Chrome for Android finally gets a bottom tab bar in new experiment

  • Enabling Chrome's bottom tab strip.
  • A close-up of the tab strip. You get a favicon for each tab.
  • If you have too many tabs, the tab strip will be scrollable.

Everyone reading this probably uses multiple tabs on a desktop computer, but on mobile, tab management can be tough. On and Android tablet, Chrome looks like a real browser with a top tab strip, but on a phone, you don't get any kind of tab UI. There is a button that will take you to cascading UI of different Chrome windows, but a one-tap tab strip hasn't existed on Chrome for phones—until now!

A new Chrome for Android experiment, first spotted by Android Police, will add a tab strip to the bottom of the Chrome window. Tabs take the form of site favicons, and just like on a real computer, a single tap will switch between tabs. The currently active tab gets a little close icon next to it, meaning that tapping the tab again will close it. An "X" button to the left will close the tab bar entirely, while a plus button on the right will open a new tab.

For now, the feature is in Chrome Beta for some people, and you'll need to turn on a flag to enable it. To turn it on, paste chrome://flags/#enable-conditional-strip into the address bar, hit enter, enable the flag, and restart. Right now it can be kind of finicky to pop up at first. When I first open Chrome, sometimes I have to tap on the old window-switcher button to make the tab strip appear. This is just an experiment, and Android Police says it plainly doesn't work for some people. So there is probably a server-side switch involved, too.

This UI seems like a big improvement over the current version of Chrome. The lack of a tab strip on mobile has made managing multiple tabs a real pain, and Chrome's separate window-changer page has a number of problems. First, the button for it (number with a square around it) is all the way at the top of the phone, which makes it hard to reach. Second, it's just a number, and the lack of page titles or favicons gives you absolutely no context for what other tabs are open. Third, it's really clunky to use, requiring a tap on the button, scrolling through the list of thumbnails, and another tap to load a new page. All these problems make the Chrome "tab" button really easy to just ignore and never use.

Faster, easier, closer

The tab strip is faster, easier, and closeRead More – Source

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