Skip to main content

Chrome’s latest update revolutionizes tab switching on phones

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Mobile apps get updates all the time, but when it’s a major feature of one of the most popular web browsers around, it’s worth taking notice.

Google’s latest update to the experimental Chrome Canary and Chrome Dev apps for phones has changed the method used to swap between different tabs within the browser. As reported by TechRadar, there are some obvious flaws at this early stage, this could be the way you’ll be using Chrome yourself in the near future.

Instead of the current vertical card scrolling system implemented in Chrome, which looks like flicking between pages in a sheaf of paper, Google’s new idea is a grid of your currently open tabs that you can then pick from. There’s also a new slider for entering and exiting Incognito mode in the top bar on this screen, plus some other added buttons and icons which you can see in the image below.

(Image credit: Google)

This sounds like a smart idea. The current system makes it hard to see all your tabs, and this new version theoretically makes it much easier to see everything you’ve got open in Chrome at once, and navigate to commonly used settings and pages with fewer taps. The feature will be available on Android phones at first but will likely come to iPhones later.

However, this version has made the tabs smaller and harder to read, which makes it trickier to check multiple tabs for the one you want. Aesthetically as well, the screen is busier, featuring a search bar with voice search button, favorites icons, and the Incognito switch mentioned above.

If you often have a large number of unique tabs open on your phone at once like me, then you’ll probably be pleased with what this change entails. But if you have poor eyesight, a predilection for visiting the same site multiple times or are fussy when it comes to how the apps you use look, then this update isn’t going to be something you’ll look forward to.

While neither Canary nor Chrome Dev are not the normal version of Chrome you’ll be used to using on your phone, they are the place where updates roll out first, so assuming Google feels that this new style of tab switcher works, it will be coming to the standard Chrome app eventually.