Chrome Custom Tabs are a widely adopted — with one notable exception — staple on Android that allows third-party apps to use the default Google browser when opening links. With Chrome 88 released earlier this week, Custom Tabs are gaining an experimental share button.

Third-party developers are able to customize Custom Tabs so they match the style of their app. One tweak allows them to add a button to the app bar, just left of the overflow menu. For example, Twitter has a “TWEET” button to quickly open the compose window and insert that URL. 

However, the social media app is the rare exception, with Google noting how “Custom Tabs do not provide a default sharing experience and many apps don’t provide a way for users to share content at all.”

This results in a poor user experience where users must find the share action from the overflow menu in the browser. This action takes the user outside of the app and opens the link in the browser, resulting in decreased app engagement.

Google is correcting this by “running an experiment” with Custom Tabs in Chrome 88 that adds a simple share button to open the system sheet. It appears when an app has not specified its own Action Button, and otherwise remains in the overflow as “Share via.” This comes as “users frequently want to share the content that is rendered inside the Custom Tabs.”

The default Action Button will be automatically added to the application, as long as the application doesn’t set its own. Since this change will happen in the browser, it will be automatically applied to all apps using Custom Tabs.

The experiment is widely rolled out following the launch of Chrome 88 for Android on Tuesday. Google provides app developers with instructions on how to opt out.

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: