27
Feb
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Google's Chrome browser for Android got itself a nice little update today that brings a couple of new features, as well as an improved overall experience:

Updates in this version of Chrome for Android include:
1. Improved scrolling performance
2. Increased responsiveness to pinch-zooming on pages
3. Faster interactive pages thanks to the latest version of the V8 javascript engine
4. Audio now continues to play while Chrome is in the background
5. Expanded support for HTML5 features
* Audio playing in Chrome will now pause when the phone is in use. This requires an additional permission.

There are actually a few notable changes here, but the biggest might be the ability to play audio in the background. That has long been a downside of mobile Chrome, as background pages were essentially "paused" to save resources in the past. With that no longer an issue, feel free to stream Grooveshark tunes all day long while you do... other stuff. Hit the widget to grab it.

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • vitriolix

    The responsiveness fixes are very obvious to me. Love it.

  • http://twitter.com/redbullcat Phil Oakley

    This is the update many people wanted. I just tried it, and it's definitely much better!

    Wonder if we'll ever get Chrome Canary for Android...wish Chrome could update on its own, separate from Google Play.

  • ismail

    Wonder if youtube videos can now be routed to the app

    • yahyoh

      i think its working for me on the beta but u have to zoom a bit then tap on the top of the video ( on the video title )

  • Matthew Fry

    Uh... just to be clear, the background playback was just a Chrome problem AFAIK. The ICS browser did it fine. Firefox does it fine.

    • Zaatour36

      i tried Chrome(updated) and Firefox, and both don't support Youtube background streaming!

      What do they mean by " Audio now continues to play while Chrome is in the background" when it's not working.?

      I keep getting pissed off iOS usurers having this feature, and we have lame apps with horrible UI to do that.

      • Ryuuie

        This isn't Google's fault that YouTube isn't able to play in the background. More like the fault of the music industry thinking we can somehow steal music if it's allowed to play when the browser is closed.

        As I recall, you're not able to do this with iOS either on Safari as of a recent update to the OS.

        This probably applies to MP3s and other non-YouTube sites.

        • http://twitter.com/snookasnoo Idon’t Know

          Google owns You Tube but somehow it's not Googles fault? if the music industry had an issue with it the music would not be on You Tube to begin with.

          • Ryuuie

            You mean like if there were DMCA takedowns that users receive when their videos contain even a tiny smidge of copywritt---oh.

            No, seriously. It's not Google's fault. If the paranoid RIAA and MPAA want it, they ask them to do it. Yes, Google does it, but only at their request.

      • enoch861

        Because its YouTube.
        Remember back in Android 2.3.3 how you could play YouTube videos from the YouTube app and you could lock the screen and still have playback?
        Its the same thing... You can't lock your screen and still have video playback going on in the background. I don't think my previously owned iPhone 5 did what you claim anyway.

        • username_already_exists_error

          yes. i definitely agree. my ip4s cannot do it either so i am sure it's not "ios users"

          • Zaatour36

            just contacted my iPhone user friend, and said the feature was blocked after an update in iPhone 4s, so probably same time Android Youtube got blocked as well

        • Zaatour36

          my iFan friend keep calling me on that feature, as he do that all the time on his car stereo, which lead me to look for a solution.(he wanted to switch to Android, but didn't like it wasnt supported)

          Also, recalled the old version of Youtube which enabled it, that's why the disappointment

      • Nick

        You could try this app https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=jp.co.asbit.pvstar been using it without issue and does what you describe. Screen off and streaming youtube right now

        • Zaatour36

          thanks, that what i use. but I wanted something simpler or user friendly like the native app

    • faceless128

      yep. i was about to mention this.

      The AOSP Browser, Boat Browser, Dolphin, Firefox, Opera and xScope all play music in the background just fine.

      i tried them all with the SoundCloud website a few weeks ago.

  • engray

    Annoying problem with raving scrolling disappeared after this update (happened since CM9 (unofficial) on SGS +)!

