Google Chrome Beta 45 for Android is the first version of Google’s mobile web browser to support Chrome custom tabs.

What that means for app developers is that if they need to incorporate web content in their apps, they can have more control over how a Chrome browser tab looks when it loads that content. What it means for users is that you might not even notice when an app loads up a web page, because the browser tab might look just like another part of the app itself.

chrome beta logo

Google first unveiled Chrome custom tabs during the Google I/O developer conference in May, and the company provided better documentation in July.

Chrome custom tabs let developers change the toolbar of the Chrome web browser, add entry and exit animations, and add custom actions to the toolbar and overflow menu. Apps can also pre-load Chrome and fetch content before you even ask for it.

Developers can still use WebView instead of Chrome custom tabs. Google says that might be a better solution for developers who are hosting their own content. But if you want to send people to a URL that’s outside your domain, the custom tabs give you more control offer the look and feel of the experience.

Custom tabs also have “shared cookie jar and permissions” so that once you login to a service using a web interface, you should stay logged in.

Other new features in Chrome Beta 45 include updated media playback controls, an updated bookmark interface, and bug fixes and performance improvements.

Don’t want to run beta software on your phone? All of these features should make it to the stable channel of Chrome for Android eventually.

via Chrome Releases

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8 replies on “Chrome for Android blurs the lines between native, web apps”

  1. I wish some apps could just be websites. Why download an app if you could get everything in a browser? I thought Apple originally wanted web apps and not an on device app store

    1. They can, and some are. It is just a far crappier experience when bandwidth is limited, you pay to download a gigantic, crufty, ajaxy web page (or 30) over and over every time you want to use it, etc. The web is dead except for one-time use sites, it just doesn’t know it yet. Look at how slick something like Tapatalk is compared to the forum sites it provides an alternate, cleaner front-end to.

      1. Tapatalk is an example of the PROBLEM created when you let the “Cloud” get into your underwear (er, browser). Tapatalk does me the “favor” of dumbing-down my Forum experience, putting up advertisements where there were none before, complicating the forum’s UI, and sitting on my shoulder watching what I am doing – which is none of Tapatalk’s business! And of-course, if you do NOT want to use Tapatalk, it is there constantly NAGGING ME to use it. Heck now I have to reload a forum two or three times just to get damned Tapatalk out of the way! And now Chrome is going to turn-over control of my browser to something like Tapatalk? No thank you.

        1. I hate those nag screens on every friggin forum.

          It isn’t hard for a forum to have some mobile css….

        2. I 100% agree, if Chrome allows websites to enforce an app usage (even a browser-based app) for their website, this will result in every Forum on the internet using Tapatalk.

          This had better be optional. I will not use any websites that take advantage of that.

    2. Isn’t that what Google always said they wanted as well?

      Funny how things change when you can lock users into a platform.

    3. Apple originally pushed for Web apps because of their own shortcomings. They were unable to deliver the capability of installing 3rd party apps on the first version of iOS.

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