Sometimes the smallest changes can make for the best improvements. The latest update to Chrome Dev for Android scored some points with us earlier for expanding theme color support for users that don't care for merging their tabs with apps, but that wasn't the only cool enhancement that came along. Users can now look forward to seeing a snackbar open up each time a download completes. The handy widget shows both the name of the downloaded file and a button to open it.
Left: The new snackbar in action. Right: Snackbar on Dev Preview 3 missing the open button.
In earlier versions of Chrome, all download operations appeared only as an animated notification. Read More
In version 39, Chrome for Android learned an awesome trick: using a simple HTML tag, any webpage could tell Chrome to theme its UI (and your device's status bar) with a specified color. The downside to this feature was that it only worked if tabs and apps were "merged," meaning your Chrome tabs would show up inline with your recent apps, rather than relying on Chrome's own in-app tab switcher.
Today, a Chrome for Android developer at Google let Reddit know that the theme-color attribute will soon make Chrome snazzy even if you don't have tabs and apps merged. Right now the flag (chrome://flags/#enable-theme-color-in-tabbed-mode) will only work in Chrome Dev 47.0.2516.0 (available from the Play Store or APK Mirror), and support isn't complete yet - the flag won't allow Chrome to theme your status bar and swiping across the toolbar to switch tabs is a little glitchy, for instance. Read More
If you're running Chrome Beta or Dev editions, then today's changes probably seem like old hat to you. But for everyone else, the stable version of Chrome 45 is a pretty big deal, because it brings Custom Tabs to essentially everyone who's running Android today (on a modern handset, anyway).
For those who may not remember, Google first announced Custom Tabs at I/O back in May. Essentially, these are pop-out WebView tabs that apps can utilize without actually leaving the foreground, basically launching Chrome within the app. Custom Tabs are designed to be fast, efficient, and completely customizable (so they still feel very much native to the app experience). Read More
A dedicated app typically provides a better experience than a mobile site, but there are still plenty of instances where we end up inside the Android version of Chrome. Heck, that's one of the major benefits of owning a smartphone—the entire web is accessible to you throughout most of the day.
Koush makes a lot of neat Android apps like Helium Backup and AllCast, but what's next? It's a thing called Vysor that will let you easily control your phone from Chrome. An early beta of the app is available in the Chrome web store, and it's already surprisingly solid for something that isn't even done yet. Read More
Want to see something new in Chrome for Android? Aside from essentially unlimited websites, of course. If so, and if you're using Android 5.0, 5.1, or the 6.0 preview, then download either the Beta or Dev version of the browser. Then go into the Settings menu and disable "merge tabs and apps." Now, go back to the main browser window, open the hamburger menu, and tap "new tab." Wey-hey, you've got a new interface to check out.
Left: new tab in Chrome. Right: new tab in Chrome Beta/Dev after disabling merged tabs.
The new standard swaps out the frequently-visited website thumbnails you're probably familiar with for icons, which are simply letters with some fancy background formatting. Read More
Buried in the flags of the latest release of Chrome Dev, v46, is a toggle that allows you to tweak the progress bar animation that you see when loading webpages. The default setting is equivalent to "disabled," but you can try it out and see how it looks.
There are now 4 different options: disabled (which is default), linear, smooth, and fast start. Disabled just leaves things the way they have been for a while. Fast start is like smoother but is set to work faster in the first portion of the page load and slower as it completes.
Smooth, as you might expect, is basically the default animation but at a higher framerate that will look more appealing. Read More
The Android Chrome beta channel got v44 in early June, and now it's time for that version to filter down to the stable app. You should get the new version in the coming days via the Play Store, but we've also got the app on APK Mirror for the more impatient among you. Read More
The latest release of Chrome Beta doesn't include many big, user-facing changes, but is instead mostly filled with incremental improvements to long-term development goals. The one goodie for end users that you may notice in normal use is the newly-added ability for websites to give you an Android notification with play and pause buttons to control audio.
For websites using up-to-date APIs, audio and video that is over 5 seconds long will result in a notification being displayed for easier control. I think of this somewhat similarly to the desktop version's indicator for noisy tabs. Read More