Since Chrome for Android launched in 2012, the core experience of using the browser has fundamentally stayed the same. Google this fall is rolling out the biggest set of usability changes to date that make Chrome more powerful on mobile.
Chrome tab grid layout
Chrome has been visually redesigned over the years, with the Google Material Theme coming last September. However, navigation within the browser has remained just a top bar with address field, tab button, and overflow menu. The tab switcher consists of vertically-arranged cards that overlap in an interface reminiscent of Android’s old multitasking menu.
This fall, Chrome for Android is switching to a grid layout where open tabs are represented by small rectangular cards. The top-right corner of each features a close button, but a swipe will perform the same action. As a result of this layout, Incognito pages are no longer shown next to the list of regular tabs. Instead, there’s a simple switcher up top to access another grid view.
There are two tabs to a row and about six fit your screen. Users are getting a reduced thumbnail and page name, but an overall better preview.
Chrome tab grouping
This revamped arrangement coincides with a new tab grouping feature that allows you to personally organize related sites. From the grid, you can drag and drop one tab on top of another to create a group. It’s ideal if you’re planning a trip or want to separate personal and work sites.
Within a tab group, there’s a new bottom bar switcher where each page is represented by a favicon. Tapping the left chevron opens a mini grid layout for that space while a New Tab button is at the very right.
Since Chrome 77 launched earlier this month, “Send a tab” has been rolled out to more users, with Google making the device-to-device sharing functionality official today. Meanwhile, answers to queries about sports, weather, and translations will now directly appear in Chrome’s Omnibox. This saves users from having to conduct a full search.
Chrome for Android’s new tab grid layout and tab grouping are officially rolling out over the next few weeks.
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