Chrome is set to offer a new home screen widget for Android to match the delightful ones added to Chrome for iOS.
Update: Chrome’s Android widget has gotten further along in development, revealing more of its final design.
Original 6/29: Earlier this year, Google joined the fun of introducing widgets to some of its iOS apps after the platform gained widget support with iOS 14. For Chrome, Google added three widgets, a simple search bar, a larger widget with a search bar and some handy shortcuts, and a shortcut to the Dino Run game.
For Android 12, Google is once again pushing app developers to think about creating widgets. To back up that push, it seems the company is updating and remaking some of its own apps’ widgets, including Chrome. For the past few weeks, Google has been developing a “Quick Action Search Widget,” which will initially be hidden behind a flag in chrome://flags.
Quick Action Search Widget
When enabled, the quick action search widget will be available to add to the homescreen.
As noted by Chrome Story, the widget has begun to appear in the latest builds of Chrome Canary. At a glance, you can see that the design is quite similar to the largest of the three widgets added to Chrome for iOS.
From this, we believe that the two widgets will serve similar purposes, offering an omnibox to browse or search, a button to open an incognito tab, a voice search button, and a QR reader. However, you’ll notice that the Android widget has places for four shortcuts, not three. According to a newly posted code change, this fourth slot should soon be filled with a quick shortcut to Chrome’s classic “Dino Run” offline minigame.
For now, though, all four spaces in Chrome’s new Android widget are blank as development is ongoing. Tapping the search bar currently only serves as a shortcut to opening a new tab. We’ll continue to watch the new widget progress over the coming weeks.
Update 7/16: Two weeks after its first appearance, Chrome’s new Android widget has gotten closer to its final design. Where there were previously four blank ovals, we can now see circular shortcuts to open an Incognito tab, perform a voice search, search with your camera, or launch into the Dino game. In general, the widget is also much more narrow on the home screen.
Currently, only the Dino game and voice search buttons work, along with the main search bar. Over the coming weeks, the widget’s features should gradually begin working as they’re developed.
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