Read it later apps are massively popular, with examples such as Instapaper or Pocket being among the most downloaded apps on Google Play. Google is also getting into the game now, albeit in a different way, with the Chrome team adding a read it later feature to the development versions of the browser.
As alluded to, both Chrome Dev and Chrome Beta have this, but in slightly different guises. In Chrome Beta, version 53.0.2785.97, the feature needs to be turned on in chrome://flags with #enable-read-it-later-in-menu, with an option then appearing in both app-specific and 'system-level' Custom Tabs that says 'Keep tab in Chrome.' In Chrome Dev version 54.0.2840.6, although the flag is still there, it is enabled by default and has been renamed to 'Read it later in Chrome.'
The feature in Chrome Dev (left and middle) and Chrome Beta (right). Read More
If you own a Nexus device and have updated to Android Nougat, and you use Chrome Beta or Chrome Dev, you may have noticed something. Alright, maybe you didn't notice it because you don't have the eagle eye of Artem. Regardless, the issue is there and it's not a matter of #ArtemsLuck: I was able to replicate it on my Nexus 5X too.
Both Chrome Beta and Chrome Dev do not appear under My Apps in the Play Store on devices running Nougat. Even when they're installed on your device, you won't see them in the Installed list, which means that they won't detect updates and download and install them automatically when all of your apps do. Read More
There are some neat things coming to Chrome in the future, and if you'd like to test them out before everyone else, you're probably already using either the Beta or the Dev version of the Android app. Keep an eye on the former: it's getting some of said features right now. The most interesting addition in version 53 is a new API for quickly checking out on mobile online purchases. It's sort of like the streamlined payment options already offered by PayPal and Visa, but it works with any payment system and it's built into the browser. Check it out in the video below: Read More
I always felt like one of the big downers to web browsing on mobile was typing in passwords. Of course, the built-in password management for Chrome (and other mobile browsers) can sometimes take care of things for you. But I'm sure if you do a lot of signing in, you know there are some sites whose login system just doesn't work with the browser's password manager. With Chrome v51, now in beta, Google is taking some steps to help smooth things out.
W3C, the web standards group, has created an API to help homogenize the relevant aspects of signing into websites. Read More
The march of Chrome updates never ends, and now is the time for the beta build to advance. Google is rolling out Chrome Beta v51 on Android. Since we've already seen v51 in the dev channel, we know what to look for—and yep, the merged tabs/apps option is indeed gone. So, that wasn't a fluke.
Google has now backed down on the merged apps and tabs option that was introduced in Lollipop. It was first made non-default, then it was pulled in Chrome Dev a few weeks ago. Read More
When you come across a QR code, the experience isn't exactly seamless. You tap your barcode scanner, aim at the funny looking blocks, then watch a link open up in your browser. Then you're either looking at a website or downloading an app. Read More
Chrome Beta seems to be that sweet spot between reliability and new features - not quite as bleeding edge as the Dev build, but still packed with new stuff earlier than the Stable build. It's generally my personal favorite browser to use as primary, because checking out the new stuff once it's basically no longer buggy is always fun.
Beta 46 was announced for Android yesterday, and it brings a slew of under-the-hood improvements. Even more than that, it brings a ton of features for developers that I'm not even going to pretend to fully understand; if you're the type who likes to dig into code, however, you may want to check out the Chromium blog for more info. Read More
Want to see something new in Chrome for Android? Aside from essentially unlimited websites, of course. If so, and if you're using Android 5.0, 5.1, or the 6.0 preview, then download either the Beta or Dev version of the browser. Then go into the Settings menu and disable "merge tabs and apps." Now, go back to the main browser window, open the hamburger menu, and tap "new tab." Wey-hey, you've got a new interface to check out.
Left: new tab in Chrome. Right: new tab in Chrome Beta/Dev after disabling merged tabs.
The new standard swaps out the frequently-visited website thumbnails you're probably familiar with for icons, which are simply letters with some fancy background formatting. Read More
The latest release of Chrome Beta doesn't include many big, user-facing changes, but is instead mostly filled with incremental improvements to long-term development goals. The one goodie for end users that you may notice in normal use is the newly-added ability for websites to give you an Android notification with play and pause buttons to control audio.
For websites using up-to-date APIs, audio and video that is over 5 seconds long will result in a notification being displayed for easier control. I think of this somewhat similarly to the desktop version's indicator for noisy tabs. Read More
Fix for multi-column layouts
From a user-facing standpoint, the only directly relatable change came to multi-column layouts in Chrome. Read More