On Google Chrome I have a tab with twitter.com on it and it's show a "rippling" effect. Here are a couple of screenshots:

non state tab with highlight ripple.

You can see the lighter area at the top of the tab to the right of the bird and then to the left.

It moves from right to left and then jumps back to the right. Why is this happening?

It also does it for the tab with Google Reader on it.

2 Answers 2


This behavior happens only with pinned tabs. Some web services update the page content in real-time and the part of the update is changing the title of the window. Since the tab is pinned, there's no way for you to see the change in the title, so Chrome engineers created this subtle notification.

  • Yes, indeed. For the twitter tab the title is changing to (n) Twitter... where n is the number of new tweets. Just clicking on the tab and then clicking away gets rid of the rippling. Jul 3, 2012 at 14:49
  • 2
    It isn't "subtle" at all, because the human eye is especially sensitive to peripheral motion. Nov 11, 2015 at 21:52
  • Chrome uses a timer most likely triggered from when the pinned tab was last activated. Jul 3, 2018 at 12:56

It's hard to tell from the images you provided, but I suspect it is the notification that the tab has updated/has new content. This would especially make sense with Reader and Twitter. eg. when the Twitter page updates to say "There are __ new tweets"

  • 2
    It looks like your answer was truncated.
    – bwDraco
    Jul 3, 2012 at 14:37
  • That's odd, but thank you - I fixed it!
    – din
    Jul 3, 2012 at 14:48

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