How to set browser flags in Chromium
For some of the new APIs we introduce in Chromium, you need to set a browser flag for experimentation. This article explains how to do this in the various Chromium derivatives like Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and others.
Chromium is an open-source browser project that aims to build a safer, faster, and more stable way for all users to experience the web. A lot of web browsers are built on Chromium, including the popular browsers Google Chrome by Google, Microsoft Edge by Microsoft, Opera Web Browser by Opera, and many others.
chrome:// scheme #
Google Chrome has since the beginning supported a special scheme called
chrome:// for accessing browser-internal settings or features. You can see the full list by putting
chrome://chrome-urls into the URL bar. The special URL of interest here is
Setting browser flags #
For some new APIs in Chromium, you need to set a browser flag for experimentation. You guessed it,
chrome://flags is where this happens. The most popular flag we ask you to set is
chrome://flags/#enable-experimental-web-platform-features, which, as the name suggests, enables experimental web platform features.
Origin trials are set by website owners and opt a user's browser into supporting a given feature. Only features deemed safe for testing with real users are available for origin trials.
Browser flags are set by you and opt in your local browser to a given feature. Not all features that are available behind a flag are ripe for production—sometimes quite the opposite.
Scheme rewrites #
Something interesting happens, though, if you enter a
chrome:// URL into a browser that is not Chrome. For example, if you enter
chrome://flags/#enable-experimental-web-platform-features into Microsoft Edge, you will notice that it gets rewritten as
edge://flags/#enable-experimental-web-platform-features. All vendors have created this rewrite mechanism, which makes sense, as Edge is not Chrome, although it is based on Chromium.
Inclusive documentation #
We strive for making our documentation inclusive of different browsers, so, for example, telling a Brave user to navigate to
chrome://flags to toggle a given flag—while it works thanks to the rewrite mechanism—may not be the most welcoming experience. At the same time, listing all possible vendor schemes like
brave://, etc. is not a great solution either.
One scheme to rule them all #
Luckily there is a hidden champion scheme that fits all our needs:
about://. In Chrome,
about:// URLs get rewritten to
chrome://, in Edge to
edge://, and so on for all vendors. We are in this web thing together, and this is
about:// all of us! Whenever you see instructions that include the
about:// scheme, your Chromium browser of choice will do the right thing.
A notable exception to the rewriting mechanism is
about:blank (without the
//), which displays a blank, empty document.