2019's biggest feature update that has come to mobile platforms like Android and iOS is, no doubt, the system-wide dark mode that many of us have craved for years. Now that the base has been set, many popular app developers have gradually begun rolling out their takes on dark UI design to the masses.
For example, Android 10 users now have a toggle in the display settings that sets Dark mode on for all compatible system and third-party applications. And, for those who didn't know, there is also a switch in the Developer options that forces apps that normally do not have a dark mode to automatically invert colors. It works well with the Play Store, Instagram, and many others.
With all that said, not everything we use is just basic apps. We all browse the web, right? With over 60% net market share, Google's Chrome hands down dominates the browser market on mobile and PC. And with the 77th iteration of Chrome, and above, the Android version, in particular, does come with hidden flags that not only darken the UI elements throughout the app but can invert website colors on demand.
Google Chrome Browser's version 72 stable and version 73 beta for Android got released recently. The stable build and the beta one each bring something new to the table, so without further ado, let's proceed with our feature breakdown all courtesy of XDA Developers, Android Police and 9to5Google.
Trusted Web Activities
The stable channel for Chrome got updated to version 72 and it finally does allow app developers to publish their Progressive Web Apps on the Google Play Store. All of this is thanks to Google announcing their 'Trusted Web Activities' software. TWAs differ from normal websites and Chrome Custom Tabs by the simple fact that they run in full-screen and do not have a browser UI. They also get special features such as support for push notifications, background sync and form autofill. On the other hand, the "trusted" moniker means that Google runs extensive checks whether those PWAs can be trusted and are from the same developer as their website counterparts. This should make things easier for developers to publish "standalone" web apps for Android, directly installable from the Play Store and buildable without involving too much effort.
Google have begun testing dark mode for Chrome for Android in version 73 beta and so far it looks promising. This has come quite late if we have to compare to when they have started working on the same dark mode implementation for Windows and macOS.
To enable the experimental dark mode in Chrome Beta, you will have to set the 'Night mode' option to 'Always on' inside your Android Pie-running device's Developer Options menu. Currently, there are many hardly legible UI elements due to this being still a work-in-progress, so be cautious.
A commit on the Chromium Gerrit has been spotted by Chrome Story, which indicates a new performance-enhancing feature coming to Chrome. It has been submitted last October, has got some newer submissions last week and has been described as "an experimental browsing mode that restricts resource loading and runtime processing to deliver a consistently fast experience," but at the expense of silently breaking some content. It is still not merged, indicating that it requires further work to be done. Looking at Google Chrome's dominance in the Internet browser space, this may not be a good solution to this still unresolved problem by breaking other stuff. Let's wait and see how things develop in the future.
Those were three of the hottest news about Chrome for Android. Stay tuned to TestingCatalog for more Android app-related news and reports.
The Chrome browser, entirely built by Google, is maybe one of the fastest, if not the fastest web browser as of today, available on many mobile and desktop platforms. With that said, this year Google is working even harder to improve the user experience that their product offers, cut down on waiting times, and a lot more.
Faster and smoother operations
The launch of PWAs (progressive web apps) was another step forward to delivering a native app-like experience inside a browser. Its main target was mobile devices, but these days more work is being done to bring PWAs to desktop operating systems like Windows, Mac OS, and Linux as well.
The current navigation system from one web page to another one is not as instantaneous as we would certainly like. Users often have to stare at a white screen until a page finally decides to load. To combat this, the Chrome team had started designing a new API, which will allow developers to adjust and optimize every aspect of their website, so it performs as good as possible on all kinds of devices, including mobile phones.
Frameworks play a huge role in performance, and to achieve further enhancements Google is launching a fund with an initial amount of $200,000 to support the development of performance-related features in third-party frameworks. What this means to us is that we may see many fresh ideas from a lot of talented and experienced people around the world merged to Chrome.
Chrome's future is looking to be on the bright side. Let us know what are your gripes using on your Androids.
Google Chrome got some very handy design improvements this year and now it is time for a new feature, which benefits only Indian users for the time being. What I mean by this is that the new 'Explore' tab is a content discovery page, where it suggests the user websites and right now they are all India-specific. Of course, this may be subject to change, knowing Google's track record. Some theories say that 'Explore' might become official with suggestions, based on the user's browser usage patterns and needs. Also, this may get removed too, because it is indeed totally experimental.
