As Android L draws ever nearer, Google has promised that its apps would be updated to take advantage of the new design language. Today's Chrome Beta update comes with a Material Design interface, an updated icon, and the usual plethora of fixes and tweaks. But, you know Material Design!
Here's the changelog Google posted on the Chrome blog, plus a few more bits of note. We'll add anything else we come across, though.
Update Wednesday continues with yet another new apk. This time we're being treated to a regular version bump for Chrome Beta. The changelog isn't as dramatic as we've seen in previous updates to the browser, but it's hard to turn down improvements and bug fixes. The focus seems to be a little more on fine-tuning the experience as we should see smarter suggestions for text entry and improved text rendering on non-mobile optimized web sites. As a friendly bonus, Google's eclectic Doodles are coming back to the new tab page.
The update is still pretty fresh, so it might be a couple of hours until it's available to everybody.
Time keeps marching forward, and Google keeps improving the mobile version of its Chrome browser. Those who want to see the new goodies before everyone else can check out the official Chrome for Android Beta, which updates to version 35 today. The official changelog mentions some interesting additions, including at least one that was there already: support for Chromecast on HTML5 videos.
Videos on your device have gotten better too, with better HTML5 controls and subtitle support (for those clips that include them). Users of recent Samsung phones and tablets will be happy to know that Sammy's unique multi-window mode is now supported by Chrome Beta, which will probably do away with the need for various root tools.
Google sometimes gives us a hint of what it's working on if you're willing to dig for it. Buried in the new Chrome Beta for Android update is something called contextual search. It's not completely functional right now, but you can take a peek at some aspects of it.
To enable contextual search in Chrome Beta, go to chrome://flags/#contextual-searchin the address bar. Tap enable to activate this feature, then restart the browser using the button that pops up. Once this is done, you'll be able to tap any word on a page to get an interesting little search UI at the bottom of the page.
Google has been buffing up the capabilities of the Chromecast as of late by opening up app access with the SDK, and it looks like even first-party apps are getting in on the action. The latest release of the beta version of Chrome for Android adds in Chromecast capability for YouTube videos. Theoretically, it should work for any standard HTML5 video as well. Now you don't need a laptop to cast web videos to your television.
In order to enable the new functionality, you'll have to do a little digging. Open Chrome Beta and type "chrome://flags/#enable-cast" in the URL bar.
An update to Chrome beta a few weeks ago came with the bizarre side effect that hotword detection no longer worked in the Google search app or in the Google Now Launcher (GNL). The next version of Chrome beta didn't do anything to fix it, either. Well, Google Search to the rescue – yesterday's big search update seems to have fixed hotword detection.
Two new features are coming to Chrome for Android today, but they'll be old news if you have been running the beta of Chrome on your device. Bandwidth management and homescreen web shortcuts are both graduating from beta status, and will be showing up in the new version of stable Chrome.
Did you know that the web browser on your phone or tablet waits three tenths of a second after you tap something to actually perform that action? You did if you're a web developer - it's a de-facto standard for mobile browsers, a built-in delay for the double-tap zoom function. But if you're on the newest Chrome beta, you won't see the delay, at least on mobile sites.
Why is this? According to Jake Archibald of HTML5 Rocks (a promotional and instructional project page from Google), it's because this delay is unnecessary if you're browsing on a page that's already optimized for mobile viewing.
Since the dawn of Chrome Beta for Android, Google blocked it from the Play Store's search results for some reason. For those who use the browser as their default, this was a huge pain in the ass, as it meant searching Google to find a direct link to the browser when installing it on a new device. Sure, that may sound minor, but not being able to find your favorite browser from the device's Play Store search results is just annoying. You couldn't even find it directly from Google's developer page.
As of today, however, Google has finally made it searchable in the Play Store.
If you're running the Chrome Beta on your Android device, prepare for an update. Chrome v32 is rolling out to the Play Store, and it includes a few improvements and fixes. Being a beta, there are also some known issues to be aware of.