Well, nobody browses the web with only two browser tabs open. I know a few who does, but most hardened Internet users who are regular web surfers have plenty of tabs opened at the same time. A few modern browsers have some kind of built-in tab management feature. For Firefox it is Tab Panorama, for Opera 11 it is Tab Stacking. Google Chrome doesn’t have any. This is where extensions come in.
If you are looking for ways to bring order to tab-chaos, here are 10 useful extensions that I have collected for your convenience.
Judging from the download count, this is perhaps the most loved tab-managing extension for Chrome. Clicking on the TooManyTabs icon in the toolbar brings up a menu that displays a preview of each tab currently open in the browser. Users can move non-priority tabs to a list of "suspended tabs", which disappear from Chrome but are saved in TooManyTabs until you need them again. In addition, users can create multiple, custom-named columns, making it easy to organize stored tabs into different categories.
TabJump is a great tab manager for Google Chrome, that sits in the address bar and automatically organizes all open tabs, recently closed tabs and related tabs, so that you can easily navigate through them. You can also lock certain pages, protecting them from accidental closure.
Tabs Plus allows you to browse opened tabs by thumbnails. By clicking on the toolbar button, the user sees a preview of the pages currently opened in the browser. This allows them to quickly locate the page they are looking for.
A slightly better and visually enticing alternative to the just mentioned TabPlus is Tab Sugar. Tab Sugar is inspired by Firefox Panorama, and is actually a perfect clone of it. Tab Sugar allows tabs grouping, organizing and drag-n-drop to add tabs to a group. Watch the video in the extension’s page.
When you open too many tabs, you can no longer read the titles on them because they are so closely packed. Tab Menu, Vertical Tabs, Tab Switch Plus and Tab Glutton are four almost identical extension that solves this problem by providing a vertical tabs menu accessible from the toolbar. The menu can be navigated using the mouse or the keyboard arrow keys. You can close tabs from the menu, rearrange them by drag-and-drop and find tabs by searching for both tab titles and URLs.
Drag and drop is supported by only Tab Menu and Vertical tabs. Search is supported by Tab Menu, Vertical tabs and Tab Glutton. Tab Switch Plus offers just a simple list.
Tab Manager lets you manage tabs on multiple windows. Clicking on the Tab Manager icon in the toolbar reveals a box with favicons of all opened tabs on all opened windows. Tabs on different windows are identified by different groups. To move tabs from one window to another, the user just needs to drag the tabs from one group to another. Similarly tabs can be dragged to create new windows or moved to trash.
Visual Tabs lets you navigate tabs in cover-flow style using the mouse wheel. There are 6 different color schemes, supports hotkeys (non-customizable) and a adjustable few visual tweaks. Doesn’t help much in actual organizing, but adds a dash of style to browsing.
This list, is by no way, either comprehensive or complete. New extensions are added every day and I have no doubt that better ones will become available in future. Besides, I have deliberately left out certain extensions that does not have any tab management feature in the strictest sense. For example, Sexy Undo Close Tab, Tabs to the front, Close all tabs from a site, New Tabs Always Last, Recent Tabs, Tab Position Customizer etc are all useful extensions that lets you customize tab behavior, but they do not offer tab organization or management.