Due to its large user base, Google Major changes rarely happen in their browser interface. However, development plans to “update” the Chrome omnibox on Android have redesigned, and the end result looks a lot like the Pixel Launcher.
Update 12/10: Since September Google has been working on redesigning the address bar and it’s now more widely A/B testing. One of my devices received it normally on the current stable version (Chrome 108), while it is also available in beta (v109). The company hasn’t committed to a launch, but wide availability is a good sign.
After using it for the past few days, I’m struck by how similar it is to the Pixel Launcher Unified Search that just came out with Android 13 QPR1. The similarity can be so shocking I thought I had navigated to the wrong screen.
L/R: Pixel Launcher, Current Chrome, New Chrome
The frameless search boxes feature a colored version of the “G” logo and volume/lens shortcuts on the right. The menu layout is also identical, with an icon on the left and an arrow on the other side.
Original 09/22: When Chrome launched in 2008, a defining aspect of the design was that there was only one field for entering/displaying URLs and performing web searches. Google called it the Omnibox and in recent years has tried to make it more useful by adding “Chromium stockwhich refers to the main browser settings. This relates to how the box actually displays quick responses to select queries and images.
Since Chrome is at least 105 (currently stable) there is a flag called “Omnibox refresh visualization”. only available for Android, chrome://flags/#omnibox-modernize-visual-update “It will show a new user interface that is visually refreshed.”
chromium 108 (Canary) offers the most advanced design with three “enabled” variants in addition to the global option.
The current design is a very simple list of URLs and search suggestions. This doesn’t really change with the redesign, but each hit is placed in a map (with a dark background) to help distinguish items. In addition, the top and bottom cards feature rounded corners. This design is somewhat reminiscent of Unified search Pixel Launcher It’s live in Android 13 QPR1 beta. Consistency is an interesting approach.
Meanwhile, the “no active multicolored square” variant/tag interestingly removes the pill-shaped container for a look that truly mimics that of the Pixel Launcher.
In the description, Google specifically states that “This tag is for Phase 1 of the Clank Omnibox redesign plan.” This strongly suggests that Google has more things planned that could affect the functionality of the omnibox as well.
As with all tags, the Omnibox redesign may not work in Chrome for Android. However, it is less of a departure visually than it is Double/double chromeSo the odds are much better.
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