A few weeks back we pointed out a neat little trick in the Chrome Beta for Android. By toggling the NTP flag, you could get a spiffy new tab page with a search box and scrollable list of recent sites. The last update to the app seems to have killed it, but now we know why – Chrome 31 will make that UI the default in Android.


There's already the Omnibox in Chrome for performing searches, but Google says it noticed users would still go to the Google homepage. So what to do? Bring the Google homepage to them. The top half of the new tab page has the Google logo and search box, just like if you went to Google.com. It might not be faster for everyone, but the new look is nice.

After it hangs out in the beta channel for a bit, Chrome 31 will eventually make its way to the stable app. Chrome 31 Beta is supposed to hit the Play Store at some point today, but no sign of it yet. We'll let you know if we spot it.

[Google Chrome Blog]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • Matthew Fry

    I've never gone to http://www.google.com on my phone except to see a larger version of the doodle of the day but I'm still excited for this because Swype doesn't automatically add spaces in the omnibox.

    • ltredbeard

      Are you using swype beta or the play store version. I have the play store version and it automatically spaces for me. To be fair though it didn't used to.

      Edit: Also not on Chrome beta, I'm using the regular Chrome release.

      • Matthew Fry

        Play Store version, Chrome Beta.

        • ltredbeard

          Do you have the stable Chrome installed? If so try it out to see if it works. I just checked and it worked fine for me.

          • Matthew Fry

            Curious! You are right. Chrome and Chrome Beta have something set that makes Swype react differently. Honestly, I'm 50/50 on it. I usually search through the omnibox so spaces are nice. On the other hand, when entering a url most websites are just concatenated words so in that case I want it to not add spaces.

          • ltredbeard

            I think id rather have the spacing, but I'm glad we got to the bottom of it.

  • ASTC

    So they're moving the New Tab Page from desktop Chrome to Android Chome.


    If it works like desktop Chrome, then that search box in the middle of the screen will be completely useless.

    • Ygor Vaz

      Some people just don't know or aren't used to make searchs through the omnibox. With this, people will eventually think "When I start typing it automatically goes to the adress box, so maybe I can make searches in there at any time". It's google's way to make people learn by themselves.

      • Kaemo

        Everybody I know can search in the Omnibox. And even if someone doesn't know about it, why not make it function like a regular Google.com page, since they'll go there anyway and not redirect what you're typing to the Omnibox?

        If people learn about the Omnibox, then the Search box becomes useless once again. It's a poor design choice that won't fix anything.

        • Kie

          Couldn't agree more

    • The_Chlero

      yeah, its annoying how you click in the middle search box just to realize that you are actually writing in the omnibox.

      for some strange reason I've never liked to search from the omnibox, and this will not change my mind

    • Mungo

      Not only is it useless, it also takes up most of the space on the screen, leaving less space for more useful stuff :/

      • Jobsy

        True that. Google are truly OCD with things lately.
        Wanting to make the desktop look like the phone and then vice versa.
        Like that red bar that appears on YT when the page loads.
        It's pointless. It's only to say "oh look at us, aren't we cute, that bar that shows loading on the device now shows on your desktop too.."
        Fucken nerds and their too much time on their hands to code stupid crap.

    • bL4Ck

      even with the desktop "app" launcher that newtab page is useless if i can search directly from the address bar.

    • Simon Belmont

      Not a fan of that new tab page in the new desktop Chrome either. All it does it just refocus you to the regular Omnibar if you click the Google search bar in the middle of the tab page (waste of space).

      My biggest beef is the shortcuts to most frequent websites got shrunk. Also they removed the cool dynamic coloring based on the favicon.

  • jjrudey

    I hope there's a flag to turn it off. I really don't like it.

    • Sootie

      Same it annoys the crap out of me on PC, not being able to see all of your recent webpages so annoying I think it was the marketing department that wanted the home screen that most users see to have google on it.

      That said I'm with one of the other posters on here I have never actually gone to http://www.google.com on my phone (or chrome on pc for that matter)

      • FILENOX

        On your desktop; just go to this 'url' and disable it:

  • Rob Johnson

    "Chrome 31 will eventually make its way to the stable app."

    Any chance there's a super stable build? I use the "stable" ones and it crashes more than I'd expect a beta to!

    • Mayoo

      Stop whining and go back to Netscape Navigator then.


    • thartist

      Wipe Chrome's data in theApps manager and start over, it may fix it.

  • Craig Nelson

    why wont this update show up for me?

    • miri

      "Chrome 31 Beta is supposed to hit the Play Store at some point today, but no sign of it yet. We'll let you know if we spot it."

      Last sentence.

  • NoPovertyPimps

    Chrome for Android 31 brings a new settings option for device credentials to enable enhanced playback of DRM protected content. Not sure I like where this is going. Settings > Content Settings - 

    • NoPovertyPimps

      ..last comment ate my screenshot

      • blahmoomoo

        There's even a grammar error in that message. I'm guessing nobody uses it yet, but sounds like there might be DRM locked .webm stuff coming. Of course, Netflix does this already with Silverlight on desktop and almost definitely in-app on Android, so...

        • NoPovertyPimps

          ...you mean protect video is not a new standard?

          • blahmoomoo

            If "protect video" is supposed to be a standard, you'd think it would be capitalized. I'd assume they meant to say "protected video"

          • NoPovertyPimps

            ...hahaha. It certainly isn't a standard, I was just joking. DRM is fast becoming part of the HTML standard; unfortunately a token to signal sarcasm on the web evades us to this day.

  • whispy_snippet

    The new tab page isn't showing for me on my 2013 Nexus 7. I still get my bookmarks like I always have.

    • miri

      "Some Beta users on Android will also begin to see variations on their New Tab page, like the one below..."
      From the source

      • whispy_snippet

        Yeah I read up on it and discovered what you've just highlighted. Thanks.

  • cy_n_ic

    Redundant search bar is redundant

  • Thomas’

    I'm at a point now where Chrome (Beta) is more responsive on my Nexus 4 than on my MBP 2011... This is either a bad sign for the MBP or a good one for the Nexus 4. Or both.

  • JD

    I am truly amazed at the many rave reviews I am finding of Chrome 31 from so-called "techies", All one has to do is check out Google's own map forums to see the disatisfaction expressed by website owners and developers. Among other issues, Googles own iframe-embedded maps, which are present on so many many websites out there no longer render in the "new" Chrome. Many business owners have invested much time into these maps that are part of their websites, as well as website-client developers and they had absolutely no warning from Google about this and still have not recieved any notice regarding whether or not this is a glitch that is to be corrected.

    Much phony to-do about the new Chrome out there. But one knows a company like Google has achieved complete arrogance when they force a dysfunctional upgrade upon people. Or maybe Google maps rendering in all other browsers except for Googles own browsers is just plain stupidity. The new Chrome is toilet paper.

  • john

    Dolphin Browser is where its at.