Google Chrome for Android tests new feature for easy one-handed use

The new feature for Google Chrome under testing is aimed at people using large-screen Android devices.

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One of the most common difficulties faced with large-screen devices is the inconvenience that they bring in terms of user experience. Simple operations which can be easily accomplished using one hand, require using both hands for bigger smartphones. When smartphones were smaller in size, single-handed usage was a lot easier. Large-screen smartphones not only made single-handed operation difficult but has also compelled developers to redesign interfaces so that it gets easier to navigate through apps for users. Chrome for Android is one of the latest apps to be overhauled for the need of convenience. Instead of the address bar at the top of the screen, a new interface under testing is looking at placing the most-used element at the bottom of the screen.

Google is reportedly testing a version of Chrome for Android that places its controls at the bottom of the screen. It might come across as a minor change but it would make the app much more intuitive than the current version that shows the controls at the top. Spotted by Android Police, the version is currently unfinished and places the address bar at the bottom of the screen when enabled. Along with the address bar, the add tabs option and the switch tabs option is also placed at the bottom of the screen.
If you want to take a look at the feature in-the-making, you can enable it in Chrome Dev and Canary by pasting chrome://flags/#enable-chrome-home into Chrome, tapping the highlighted select menu, tapping Enabled, and then restarting the browser.

A lot of mobile manufacturers are aiming at offering the smartphone experience by expanding the display sizes with some even crossing the 6-inch mark such as Xiaomi’s Mi Max with a massive 6.44-inch display. As a majority of smartphones come powered by Google’s Android OS, it makes sense for the company to tweak the interface of the most used browser. ALSO READ: Google Chrome beta for Android gets data saver for videos, offline download support

A redesigned feature like this which places app controls at the bottom of the screen has been already put in order by Microsoft for its Windows 10 Mobile’s Edge browser in which the navigation bar is also placed at the bottom of the screen. Apple’s Safari on iOS also places certain browser controls at the bottom of the screen such as switch tabs, navigation, share, and the bookmark option.
Meanwhile, Google announced that it has made Chrome 15 percent faster on Windows under its plans of making the browser hog less memory. Starting with the Chrome 53 release of 64-bit Chrome and version 54 of the 32-bit version, Google has started using Microsoft’s Profile Guided Optimization technology to speed up startup times (by 17 percent), new tab page load times (by almost 15 percent), and overall page load times (by 6 percent) in Chrome, Chrome’s Sébastien Marchand explained.

Google is constantly tweaking its Chrome browser to make the experience better for users. In September, the company announced that it was extending the ‘Data Saver’ technology to videos on the Chrome browser. The feature will allow users to save up to 67 percent data when watching videos encoded in MP4 format. It automatically optimizes HTTP websites and saves 90 percent of the data, while loading pages two times faster. Other than the data saving feature, Google also introduced a new download feature for offline viewing of web pages, pictures, music, and videos. Helpful when the internet connectivity is poor, the feature allows one to download content and save it for later consumption. The company also added a new option to store all the downloaded content right within the Google Chrome app.

Although there is no official word on when the new Chrome feature will be introduced, given that Google is currently only testing the feature, the company would eventually roll out the feature to mobile users soon. ALSO READ: Microsoft bashes Google’s Chrome browser for being a battery hog

  • Published Date: November 1, 2016 7:15 PM IST