Android apps that open Chrome just got a new picture-in-picture feature

Google Chrome on Android
(Image credit: Rafapress/Shutterstock)

Opening a webpage inside of an app can be an arduous process, but it may be getting a little easier with a new Chrome update for Android apps. The new Chrome M124 update is adding the ability to open in-app webpages in a sort of picture-in-picture mode. This will let users swap between the app and the webpage without losing the browsing session.

Google announced the new Tabs feature on the Chromium blog is for Android apps that use the Chrome Custom Tabs feature. It allows developers to provide custom browsing experiences within their apps. 

The example the Chrome developers gave is clicking a link in the Gmail app which opens up a browser window. Apps that utilize Chrome-based mobile browsers like Gmail will have a new icon when the browser window opens. Look for a down arrow next to the URL bar. It’s very minimal and easy to miss.

A gif showing how the Android picture in picture app update works

(Image credit: Google)

Upon clicking the arrow, it takes you back to Gmail but leaves a small floating window toward the bottom of the screen showing the open browser tab. Click that and you can be back in Chrome.

It’s unclear if the Chrome M124 update has rolled out to most, or any users. We tried testing this feature on an older but up to date Samsung Galaxy S22 and the feature did not yet appear available. The Chrome blog did not indicate when the M124 update would hit all devices. A previous blog from earlier in the month did indicate that the larger M124 update is rolling out to various devices over the course of the month.

When the feature becomes available it does seem pretty handy. The ability to quickly return to an app or browser without closing either or having to navigate around Android to return sounds great.

As mentioned, it’s only available in apps that use Chrome-based mobile browsers, but this would be a nice feature to see all of the place. Especially Samsung phones that like to default to Samsung’s “Internet Browser”.

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Scott Younker
West Coast Reporter

Scott Younker is the West Coast Reporter at Tom’s Guide. He covers all the lastest tech news. He’s been involved in tech since 2011 at various outlets and is on an ongoing hunt to build the easiest to use home media system. When not writing about the latest devices, you are more than welcome to discuss board games or disc golf with him. 

  • Gundament
    PLEASE HELP! This feature is TERRIBLE and there's no apparent way to turn it off. I click a link on an app and it will open this tiny window with the website inside. I need to keep manually clicking "full screen" every single time! Then when you close it, it goes off to the side like a FB Messenger Chat Head Bubble. This should NOT be a default feature, and there needs to be a way to turn it off!