Customizable Toolbar Shortcuts Now Available in Chrome for Android

Customizable Toolbar Shortcuts Now Available in Chrome for Android

By default, what button you see is “Based on your usage,” with Google providing a “Current recommendation.” New tab and Share are already housed in the overflow menu, while Voice search appears when tapping the address bar. The first two actions can be considered critical to browser usage, and it makes sense why they’d be elevated. In fact, the abandoned Chrome Duet bottom bar redesign put those actions front and center. That said, users can manually select what shortcut they want and even turn off the toolbar addition entirely from Chrome settings (under Advanced just below the Homepage button, which can also be disabled). You can also manually get it with this flag:

Given Chrome’s massive user base, Google has historically been hesitant to make changes to its appearance and structure. However, Chrome on Android may be undergoing such a change with the addition of a customisable toolbar shortcut. Following the demise of Duplex/Duet, the Chrome UI on Android has remained a toolbar with a home button, address bar, tab switcher, and overflow menu, which houses several actions in a long list. Google now appears to be making a “toolbar shortcut” between the Omnibox and the tab button/counter more widely available. Here you can perform one of three actions: New tab (plus sign), Share, or Voice search (microphone).

The toolbar shortcut dates back to Chrome 92 for Android in July of 2021. At the time, it rolled out to some people as part of normal A/B testing. It has been seeing much wider availability in recent weeks, including after version 101 went stable on Tuesday, but Google has yet to officially announce the feature and it might end up being pulled.

This addition is a small tweak in the grand scheme (and easily ignored/disabled), but it represents a not insignificant UI addition to Chrome for Android’s layout. (The last one was the Material You revamp where functionality was unchanged.) Google must think this button is a big enough improvement for users to roll it out.

The News Highlights

  • Customizable Toolbar Shortcuts Now Available in Chrome for Android
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