Google is reexamining Chrome’s user interface on Android; the Chrome Dev version has received an update that, by default, brings all its chrome down to the bottom of the screen – even the address bar.
It's an idea that first showed up back in October last year, albeit in a half-baked state and behind an experimental flag. The latest Chrome Dev version makes it the default but keeps the option to disable it via an experimental flag.
This approach is perhaps more suited for one-handed use, especially for phones like Samsung’s Galaxy S8, the LG G6, and one of Google’s prototypes for the next Pixel. These new phones are more than six inches tall due to their odd 18:9 aspect ratio displays, making it difficult for users to reach controls at the top of the display.
The new address bar rests at the bottom of the screen, and is mostly the same – except for a new “expand” button; with a single tap on the expand button, the bottom-half of the screen is taken over by a brand-new tabbed interface with four tabs – Home, Downloads, Bookmarks, and History.
Since this new interface is only taking up the bottom half of the screen, it’s easy to reach all the various buttons and controls, but a full-screen interface is easily accessible by simply swiping up.
The Downloads, Bookmarks, and History sections are self-explanatory, but the Home tab acts as a replacement for the new-tab page. It has all the same features like highlighting the most visited websites, followed by cards of suggested articles a la Google Now.
At the moment, the new interface is only available with the Chrome Dev version, but it's clearly on its way to the Beta and eventually the Stable versions. Hopefully, Google will keep the option to switch between a bottom or top arranged interface – not everyone may like the change, after all.