Drop down menus have been a part of graphical computer interfaces since the beginning, but they aren't particularly easy to interact with on touchscreens. Google is working on getting rid of them with a few measures on Android, such as moving the password autofill dropdown to a bar on top of Gboard. But it looks like the company also wants to further reduce the number of dropdowns you come across when you surf the web in Chrome.
Chrome makes syncing and sharing tabs between devices easy. Sending a link from your laptop to your phone only takes a couple of seconds if you're logged in, while QR codes allow for transferring sites with a snap of a photo. Although these various methods keep passing websites simple, they all clutter up your Omnibox any time you click on it. Google is testing a new sharing hub for Chrome that simplifies your browser, making it easier to hand off articles, projects, and more between devices.
There are several additional features and tweaks in Chrome OS 90 that are not yet part of the default experience. They are likely not stable enough for everyone while they're still in development. Google tucked some of these experimental features behind a page — and you can enable them right now. Activate these switches, or "flags," by typing chrome://flags in Chrome’s URL bar and hitting enter. Here is a list of low-risk flags we've tested that we recommend trying out.
Searching for websites you know you've saved or seen somewhere in Chrome can be a bit of a hassle despite the handy history overview, accessible via the overflow menu in the top right corner of the interface. When you search through it, it only gives you a chronological view of all the sites you've ever visited, without taking into account if a page is currently opened in a tab or saved as a bookmark. An upcoming feature is supposed to change that. It's called Memories and takes all these factors into account when you use it to search through your browsing history.
Google is slowly phasing out its older voice recognition technology in favor of the Assistant, and the latest Android app to benefit from the transition is Chrome — which is great news for multilingual users. A long-available flag has finally become functional, allowing you to retire the old voice search interface in favor of a snazzy Assistant look.
Google is already pouring tons of resources into helping us stay safe while we surf the web with measures like Safe Browsing for Chrome, and the company only recently introduced an enhanced version of this tool. It's widely available on desktops already, but it's only slowly rolling out on Android. If you want to get your hands on Enhanced Safe Browsing right away, there are two flags that will bring it to you.
Google has been working on a bottom bar interface for Chrome for what feels like forever and keeps changing the layout. Initially, the browser had its complete app bar moved to the bottom, while recent implementation left the bare address bar up top and put all buttons (new tab/tab switcher, home, share, overflow menu) in the new location. The latest iteration of the design, accessible on Chrome Beta and Dev, reduces the number of shortcuts on the bottom from five to three, and people aren't happy about it.
If you're playing music or a video in a Chrome tab you're not looking at and want to pause it, it's a bit of a hassle: you have to navigate to that tab, press the button, then drudge back to the previous tab. The whole process probably only takes a couple of seconds, but an upcoming change will make it easier. Chrome Canary now has a flag to enable "global media controls" in the toolbar.
After a short rollout delay, Chrome 79 is now widely available on desktop and mobile platforms. That means Chrome 80 has moved up to the beta channel, and while there are a few new features, there are far more removed features. Let's dive right in!
Google recently added a 'global media controls' flag to Chrome that lets you control foreground and background media right from the browser's toolbar. The feature has since arrived on the stable release of Chrome, though it still needs to be activated via chrome://flags/#global-media-controls before you can use it. To make it even handier, Google seems to be working on adding the ability to control cast content via these playback buttons.