On both mobile and desktop, downloading things from the internet is pretty obviously a big deal. Since it launched in 2008, Chrome has had a download manager, and now the Android version is following suit, with a Download menu appearing in the latest version of Chrome Dev, version 54.0.2840.6.
'Downloads' is in the overflow dropdown menu. It's basically exactly what it says it is: a manager for files downloaded through the browser. However, it seems like it's a bit broken at the moment, as some files don't show up in the UI while others do. I downloaded an MP3 file and it didn't appear despite being on my phone, while a picture did show. Read More
Google's been getting into the virtual reality game in a big way recently, and now it's Chrome's time to join the party: François Beaufort, a Chrome developer evangelist, has posted on his Google+ about a new WebVR flag that has appeared in the latest build of Chrome Dev on Android, version 53.0.2774.4, which allows for browsing the web using a compatible VR headset, such as Google Cardboard or Daydream.
Providing you've got Chrome Dev downloaded on your device, turning the flag on is as simple as going to chrome://flags/#enable-webvr-shell and selecting 'Enable' in the dropdown. From there, certain bits of the web will be viewable in virtual reality, using a headset. Read More
Want to spice up your tab view? There's a flag for that... if you're using Chrome Developer Channel v53 on Android. The newest Chrome Dev for Android adds a new flag for just that: #tab-switcher-theme-colors. When enabled, this flag will color your open tabs in the tab manager interface in Chrome, just as they're colored when viewing a single page. The tab theme-color attribute was finally added to all versions of Chrome regardless of your usage of merged tabs back in January earlier this year. I have to admit, it does look pretty sweet to see your tab colors in the tab manager UI. Read More
Google has nearly completed the process of removing the merged apps/tabs option from Chrome after the option was pulled from the recent beta build. But what comes next? The Chromium bug tracker hinted at a new feature called Herb in Chrome v52, and indeed, there are several flavors of Herb in the new dev update. Read More
We already know at least one improvement with the latest Chrome Dev build (v51): the complete removal of the 'Merge Tabs and Apps' option. Well, here's the second improvement: a brand new widget. Or rather, a revamped version of an older widget.
The bookmarks widget, formerly with big, largely useless thumbnails, has been re-designed to use a list item style instead of a grid, and material design navigation. The result is a much cleaner-looking widget, with better, easier to understand navigation to boot. It has shown me how disorganised my bookmarks are, though.
Of course, the widget won't make your bookmarks any more organised - we can only hope that feature will come to Google Now in the future - but maybe it will encourage you to organise them into folders and such. Read More
Google made a lot of changes to the Android UI in Lollipop, many of them successful. Chrome merged tabs was not one of those features. After first making the old style tab management the default again several weeks back, the latest Chrome Dev build removes the merged tabs option entirely. Read More
There's a particularly neat feature lurking in the flags in the latest version of Chrome Dev. If you toggle "enable-ntp-snippets" you'll get a handy list of content from around the web on the new tab page, complete with text snippet previews. Read More
Those of you who use Chrome on your desktops are probably aware that rather than doing a clean sweep of your browsing history, you can choose to only erase an hour, a day, or a few other increments of time into the past. While I won't speculate too much about why a person may find themselves needing to do these things, it's an option that is better to have than not. The simplified functionality of mobile Chrome had to this point lacked these options.
The current version of Chrome Dev (v50) for Android, however, has brought it on board. Here's a before and after, of sorts, comparing the Chrome/Chrome Beta interface with the new and improved one on Dev. Read More
Google's Chrome development team regularly implements new APIs to extend the possibilities for web apps to behave more like their native counterparts. The most recent addition to the Chrome dev channel allows web developers to use Bluetooth to communicate with nearby hardware. This could be used for things like an online fitness tracker that gets data from a heart rate monitor or for a controller to drive a Sphero, all without installing a native app.
These things are possible with the new Web Bluetooth API. Still in the early stages of development, this allows a web application to query for Bluetooth devices based on their capabilities, then pass messages back and forth with little or no friction. Read More
The stable version 39 of Chrome introduced theme-color attribute support for website developers to give their pages unique and colorful looks when you're browsing them on your Android device. However, for the feature to work at the time, users had to have apps and tabs merged, so that each tab was treated as a separate app in the multitasking tray. Later on, the developer version 47 of Chrome added a workaround to enable theme-color support without merged tabs and apps. But only users who knew how to find flag chrome://flags/#enable-theme-color-in-tabbed-mode and activate it were able to enjoy a colorful address bar header in their browsers. Read More