Google’s push to optimize first-party apps for large screen Android devices and the Pixel Tablet continues with a handful of updates for Chrome that rolled out in recent months.

The biggest recent change is a grid view to complement the tab strip that Chrome for Android tablets has long used. Instead of just using the desktop design, a familiar tab button that notes how many pages you have open appears to the right of the Omnibox.

This opens a straightforward tab grid that lets you better preview the contents of a page instead of having to rely on page names displayed horizontally.

Meanwhile, Google also points out how “visual tabs also help if you have a foldable device, because the smaller, folded screen on the outside matches the bigger screen on the inside of your tablet.”

You can also swipe on the Omnibox to quickly move between tabs, while Chrome will “hide the close button when tabs become too small.”

You’re able to have Chrome always request and load the desktop version of a site. This is currently a toggle you have to manually enable for each visit from the overflow menu, but there’s now Settings > Site settings > Desktop site (at the very bottom).

Similarly, you can drag-and-drop images, links, and text from Chrome into Gmail, Keep, and Photos when the apps are open side-by-side.

Lastly, Google announced that Tab Groups are “coming soon” to Android tablets. This goes hand-in-hand with the tab grid, and it will be interesting to see whether this tab strip will adopt the same color-coded grouping approach as desktop.  

chrome://flags/#enable-tab-groups-for-tablets

Google says these features are coming with the “next release of Chrome on Android,” though some are already live today. Meanwhile, the team is “constantly exploring new ways to make it easier and more enjoyable to use Chrome on your Android tablet.”

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com