After working for a few months, in late April Google began testing an app browser to open articles and search results for app discovery. It saw a wide rollout a few weeks later, but Google now seems to be back to implementing the previous Chrome Custom Tab.
The application browser is heavily themed with a Google logo appearing in the top bar and a prominent loading animation. The domain name and HTTPS status are listed above, while on the right there is a save icon (for collection), share and overflow buttons. This menu has the option to refresh and open the page in your default browser.
Unlike a standard Chrome custom tab, this application does not take the browser into your cookies or log-in and requires a separate settings page to clear the browser’s data. For this reason alone, many find the app-in solution quite inconvenient. Another problem is how sending pages to the full Chrome app is not as instant as before and requires a full reload. Until the end, you will lose useful shortcuts like search on page, desktop site and translation.
Although you can disable the “Open web pages in Google Apps” option, instead of applying custom tabs – the experience of using the full Chrome browser is slow. You’re basically switching from the Google App to the full Chrome browser for each URL.
With the Google App 11.17 beta – where we got our first glimpse of the newly redesigned lens again – there are a few key reports about the app’s browser disappearing. Users are welcome to open any link after the first update, with the offer of a theoretical offer, while the “browser” settings have been removed from the general menu.
That said, most – even in the latest beta – still have the app browser. But it’s hopeful that this is a sign that the Google app will soon return to the old experience for all users.
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