Chrome Beta for Android Updates to V45 With Custom Tabs, Updated Media Controls and Bookmarks

Google is pushing an update to Chrome Beta (v45.0.2454.21) this afternoon that introduces a couple of tweaks, along with a feature called “Chrome Custom Tabs.” Chrome Custom Tabs are better explained by Google here, but basically they allow customization in Chrome tabs by developers (toolbar color, enter/exit animations, custom actions to overflow menu). We’re still waiting for the update to arrive, so once we have it, we’ll see if we can’t show you a better visual representation of Custom Tabs.

The new build updates media playback controls and the bookmarks interface, and also fixes bugs.  (more…)

Tip: Chrome Beta 44 Flag Gives New Tab Screen Icons Instead of Thumbnail Previews, Looks Great

Tucked inside the latest Chrome Beta for Android (v44.0.2403.30) is a Flag that turns the thumbnail previews on your “New Tab” screen into icons. You can see it in action in the shot above. How clean is that?

On the flip side, you have the default setting pictured below, which shows those thumbnails, to let you know where you last left your most recently/often visited sites.  (more…)

Chrome’s Touch to Search is Awesome, But No, It Isn’t Google Now on Tap

Just over a week ago, Chrome for Android received an update to version 43.0.2357.78 that included a feature called Touch to Search. If you have used the Chrome Beta within the last several months, you know exactly what this feature is. If you haven’t, well, you have probably emailed us within the last couple of days thinking that Chrome is now capable of doing the recently announced Google Now on Tap magic that was introduced at Google I/O. We get why you would think that, because Touch to Search is quite awesome, but no, it’s not exactly Now on Tap.

Still, let’s talk about!  (more…)

Chrome Colored Toolbars May be Coming Without the Need to “Merge Tabs”

Back in Chrome Beta 39, Google introduced one of our favorite features to Chrome that was unfortunately, only available in select situations, and on select versions of Android. We are talking about colored toolbars, of course.

When first introduced, colored toolbars (assuming a website enabled them) could only be viewed when a phone or tablet was running Lollipop and if the tabs were merged into the app switcher. We have talked about how terrible this whole merging of tabs thing is in its current state, but had hoped all along that Google would tweak the way it worked to make it easier to switch between tabs when enabled. I don’t know if they will ever do that bit, but one thing seems to be happening in the latest Chrome Beta that was a merged-tabs-only feature.  (more…)

Google Launches Chrome Dev to Google Play, Live on the Bleeding Edge

Another version of Chrome has hit Google Play this afternoon, Chrome Dev. Much like Chrome Beta, which is still available at the time of this writing, the app’s description states “Live on the bleeding edge: Try out our latest features.”

So, if the Chrome Beta was not already buggy enough for you, Chrome Dev will allow you to have the latest features from Google ahead of anyone else, bugs and all.  (more…)

Chrome 41 Comes to Android With Pull-to-Reload, Chrome Beta 42 Adds Site Notifications

The Chrome team is “exhilarated” and “delighted” today to announce updates for its Chrome apps for Android.

Chrome stable received the bump to version 41, which includes pull-to-reload from the top of most websites. Trust me when I say that this is one of those features you will soon not be able to live without. If you have used pull-to-reload at all in the beta builds, you know what I mean.  (more…)

First 15 Apps I Install on Every New Android Device

As a part of this job, I have the (depending on how you look at it) pleasure of setting up new Android devices more often than any normal human should. The process, which has become much easier and more automated on Lollipop, can be both tedious and exciting. On one hand, you have to sign-in to every single app all over again, but on the other, you get to start playing with a brand new phone or tablet. For the most part, the joy of using a brand new phone outweighs the 20-30 minutes it may take to set it up.

Over the years, my setup process has become much tighter, leaner, and more efficient. Instead of installing a hundred or so apps with each new device that comes across my desk, I often only install a select few apps that I can’t live without. Since I tend to spend only a couple of weeks with a phone during a review period before sending it back to its owner, I’ve realized that I probably don’t need three different Twitter apps and a package tracker and credit card managers and four different photo editors.

These days, when I setup a device, I can get get by with a group of specific apps that you wouldn’t typically find pre-installed on a phone. Obviously, I’m a huge Google services user, but those related apps are all installed before I boot a new phone for the first time. If we look outside of those (Gmail, Hangouts, Maps, etc.), here are the first 15 I install every time.  (more…)