At this year's Google I/O, the search giant got to announce that 300 million people were using Chrome on a mobile device. Less than half a year later, that number has grown to 400 million. Googler Darin Fisher made the announcement at this year's Chrome Dev Summit held just before the weekend.
During the talk, Fisher touched on a number of topics, some of which we're already aware of. In Android Lollipop, WebView is unbundled from Android, allowing for easier updates and better security (along with generally making life easier for developers). Over the course of this year, Google has also removed the artificial 300ms delay that followed taps in Chrome while the browser waited to see if a second tap was on its way.
After seeing the update to Chrome's beta channel recently, it was inevitable the same build, slightly improved, would reach the stable version. So here we are, Chrome for Android v39. It's not a huge update, but not like you're going to skip it or anything.
The recent app list in Android 5.0 is much more vibrant than it was in KitKat with support for colored header bars, but not all apps are taking advantage of that. As of Chrome v39 (current beta release), developers can add an HTML tag to their site that does the same for Chrome tabs. It's not only the multitasking header—the tag also affects the status bar in Chrome. It's kind of crazy.
The process is super-simple. All you need to do is add a tag to your page's <head> with name="theme-color" set to any CSS color you like. For example, to set the header color to a nice relaxing indigo (as above on AP), you'd do <meta name="theme-color" content="#3F51B5">.
We've been seeing bits and pieces (and fully functional prototypes) of Google Stars for a long time now. The tool, which for now acts as a replacement for Chrome's bookmark manager, has been in development even longer, but it looks like the Chrome extension might finally be ready to roll (assuming it doesn't get pulled again) as Google released "Bookmark Manager" to the Chrome Web Store earlier today.
Despite the new name, the extension takes over chrome://bookmarks just as before, with options to organize bookmarks into folders, give those folders descriptions, and even share folders with others. Of course the interface for adding a bookmark is also updated.
People are still waiting to get their hands on invites to use Inbox by Gmail, but as those trickle in, Google's pushing out more ways to access to service. We've already provided a hands-on look at the Android app. Users can also interact with their spiffy new inbox in a web browser by heading to inbox.google.com.
For people who prefer a handy shortcut, or for Chromebook users who want something that kind of feels like a dedicated email client, Google has released an Inbox by Gmail app into the Chrome Web Store.
The web app serves as a glorified bookmark, but once opened in its own dedicated window, it could pass for something more.
Update: As commenters have pointed out, the undo close tab option has been available before now - it's just the look that has changed. I've updated the screenshots to reflect this.
The beta edition of Chrome for Android is getting a small update before the changes go into the primary release. The biggest new addition in version 39.0.2171.37 is an "undo closed tab" option. When you swipe away a tab on the "all tabs" page, a contextual menu will appear at the bottom allowing you to instantly bring it back. This is standard behavior for desktop browsers - on Chrome for Windows, the Ctrl-Shift-T command does the same thing.
Google's two-factor authentication system is a great way to keep your email and other accounts safe, especially if you've always got a smartphone (or even a dumb phone) around. Today Google is adding even more options beyond the current phone call, text message, email, and app-based verification. The latest update to the desktop version of Chrome lets you use a USB key as your two-factor security token, ensuring access via both your physical presence and your login password.
Don't pull out your ancient jump drives just yet: you can't add this functionality to just any USB drive. The system only works with USB tokens certified for use with the FIDO U2F Security System, which currently includes just two products on Amazon (though you might be able to find a few more elsewhere).
We've known Google was looking to bring Chrome into the app switcher since we learned some details of "Project Hera" earlier this year (and confirmed at I/O). The framework for making that happen appeared in Chrome beta in September, but now it finally works in the new developer preview.
When you open Chrome Beta on Android 5.0, you will get the above splash screen telling you where to find all your tabs. They will be treated as separate tasks in the card stack, which you can float between as if they were apps. This also removes the tab button from Chrome.
Recently, we took a look at Ultra Violet, a new Hangouts app for Chrome that - at the time - was still in testing. It promised floating chats similar to Facebook's Chatheads feature, but for your desktop. Today, that app is finally a reality and available for download.
The premise is simple - as the video below demonstrates, a Hangouts bubble floats on the side of your desktop, opened from Google's Chrome app launcher, and subsequent conversations float above that. Users can click and hold to drag the bubble around and manage/participate in chats just like on the web.
New messages automatically preview in a word bubble next to their respective chat, and users can hover over each chat to see the last correspondence.
The stable version of Chrome for Android has reached version 38, which came to the beta channel last month. Google hasn't posted a changelog just yet, but we can surmise what's going on from the last update of the beta. Update: Changelog below. This isn't going to be a radical departure for the app, but it might fix a bug or two that's been gnawing at you.