Google Chrome's about:flags page has gone missing (update: it's back!)

After recently upgrading to Chrome 14.0.835.159 beta, I noticed that the "experimental new tab page" was no longer working. Though disappointing, there was a very prominent warning that these features could change or disappear. That's not the problem, per se.

What is a problem is that about:flags, the page where you enable this and other experimental features, is mysteriously missing. It's just gone. The browser returns a generic "page not found" message:

This webpage is not available

The webpage at chrome://flags/ might be temporarily down or it may have moved permanently to a new web address.

Error 300 (net::ERR_INVALID_URL): Unknown error.

This issue is easily replicated in both Windows and OS X.

about:flags missing (Windows 7)
about:flags missing, OS X 10.6.8

I asked this question on superuser this morning to no avail. After a little more searching, I came across Chrome's Release History page on Wikipedia. The final entry indicates that this was done intentionally.

Major versionRelease dateWebKit versionV8 engine versionOperating system supportSignificant changes
15.0.8742011-09-09535.23.6.0Windows Mac LinuxFaster print preview. Removed chrome://flags experiments: Experimental new tab page on by default. Switched to FFmpeg native VP8 decoder.

The Google Chrome Releases blog indicates that they are "investigating some stability issues." There is also now a Chrome help forum thread about this.

This doesn't appear to be a particularly popular move, but these options are still available for those running dev releases. Hopefully this gets merged back in to the beta channel soon. We people running beta software like this sort of geekery Smile

Update: version 14.0.835.162 beta fixed this issues by re-enabling the about:flags pages. All experimental features should be functional again.