Google likes to tinker with the UI of the mobile version of Chrome's user interface in the Dev and Beta versions of the app. Not every change we spot in these versions makes it into the standard, stable version of Chrome, but the changes to the New Tab page that we saw back in August seem to have made their way to the front. We're getting tips and reports from dozens of Chrome users that the UI change, which swaps out six website thumbnails for eight site icons instead, is now live. Read More
A debate has waged since Chrome OS started appearing on Chromebooks. It can be summed up as: This is nice Google, but why don't you combine it with Android? Well, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal, it looks like Google is getting ready to do just that.
Chrome OS will fold into Android. Android will better adapt to PCs. By 2017, the two will form a single, new operating system with access to the Play Store. Google reportedly plans to show off an early version sometime next year. Read More
Browsers are a core part of the mobile phone experience, but I don't find them particularly exciting. I do with my browser largely what I did ten years ago: open it up, go to a URL, and scroll through the page that appears. I don't really use bookmarks or search predictions, though combining the search and location bars together was pretty nice. Custom search engines are fun too.
I say this to convey my general apathy towards covering the updates that come to web browsers. But the latest beta version of Chrome comes with changes that even folks like me will have a hard time ignoring—things we've already highlighted before when they appeared in Chrome Dev, such as a snackbar that now appears at the bottom of the screen when you complete a download. Read More
The thing about Marshmallow is that it added a lot of granular control over your apps, but it did so in such a confusing and redundant way that it kind of made things worse in my opinon. Apps now have their individual properties page where you can control their notifications (despite that being also available in Sound & notification), permissions (despite that being accessible in one list under Settings -> Apps -> cog icon -> App permissions), and defaults and supported links (despite that also being accessible in that same cog setting). It's this last part that we'll talk a little bit about today, but brace yourself, this will be baffling, inconsistent, and unnecessarily convoluted. Read More
Here's a Read More
cool addition to the latest version of Chrome Dev for Android cool feature of Chrome that can be enabled via a special flag (which Google started turning on for some recently): when you tap on a text field that the browser has saved before in auto-fill, the entry or entries will appear in Android's keyboard auto-complete field instead of the browser itself.
Perhaps you recall a feature spotlight from some weeks ago that explained Google's new universal translation option, which was enabled by the Google Translate v4.3 update. This works with the aid of the new text selection actions included in Android 6.0. The latest Chrome Dev version in the Play Store has now added support for instant translation via the new text selection UI, but again, only on Marshmallow. Read More
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.