  • Aaron Berlin

    Version 25? Did that just happen with this release to the non-beta version? Or did that update happen previously?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=500019603 Nathan Bell

      Just happened with this one.

  • letsplaaay

    The only single reason I am still using the stock browser is Chrome's lack of quick controls. :(

    • Scott

      Quick controls are the shit. I miss the AOSP browser. I really wish they would have just called that chrome and integrated the syncing of tabs/bookmarks. Chrome on Android really blows in comparison to the performance of the AOSP browser.

  • Aleksey_US

    I'm assuming Chrome Beta already has all this stuff... right?

    • GreenyO

      Nope.

  • Vandré Brunazo

    It's doing 417 points on html5test.com which is now the second behind the bb10 browser.

    http://html5test.com/results/mobile.html

    • tylerwatt12

      400ms faster in sunspider

  • Derek Traini

    What is the difference between this and the most current Chrome Beta?

    • Ryuuie

      Actually, nothing. I just checked and it's pretty much about 98% the same now. Right down to the version numbers of Java, Webkit, and Chrome itself.

      Also, Chrome Beta, Chrome Browser, and Chrome on Android all have the same version number just about.

  • itsgonnalast

    On my Nexus 7, Chrome often shuts down and restarts randomly... has this happened to anyone else? I'm wondering if that's been fixed, although I don't see it in the changelog.

    I switched to Firefox as my default browser mainly because of this bug.

    • Luka Tomašević

      i have a nexus 7 and it never happened to me

  • John O’Connor

    On a side note: It's too bad that flash has been removed from mobile (officially) I believe that the reasoning behind this was a push from streaming services so that people could not watch content through their mobile browser (or even smart tvs, dvd players, tablets, etc) that was labeled "web only" and unavailable in the respective app. Many will say that you can change your user agent in your browser and use a hacked flash apk, but most browsers (dolphin included) have disabled the feature permanently. Youtube is guilty of this as well.

    • Nick D

      No, Adobe just gave up supporting it because there were too many platforms, iOS wasn't going to allow compatibility, and HTML5 is eventually going to take over. It was entirely Adobe saving their resources for the products that make money and not a Google decision.

      • John O’Connor

        I won't doubt the logic behind the move. It just seems that HTML 5 hasn't gotten to the point it needs to be at

        • http://twitter.com/snookasnoo Idon’t Know

          The reason Adobe gave up on Flash is because it was bloated pig that used far too many resources and was also malware fest. Google also doesn't like Flash which is why they came out with WebM and neither does Microsoft. About the only company that does like Flash is Adobe but its their usually crappy poorly written software so even they had to give up on it.

  • flavouride

    nice to see the version number jumps all the way from 18 to 25, wish it'll keep up the pace with its desktop counterparts (the stable channels at least)

  • Pelagia

    I am waiting for the fullscreen without the address bar. Otherwise i can't use this Web browser...

  • yahyoh

    the scrolling still sucks > same as the beta -_-
    back to AOSP browser :)

  • Skripka Skripka

    This update renders text unreadable. Makes all fonts be they stock system or custom fonts on websites blurry to the point of eye-strain. Doesn't matter if they're serif or sans, only way to be able to read is to zoom in.

    • Ryuuie

      Must be your phone (or eyes). Not having this problem on my Nexus 4, Galaxy Nexus, or Nexus S.

    • Stray Cat

      Noticed the same thing on my Nexus 4. Before the update text was crisp, sharp and readable at all zoom levels, now it's blurry and illegible until I zoom in far enough.

    • Mailia

      I've noticed that the text on my Nexus 7 has gotten fuzzier after the update.

  • https://steamcommunity.com/id/m-p-3 m-p{3}

    Looks like they managed to streamline the Android and desktop version of Chrome.

