Chrome is installed by default on all Android devices that come from Google's partners as well as all Chromebook computers. That probably accounts to a lot of devices, without taking into consideration all the Chrome browsers that users choose to install on their PCs and Macs. So it's not hard to see how the browser could now be running on billions of phones and desktops and actively used on most of them.
Rahul Roy-Chowdhury, Chrome's VP Product Management at Google, tweeted today an interesting figure: there are 2 billion active Chrome browsers across mobile and desktop. Rahul doesn't explain what exactly constitutes an "active browser," and over which period of time it had to be used to count, but it's an important stat nonetheless. Read More
When an app reaches 1 billion installs on the Play Store, it's like being officially recognized as one of the cool kids. Chrome for Android is the latest to join the clique, sliding through the door just a week behind Hangouts, making it the 12th app to flash a 10-digit install base.
While induction into this elite group hasn't been quite as impressive since membership hit the double digits, Chrome is among the first of Google's apps that doesn't owe all of its success to pre-installs. The first beta release of Chrome came in early 2012 and only supported Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Read More
Sometimes words cannot express how websites make you feel. The quickest way to get your emotions across is to simply share the look on your face. This is easy enough in person, and Google is making the online process similarly simple.
This feature is an April Fools treat, so it only seems to be live for people who have their devices set to April 1st. One such person shared this screenshot of Google prompting them as they were browsing Maps.
According to the Google Operating System blog, users can select "Share a reaction" from the Chrome menu. The browser will then take a screenshot of the webpage and activate your device's front-facing camera. Read More
Tucked away in the settings area of mobile Chrome, there's an option to reduce how much data you use by having Google compress websites before loading them. The feature, known as Data Saver, made its way over to the desktop version of the browser sometime this week.
To clarify precisely which setting we're talking about here, open up Chrome settings on Android and scroll to the bottom. Read More
Chrome may be one of the most popular web browsers out there, but its new tab page still manages to look like an unfinished product much of time. That's because the browser takes screenshots of your most visited webpages and lists them in a 4 x 2 grid, only sometimes it doesn't have a screenshot to work with. In those cases, it leaves the square blank.
The Chromium team is currently working on a way to pretty things up. It has an experimental new tab page in the works that replaces these largely blank squares with high-quality icons. Here we see the feature on desktop, but presumably it will take effect on Android as well. Read More
Update Wednesday wasn't particularly active this week, but Google did push a few bug fixers out before the day was done. While most of the apps only saw minor version revs with little more than minor tweaks, Chrome Beta 41 came down the pipe with some noteworthy improvements like pull-to-refresh and an option to block only 3rd-party cookies. However, it turns out that those weren't the only new bits to be found in this release.
Kid Accounts, Again
A couple of months ago, Google Play Services 6.5 landed with a handful of new bits and pieces, including the first signs of a feature referred to as Kid Accounts. Read More
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. Read More
There's an update to Chrome Beta (v39) rolling out in the Play Store, and it brings at least one notable feature—Reader Mode. You can probably guess what it is from the name. It strips out all the superfluous stuff on a page, leaving you with just the content. If you want it without waiting, we've got a download for you.
The Chrome developers have released a new version of their browser that may not have a particularly exciting changelog, but it does lead to a better browsing experience. Version 36 should make text on those websites that don't have a mobile alternative render somewhat better. This, combined with non-specified performance improvements and bug fixes, should result in more enjoyable browser use.
Text rendering on a non-mobile website using a previous version of Chrome.
Update: And here's an "after" shot. Have fun noticing a difference.
These niceties are joined by some security fixes as well as a desktop Chrome update that shares the same version number despite its different changelog. Read More
Google does its part to celebrate the major US holidays, not to mention quite a few others, but April Fools' Day appears to be its favorite. The company goes all out every year, and it's already looking like 2014 may just be its very best effort yet. In addition to scattering Pokemon all over Maps, Google is now dispersing emoji all throughout Chrome.
The feature is optional, but once enabled, Chrome will replace certain words with emoji. Take, for example, the phrase "Google Play Gift Cards." Instead of just showing the text, Chrome will display the word "Google," a picture of a game controller for "Play," a present for "Gift," and a credit card for "Card." Once the initial shock and confusion wears off, it's kind of cute. Read More