature did scroll vertically, it’d be a winner.

Click to play

Last in the last but definitely not least, this is the most useful experimental plugin Chrome has because it effectively replaces Flash blockers in one fell swoop.

Here’s how to work with it:

After enabling the Click to play feature (requires a browser restart), go to the content settings, click Plug-ins and choose Click to play:

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After that, go to any web site that uses Flash, like PCMech’s YouTube channel.

This is what happens:

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That, dear readers, is a beautiful thing – and for most people it renders all other Flash blockers obsolete since it’s baked right into the Chrome browser.

Several other experimental features are available in Chrome. Feel free to try them out – but be mindful that they are experimental.