That does sound lie a browser configuration issue. There must be a checkbox somewhere that got checked.
Do you possibly have too many tabs open? I saw some info somewhere on a Google page that stated that new windows and tab share some of the same properties and interact with each other.
Here is a Google thread that covers what sounds like the same issue.
I found the following PDF on the web. It covers a lot of configuration issues. There might be something in there.
I don't use Chrome very often for three reasons:
1. It very likely is spyware and they are monitoring what users are doing without their knowledge or permission.
2. Due to the sparse menu system, it is too difficult to figure out how to fix problems like the one you ran into.
3. Like many others, I am beginning to hate "all things Google." To web site owners, they are both a blessing and a curse, a dichotomy of good against evil. The evil part is winning the battle lately.
I do use it when working with Google properties, such as AdWords or the Google Affiliate Network, because it is the only browser that works efficiently with their systems. The others are all too slow.
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin