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.
Earlier today, a post on the Chrome Releases blog announced Chrome 31 is moving from beta to the stable. The update is coming in with a number of exciting features, including: printing from Chrome on devices with KitKat, support for requestAutocomplete to auto-fill payment details with online stores, 'Add to home screen' for web apps, and more.
If you've been following along with the beta channel, you're probably already familiar with a few of these changes.
If you're a Chrome Beta user who was getting bored with their weekend web browsing, we've got a tip for you - Chrome Beta for Android has an experimental "Accessibility Tab Switcher" flag that'll allow you to switch tabs in a compact, pleasing interface, also enabling you to bring back closed tabs with a handy "undo" button. That should take a little pressure out of your tab management experience.
To turn the Accessibility Tab Switcher on, just open up Chrome Beta and head to chrome://flags.
PushBullet has made a name for itself by making it painless to move files from your computer onto your phone. Now the app is taking a bold step towards making it just as easy to move data in the opposite direction. The latest update to version 11.3 introduces push-to-Chrome, a promised feature that should make it possible to get links, notes, pictures, and other content onto any computer running Chrome. The update also introduces the ability to push lists for the first time, and when you create a new push using the app, you can now select what you want to push directly.
A few weeks back we pointed out a neat little trick in the Chrome Beta for Android. By toggling the NTP flag, you could get a spiffy new tab page with a search box and scrollable list of recent sites. The last update to the app seems to have killed it, but now we know why – Chrome 31 will make that UI the default in Android.
Starting with the upcoming version 31, Chrome for Android Beta will support adding web apps to the home screen via an option in the overflow menu. These apps will still run in a sandboxed Chrome environment, but they will also be integrated with the operating system in a few interesting ways.
Adding a supported web app to the homescreen will place a custom icon on the device, but this is more than a bookmark shortcut.
A beta release is, by definition, and unfinished product. They're not always perfect - that's kind of the point. So it is with the latest beta version of Chrome for Android: many users are reporting that the latest build available on the Play Store is unexpectedly and repeatedly causing their devices to reboot. Users on the official Chrome blog and the Chromium code hub are citing the problem on the Nexus 7 and Nexus 4.
The cool thing about rocking the beta version of a product is getting to experience all the shiny new things before anyone else, and the new tab page currently in the works for the Android version of Google Chrome is the kind of alluring update that makes doing so oh-so-tempting. It reduces the amount of clutter at the top of the screen, places search front and center, lists most visited websites in a single scrollable row, and provides prominent buttons for accessing bookmarks and synced devices at the bottom of the page.
If you're in the habit of using the fancy-pants Chrome Beta to get access to the newest features for your browser of choice, try this handy zoom gesture out. On any desktop page, double-tap anywhere, and on the second tap keep your finger on the screen. Then slide your finger up and down for a quick and easy zoom. It works the same way that the "pinch to zoom" function does, but with a single finger.
The Chromecast has identity issues. It may be based on Android, but it updates like Chrome. The device ships on the stable channel, but it's possible to switch it beta and dev channels. These options are progressively bleeding edge, but this comes at the obvious sacrifice of stability, and there's a strong risk of bricking your device. Granted, it's only $35, far cheaper than breaking a smartphone or tablet.