  • One more week till storm 3

    nexus 7 chrome the text is blirrry

  • http://twitter.com/Rimher Umberto Sonnino

    I still don't understand how Google totally nailed Stock Browser and is not able to make Chrome work correctly.
    Improvements are there, but Stock is still way way better.

    • yahyoh

      it totally dumb move from Google because Chrome for android still feel like android 2.0 browser ×_×
      even ICS browser still smother

      there is one thing good in Chrome 25 its faster than AOSP browser but its not smooth at all

  • aNYthing6

    It's incredibly laggy for me on my S III. Scrolling is a pain.

    • PhilNelwyn

      Yep.
      It was smoother before the update on my Nexus 4 too.

  • Dion Samuel

    So is it better to use the beta or the stable version? I currently use the beta, thinking it would have the latest updates.

  • Rob

    OK, this is REALLY CONFUSING. I just let the update to Chrome Beta process. It's version 25.0.1364.122, but the app is still named CHROME BETA. Is this the same app that is being referenced in this post, or is it the OTHER VERSION of Chrome for Android, before Chrome Beta came out? Also if the app has GRADUATE FROM BETA, why is the beta tag still there? And finally, any guess as to when Chrome for Android might actually let users set a static homepage?

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

      This article is referring to the regular Chrome app, before the beta version was ever posted to the play store. The beta version gets faster and more frequent updates, but at the risk of possible bugs and instability. If you're using the beta version, many of these changes have already come through in the last few weeks.

  • http://twitter.com/realnudel Meowski Catovitch

    I think they've broken editing within large textboxes (even more so than previous versions). Maybe as part of the font-size changes*.

    e.g. A phpbb reply form, gets some weird yellow horizontal line now, and clicking below that line puts the cursor somewhere else entirely. Still randomly zooms or misplaces the cursor as you try to click on words or type into the form, too.

    (I know about tapatalk but don't like it.)

    (*Some sites have much smaller text now, on my Nexus 4. Although harder to read, it seems more consistent with how the same sites look/scale on a desktop or tablet, so I'm not sure it's a bad thing. The text seemed to be forced to a larger size in the past, while now it is allowed to get very small. I'd like to be able to have the browser zoom in automatically, where needed, to make the fonts a set size by default, I think.)

  • Allen ‘Gramps’ Sandifer

    No one mentioned that the permissions changed too. Now Chrome needs the following

    Phone calls
    read phone status and identity
    Allows the app to access the phone features of the device. This permission allows the app to determine the phone number and device IDs, whether a call is active, and the remote number connected by a call.
    Why does a browser need this?

    • andy_o

      No one mentioned that the permissions changed too. Now Chrome needs the following

      Phone calls
      read phone status and identity
      Allows the app to access the phone features of the device. This permission allows the app to determine the phone number and device IDs, whether a call is active, and the remote number connected by a call.
      Why does a browser need this?

      * Audio playing in Chrome will now pause when the phone is in use. This requires an additional permission.

      If by "no one mentioned" you mean "it's right there on the changelog, which is quoted in the very article I'm commenting on", then you're right.

    • http://www.anivision.org/ Christopher Bailey (Xcom923)

      I think @andy_o:disqus is trying to say....you answered your own question in your quote "This permission allows the app to determine the phone number and device IDs, whether a call is active, and the remote number connected by a call" this again is because this browser pauses audio during calls

  • JustaDigitalnative.com

    I tried it aswell and its still lagging, contrary to benchmark results. I clean my tablet ever week so clutter is not an issue. With a great deal of ram i'm finding myself fighting lag while on Opera, its a smooth ride! :)

  • http://twitter.com/GldRush98 Nick Overstreet

    They broke support for hi res book mark icons. I have reverted back to version 18 until they fix this. It makes my bookmarks screen incredibly ugly to look at with out the high res icons.

  • http://www.anivision.org/ Christopher Bailey (Xcom923)

    until I can get some password sync-age I can't use this. I'm "Stuck" with dolphin until this is worked out.