Using Chrome (and Chrome Beta) Browser on Android1
If you have ever used the Internet at all (and if you’re reading this, that’s a pretty safe bet), chances are you either use or at least have heard of Chrome, Google’s very own browser. Chrome was released in 2008, and has slowly but steadily been growing in popularity over the years, converting users from Internet Explorer, Opera and Firefox alike. It happens to be my browser of choice, and I appreciate it’s speed and features on my desktop. And now it’s even better, because I can use it on my Android device as well, and not only does it use the same bookmarks and settings, it’s also getting better all the time.
To install it, all you need is to search the Play Store (or click this handy link) and install it. It requires a device with Android 4.0+ though, so make sure you’re using Ice Cream Sandwich or Jellybean first. After installing, it’s pretty self-explanatory, really. It will ask you if you want to sync your data from your Google Account (including your bookmarks and history, if you use Chrome on your desktop and have sync enabled). Tap the address bar to type a certain link or make a search, and use the tab button to view all the current tabs and flip through them. It’s a pretty solid browser overall, even though many people prefer the stock browser since it performs a bit better, and tends to be smoother.
Pressing the menu button brings up some basic options, along with a back, forward and bookmark button, like in the desktop version. Swiping left and right alternates between tabs without you having to press the tab button, and swiping a tab while in the tab view will eliminate it. It has a pretty intuitive interface, and is in fact a full-featured browser, and a nice conversion of the desktop version.
Another interesting thing about Chrome for Android is that, like the desktop version, there is also a beta release available, with constant updates for testing out new features. It tends to perform better than the stable release, and is free to try, so if you’re interested, just click this link and install it. You should be able to install it alongside Chrome without any issue. Using the beta gives us a couple of nifty features that haven’t reached the stable release yet, including the flags page for setting various advanced options on or off.
To access this page, type “chrome://flags” on the address bar and it will immediately take you to it. Some of the options don’t quite work yet, or are for a specific platform, so make sure to read the descriptions carefully. One interesting option you may be interested in is “Enable WebGL”, which will allow you to run full-fledged 3D graphics on your browser. If you enable it, you can then visit this page and see how it behaves (a lot of them might not work). The ones that do work though, are nothing short of amazing, all things considered. Nonetheless, very interesting and a good omen for the future.
So yeah, that was Chrome for Android. If you’re interested, you should check it out, if you already haven’t. Android has a lot of decent browsers (even the stock browser is pretty good), but Chrome is being regularly updated and it’s the default browser on many new devices, so you should probably try and get used to it. What browser do you prefer? Let us know in the comments!