Hands-on: Google Chrome for Android Update

 Chrome is fast becoming the browser of choice for Android users, and though it’s only on Google Play for your Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) device, Google has already updated it four times since February.  This week, Google introduced yet another update which allows you to download files at once and enable desktop mode. To see how these new features worked, we installed the new version of Chrome on a Samsung Nexus S phone and gave them a spin.

File Download


This new release added the ability to download files to your device. We tested it out by downloading some PDFs and it was fast and easy.  After downloading, we found the PDF file in the notification menu and opened it with the PDF reader with a swipe and a click. All the downloaded files live in the /mnt/sdcard/download directory on the phone.

View Desktop Versions of Sites

Adding one of the most-requested features from its blog, Google now gives you the ability to toggle from mobile to desktop versions of a website with just two taps. When we visited our favorite Shiba Inu Tumblr site, tapped the phone’s menu button and then selected “Request desktop site” from the menu, the screen refreshed, showing us a version of the page that had a right navigation column. Though, most of the time, we prefer to view mobile sites on a phone, sometimes the desktop-friendly versions offer more content. For example, the desktop versions of CNN and ESPN show more photos and links on their home pages.


Add Bookmarks to Home Screen

Google Chrome for Android now lets uses add bookmarks to the home screen. First, we made the above Tumblr site into a bookmark. Then we clicked and held the bookmark until a sub-menu popped up (pictured above). The shortcut went on the home screen of the phone.  

 Additional Features

The new version of Chrome for Android also adds support for 31 languages and all countries where Google Play is available. It also allows you to use a proxy setup for Wi-Fi access. We weren’t able to test these features, but we’re sure they will come in handy for users that need them. 

Overall, we were pleased with these minor improvements in Chrome, but hope that more users will soon gain access to what is still an Ice Cream Sandwich-only app. You can keep up with the Google Chrome Releases here.  

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