In settings it use to say "open links in new tabs" now it just says "Open links in tabs instead of new windows"... what happened to "open links in NEW tab"? That would be the preferred option. When I'm in a tab and there's a link I click on I do not want to lose what I'm currently in, I want the link to open in a NEW tab. This has really gotten annoying!
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The setting "Open links in tabs instead of new windows" hasn't changed wording in a long time and is not related to whether a link opens in the current tab or not.
You can open links in new tabs by right-clicking > Open Link in New Tab, or middle-clicking, or holding the Ctrl key down while left-clicking, or dragging the link into the tab bar. Pinned tabs will automatically open links leading to different sites in new tabs.
It has changed because that's the setting I've always used. I know other ways to do it but one click is preferred... I don't always have my hands on the keyboard either!
Websites can make certain links open in a new tab, usually this is reserved for external links. Every link opening in a new tab does not seem very practical for most users, you would quickly end up with hundreds of redundant tabs and have to keep closing them all the time. Perhaps you are thinking of a feature of an extension you had installed.
Your logic makes no sense or is quite exaggerated. I've been using 'open links in a new tab' forever and it makes complete sense. There's no need to respond further if you have no answer. Thanks