If you want to enable it, start Chrome on your Android device and type "chrome://flags" in the address bar. In the flags page search for an option named "Explore websites" and enable it. Restart Chrome and now should see some of the categories displayed on the home page of the app. Tapping on the MORE CATEGORIES button will bring up even more suggested websites.
This is not that useful right now, but if it becomes region-specific, it may be a hit. It is certainly Google, trying to bring content to you without you even searching for it.
Source: Android Police
Google released a new Chrome Beta update bumping the version number to 69.0.3497.41. It adds a new feature, which shows a button to fill in a text box with your credentials. There is a key icon shown above the keyboard when you type. The settings also got a revamp. Now, the font is smaller and there are no dividers to be seen.
As some of you already know, Material Design 2 is the successor to the original Material Design - a design language introduced by Google in 2014 in parallel with the debut of Android 5.0 Lollipop. The 2nd iteration is still in the works, but you can test and see how it looks on Chrome Beta right now. To achieve that, you will need to enable close to a dozen flags, but we promise - it is worth the effort. You can open this article on your Android device and long click on the hyperlinks with # signs to copy the direct flag addresses and enable them directly, without the need to search for every single one of them. Here are the flags needed and a brief info about what each of them does:
Enable new contacts picker
Enable new Photopicker
Enables Chrome Duet, split toolbar Chrome Home...
Chrome Modern Design
Enable modern design for Chrome. Chrome must be restarted twice for this flag to take effect.
Chrome Modern Alternate Card Layout
Enable the alternate card layout for Chrome Modern Design.
Chrome Modern Full-Roll
Enable modern full-roll animation for Chrome.
Force Enable Home Page Button
Displays a home button if enabled.
Enable NTP Button
Displays a New Tab Page button in the toolbar if enabled.
Material Design Incognito NTP
If enabled, the Incognito New Tab page uses the new material design with a better readable text.
Make New Tab Page Snippets more visible.
If enabled, the NTP snippets will become more discoverable with a larger portion of the first card above the fold.
Modern NTP layout
Show a modern layout on the New Tab Page.
Show a simplified New Tab Page.
Google G in New Tab Page omnibox
Show a Google G in the omnibox on the New Tab Page.
Enable custom context menu
Enables a new context menu when a link, image, or video is pressed within Chrome.
Enable download home v2
Enables the new UI for download home.
New Media Controls
Enables the new style native media controls.
Enable horizontal tab switcher
Use all upcoming UI features
Feel free to try and customize these to your liking and don't forget to share this article on your social media.
Chrome Beta v69 adds support for phones with notches and becomes a media player for Android Go devices
This week we got Chrome Beta v69 for Android coming with some interface updates and more. There are a couple of notable features we will briefly go through:
2018 is the year of notched phones. We saw many "top-notch" devices from manufacturers like Huawei, LG and OnePlus coming with this popular design choice and the newly released Android Pie update also added proper support for it. Last year, after the iPhone X launch, Apple introduced some CSS attributes for web developers to have greater control over the notch area, now Google also adds support for the same CSS attributes. This means that websites optimized for the iPhone X should work on any Android phone with a notch. You can go ahead and enable this experimental API by going into the Chrome flags page and toggling the #enable-display-cutout-api chrome://flags/#enable-display-cutout-api option.
Media playback on Android Go
Android Go is a modified version of Android designed for devices with mere 1GB of RAM. As storage space is also a concern with many budget phones, and some devices might not have a media player pre-installed, this comes in handy. Due to Chrome being already pre-installed on most of the Android devices and supports media playback in many formats, why not use it as a fully fledged media player. On those devices, it appears as a target to open media files.
Note: Currently it's only compatible with devices running on Android 8.0+ with 1GB of RAM or less.
New download manager UI
The current Downloads page consists of a simple list of your downloaded files and a menu to switch between the types of files in the list. The new UI is a lot simpler with two tabs - one for files and one for saved articles. It can be enabled with the #download-home-v2 chrome://flags/#download-home-v2 flag.
These are some of the more important changes coming with Chrome v69 for Android. You can read the detailed changelog from here.
Source: Android Police