Not too long ago, Google started testing a new in-app browser for its Search app. It looks pretty reminiscent of the experience in the iOS app, with a similar loading animation when you open websites. The problem with this implementation is that in contrast to the Chrome custom tabs of old, the new browser is completely separate, meaning no shared history, bookmarks, or logins. Despite these disadvantages, Google seems to be willing to keep pushing its new in-app browser, as it has just gained its own Safe Browsing toggle and site settings options revolving around cookies and permissions.

Previously, the Google app browser settings would only allow you to clear your browsing data, including all saved cookies and any cached data. A new design of the settings site is currently surfacing for a few people that adds two more entries: The Safe Browsing feature you probably know from Chrome that filters out dangerous, potentially malware-ridden sites, and a site settings option. In it, you have access to the usual suspects like cookie management, automatic downloads, location, camera and microphone access, JavaScript, and so on.

Google is pretty much recreating Chrome inside the Search app, without the benefit of shared logins, cookies, and other browsing preferences.

Left: Previous browser settings. Middle & Right: The latest browser settings.

You can check if you've still got the old Chrome custom tab implementation by opening a website through the Google app and tapping the three-dot overflow menu in the top right corner. If it says "Powered by Chrome" at the bottom, your logins and browsing history should be synced across Chrome and the Search app.

If you're currently in on the in-app browser test and would prefer to keep using Chrome, you'll have to turn off the in-app browser in the Google app settings, accessible through the More bottom tab on the search results page. Let's hope that Google will scrap the custom browser, as the Chrome custom tab implementation just makes so much more sense.

Developer: Google LLC
Price: Free
  • Thanks:
  • Nick Cipriani