Google Chrome borrows a page from Microsoft's handbook on AI-powered features and will include a Copilot-like writing feature

Google Chrome on PC
(Image credit: Future)

What you need to know

  • Google is experimenting with AI-powered features on Chrome. 
  • The features include AI-generated tab backgrounds, AI-powered tab organization, and an AI-writing feature.
  • The AI-writing feature is expected to ship to users next month and will help users get started with the writing process on any text box or field within Google Chrome.

Google Chrome is about to get a better browsing experience. And as you might have guessed, it has everything to do with generative AI. As spotted by PCWorld, Google is currently testing three AI-powered features on the browser, including AI-generated tab backgrounds, AI-powered tab organization, and an AI-writing feature.

The tab grouping feature is seemingly the most notable addition, as it will let users organize and group tabs together based on similar topics or categories. The feature will go through all open and group-related tabs with similar topics by right-clicking on one tab and selecting the Organize Similar Tabs option. 

However, as PCWorld's Mark Hachman pointed out, the feature only seems to work on new tabs, thus making it challenging to group existing tabs. My efforts to further examine this conundrum were futile as these experimental features aren't available to me yet.

The tab grouping feature isn't entirely new; Microsoft Edge spots a similar feature with the same functionality.

As highlighted, these features are currently in the testing phase and may not be available for everyone. This is especially true if you aren't running on the latest version of the browser (M121) and haven't enabled experimental features. 

Next is the AI background feature, AI-theming, which essentially adds to the customizing and personalization capabilities already available on Google Chrome. The new feature is represented by a small pencil icon or a Customize Chrome icon on the lower-right-hand side of the tab when in the customization settings tab.

By clicking on the icon, you'll be presented with the option to change the theme of your browser easily. You'll also find a Create with AI option buried under the menu tree under the Change theme option, where you'll find a wide array of suggestions for backgrounds with different tones, moods, and backgrounds. You can even create images using prompts reminiscent of your approach while generating images using Image Creator from Designer (formerly Bing Image Creator).

And finally, there are plans underway to ship a nifty AI writing tool to Google Chrome next month. By clicking on any text box within Chrome and selecting Help Me Write, the feature will quickly generate a few sentences to help you start your writing.

Like Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome might soon be an AI browser

Google Chrome theme color pallette in Customize Chrome panel

(Image credit: Kevin Okemwa)

Microsoft has heavily integrated its products and services with AI capabilities, with Microsoft Edge being its biggest beneficiary to the extent that it renamed the browser's name on iOS and Android to Microsoft Edge: AI Browser. This can be potentially attributed to the fact that the browser also ships with a fully-fledged AI-powered assistant, Microsoft Copilot (formerly Bing Chat).

Google continues to dominate search, while Microsoft Bing's market share stagnates despite the company's big push on AI. Admittedly, Google has encountered numerous setbacks in the past few months, including being listed as a gatekeeper by the European Commission under the DMA. There's also the issue of deepfake porn surfacing among its top results, which has raised significant concern among users.

The European Commission requires Google to comply with the DMA by making its services interoperable. The company has already put elaborate measures in place to comply with the DMA before the March 2024 deadline, including letting users use Bing and Edge as their default search engine and browser, respectively. Conversely, Microsoft gutting its Microsoft Rewards program isn't doing it any favors in the search race. However, its free pass from the EU's scrutiny and regulation due to lack of enough dominance could be a potential avenue to exploit. 

It's evident that Google has clocked Microsoft is onto something with AI and has finally decided to join the bandwagon to establish its dominance further. 

Kevin Okemwa

Kevin Okemwa is a seasoned tech journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya with lots of experience covering the latest trends and developments in the industry at Windows Central. With a passion for innovation and a keen eye for detail, he has written for leading publications such as OnMSFT, MakeUseOf, and Windows Report, providing insightful analysis and breaking news on everything revolving around the Microsoft ecosystem. You'll also catch him occasionally contributing at iMore about Apple and AI. While AFK and not busy following the ever-emerging trends in tech, you can find him exploring the world or listening to music.