An overlay scrollbar simply means that the bar for scrolling on the right side of the browser window is pretty much hidden – it’s just a very thin line – and it only pops fully into existence when you move the mouse near to it, or over it. This gives a neater look, and provides a touch more real-estate to show the contents of a web page in the browser window when you’re not scrolling around (or when using your mouse wheel to scroll, of course).
As spotted by Leopeva64-2 on Reddit (via Neowin), overlay scrollbars have been in testing on Edge since August 2021, when Microsoft promised it would bring this feature to Chromium – and therefore presumably Chrome, eventually.
Well, it seems like that’s finally happening, because a fresh patch in Chromium Gerrit has witnessed a comment from a Microsoft staff member stating that overlay scrollbars will soon be tested in Chrome (presumably beginning with Canary, the earliest preview build).
Analysis: Bug squashing will hopefully proceed at a speedy pace
Also in this patch, Microsoft developers have said they are trying to fix a glitch whereby YouTube in full-screen mode is bugged when the overlay scrollbars are enabled. Doubtless there will be other wrinkles which need to be smoothed over as this work progresses – assuming this move happens as anticipated – so it could take some time for this feature to appear in the release version of Chrome.
When it does, overlay scrollbars should be present in Chrome with not just Windows 11, but also on Windows 10, because the functionality came to both operating systems with the Edge browser. Fingers crossed we don’t have to wait long, at least for those who like this style of scrollbars; for those who don’t, there’ll doubtless be an option to turn them off.