In March we covered work the Chromium team has been up to that changes the way most visited websites appear on Chrome's new tab page. Instead of a grid of (largely blank) thumbnails, the browser can display large icons instead. At the time, users had to force the feature while running Chrome Canary. Now you just have to toggle "Enable large icons on the New Tab page" at chrome://flags/#enable-icon-ntp. Read More
One of the relatively hidden treasures of yesterday's I/O announcements and Android M preview release was Smart Lock Passwords, which takes credentials you've signed in with on Chrome or for Android apps and automatically signs you in on those platforms in the future. At launch, there are not many app partners, but developers need only use a now-public API to add support. Today, Lollipop users with relatively recent Google Play Services are finding the new feature enabled on their devices as well. Read More
At the Google I/O 2015 keynote address, Google is moving fluidly between broad Android improvements for the upcoming M preview build and more specific improvements for the company's apps and APIs. One of the first reveals was for a new Chrome feature, Chrome Custom Tabs. This is basically a more robust alternative to embedding a web view in an app, adding a minimal and customized window of Google Chrome on top of the active app. Read More
You might remember way back in August of 2014 there was a cool addition to Chrome for Android that places possible answers to your queries in the Omnibar suggestions. It's been active this whole time, but only if you toggle the flag. Now it appears to be live for everyone.
You don't even have to spell it right Read More
Google keeps patiently improving the ecosystem surrounding the Chromecast and its various software tie-ins. But the latest trick is casting not to a gadget or screen, but to a conversation. At least some users are now able to cast tabs to a video Hangouts session, allowing the recipient to watch the video (or whatever else you've got in that tab) without a cumbersome link. It doesn't seem to be live for everyone, but check out your Chromecast extension if you'd like to try it out.
The system seems to prefer an active conversation. It won't let you cast to a Hangouts conversation that only includes you, for example, and it won't go for a Hangout which someone has opened but not yet joined. Read More
In Part 1 of this teardown, we saw what may be the return of Android@Home, or at least something similar. There were also new pieces to Nearby, Google's unique technology for finding two devices (and people) in close proximity, and a possible (subtle) change to the way Smart Lock responds to wearable devices. In Part 2, we'll continue with the possible centralization of Chrome Sync to Play services, project Sidewinder, a mysterious appearance by Facebook, and more.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete evidence. It's possible that the guesses made here are totally and completely wrong. There is always a chance that details may change or plans may be cancelled prior to the launch of a new feature discovered in a teardown.
We've been following the development of Google's Hangouts Chrome app for quite some time. The project referred to as Ultraviolet in August later launched in October as a floating chatheads-style experience. It was okay, but at the beginning of this month we caught wind of a change in the works that completely redoes the experience. That change has now gone live.
The new interface looks quite a bit like the Android app. You have one panel with contacts, messages, and calls on the left, and the active conversation thread is visible to the right. A floating action button lets you open up a new conversation. Read More
The code behind Google's Chrome browser has always been open source—it's known as the Chromium project. The Android port has thus far been more locked down, but that changes today with a big commit from the development team. Chrome for Android is now almost entirely open source, and that could mean some cool new browsers are on the way. Read More