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.
There are several new features and tweaks in Chrome OS 87 that are not yet part of the default Chrome OS experience. They are likely not stable enough to be enabled for everyone while they're still in development. Some of these experimental features are tucked behind a page where they can be manually switched on or off. You can find these switches, or "flags," by typing chrome://flags in Chrome’s URL bar and hitting enter. Here is a list of flags we recommend trying out.
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.
Google Chrome 78 has been rolling out to the stable channel over the last few days, and among improvements to local file management and automatic verification SMS pasting, we keep finding changes here and there. One of these is a redesigned context menu that flies towards you with a spiffy new animation when you long-press a link, image, or video. It has been available as a flag in one form or another for more than two years, but Chrome 78 seems to have activated it for most people.
Tab grouping is a feature many Chrome users are excited to get, especially since other browsers have been capable of similar for a while. The feature is still a while away from being released in the stable version of Chrome, but the latest update in the Canary channel includes colors for each group and automatically opening links from the same site in the same group. The Send to Self feature for sharing tabs with Chrome on another device now has a history page.
Google Chrome's Canary build offers "bleeding edge" features so they can be tested ahead of possible graduation to the more stable versions of the app. Recently, Google has been experimenting with the traditional top-positioned toolbar in response to ever taller Android handsets, first by moving the whole thing to the bottom (Chrome Home), and then by replacing that with a swiping up gesture to access the new tab page (Chrome Duplex).
The latest evolution of this test — controlled by the #enable-chrome-duplex flag in chrome://flags — introduces a brand new bottom toolbar that exactly mirrors the options at the top of the screen.