Android users who like living on the edge of browsing tech are waking up today to a new icon in their app drawer with a peculiar name: Clankium. Fret not, this isn't malware or spyware, it's just Chrome Canary with a new look and name.
The icon has switched away from Chrome's signature circle and spiral look and now dons a yellow background with a turquoise dino hatching from a purple egg. Yes, it sounds as weird as it looks. The app's name in the drawer has also been changed to Clankium, same as the About menu inside Chrome. The App Info page still says Chrome Canary though.
Looking into the Chromium Gerrit and Bug Tracker, I can see references to "clank" and "clankium" going as far back as 2014, if not earlier. So the name should be familiar to anyone who's seen Chromium's code, but it's new to me.
It's not clear if the new name and icon will stick or if this is an internal test gone wrong. You'll find the changes in
Chrome Canary Clankium version 80.0.3973.0, which is rolling out on the Play Store and is also available on APK Mirror.
Probably a mistake
As previously mentioned, Clankium has been used internally at Google for a while, and it seems rebranding the public version was the result of a software bug. A new commit to the Chromium Gerrit reverses some earlier changes, and this very article is listed as the reason for the revert.
The purpose of the original code was to update where resources for Chrome's Android APKs were stored, which presumably caused a bug that allowed the public version of Canary to use Google's internal name and icon. Canary will probably return to its shiny gold icon in a day or two.
Back to normal
With the latest Chrome Canary version 80.0.3973.3 available on the Play Store (and APK Mirror), the browser has sadly reverted to its usual name and icon. If you liked the Clankium dino, you can still get it by sideloading the previous v80.0.3973.0 APK and disabling Play Store updates for Canary.
- Nick Cipriani,
- Chris Drysdale