This story was originally published and last updated .
Google introduced Chrome custom tabs five years ago, and most apps use them these days. Instead of creating their own custom browsers, developers can just hand over websites to a Chrome tab without the added bulk of a regular browser interface. The advantage is that devs don't have to spend resources on creating their own webview implementations and that users can quickly open these custom tabs in proper Chrome without reloading or losing their scroll position. It's a great system. But Google wouldn't be Google if it stuck with a great system (looking at you, YouTube Music). The company began experimenting with a custom browser for its Google Search app around six weeks ago, and it's now rolling out to more people.
Like clockwork, the latest beta release of the Google app began rolling out just about the time the developers are headed out for the weekend. We've yet to see any live changes on this release, but there are some interesting additions to be found in a teardown. The floating sports tracker bubble appears to have some enhancements coming just in time for the Fall schedule, there are small additions to Collections and Google Assistant for Households, and a previously spotted General settings screen is growing larger
The idea behind Chromer, when it first launched, was that it would open all links you clicked on in a Chrome Custom Tab. At the time, not many apps had implemented Custom Tabs so Chromer avoided their built-in browsers, and it also saved your device from having to open the full Chrome browser while still giving you the benefits of its rendering, security, and saved passwords. Now with Custom Tabs being used by more and more apps, the benefit of Chromer is a little less clear. That's why the app has been overhauled, renamed from Chromer to Lynket, grown to version 2.0, and it's now more geared toward giving you the freedom to handle your links whichever way you want.
When Google+ 7.0 rolled around last week, the major change that everyone spotted was the auto-hiding bottom tab bar. However, upon inspecting the apk, our resident teardown master Cody noticed a couple of strings that alluded to the addition of Custom Tabs. The feature didn't appear to be live back then so he scratched it off at something that was still being implemented.