If you switch over to the beta, dev, or canary channels of Google Chrome, you’re bound to stumble upon some features in testing. In its latest dev channel update, Chrome for Android is testing new omnibox features with buttons for copying the URL and sharing, as well as making some search-friendly changes.

Chrome’s omnibox is a powerful tool. It, of course, acts as the typical URL bar for typing in a new address, but it can also display live information and doubles as a Google search bar. Buried in the flags in both Chrome 73 dev and the latest Canary channel update, Google has been testing out an updated interface for the omnibox on Chrome for Android.

With this update, first spotted by Android Police, Google is making it a bit easier to see the functionality that the omnibox has. That starts with search. With this change, the omnibox no longer shows the URL by default, rather leaving the text field empty and ready for either a new URL or a search term. For inexperienced users, this is definitely a welcome change as it’s a bit clearer what can be done in this field.

Further, new options have been added to the omnibox regarding the page you’re currently on. When you tap into the omnibox, the page you’re on is the first result and allows you to edit the URL, copy it, or share it with the simple tap of a button. That’s a lot quicker, and arguably more intuitive, than accessing the overflow menu.

Currently, it seems a bit hit or miss on when the copy button appears, but presumably, that bug will be ironed out by the time this functionality hits stable.

You can access these new omnibox features within the latest Chrome Dev or Chrome Canary updates on Android. To enable it, you’ll need to flip on the following flag: chrome://flags/#enable-search-ready-omnibox.

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Ben Schoon

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