January 28, 2020 By King
As our Android phones are getting ever larger and taller, Google Chrome has been compensating with a redesign called “Duet” that brings more of the UI to the bottom of the screen. Google has now decluttered Chrome for Android’s Duet design by removing some buttons, but that’s not necessarily a good thing.
On the latest stable version of Google Chrome for Android, the still-optional “Duet” redesign offers five icon buttons along the bottom of your screen for Home, Share, Search, Tabs, and More. This brings everything short of the address bar within reaching distance of your thumb on taller phones, but it is admittedly cluttered.
Google has decided, as noted by Android Police, that five buttons in the Duet bar was too many, and has pared that back to three. Which three, you may ask? That entirely depends on which experiment group you’ve landed in or which option you choose for the “Chrome Duet” flag (chrome://flags#enable-chrome-duet).
Option A is the “Home-Search-TabSwitcher Variation” which, as you would guess, offers the “Home,” “Search,” and “Tabs” buttons along the bottom of the screen. Choosing this variant moves the “More” button back to the top of the screen, next to the address bar.
Similarly, the second option “Home-Search-Share Variation” swaps the “Tabs” button for “Share,” while the final option “NewTab-Search-Share Variation” gives you a quick New Tab shortcut, the usual “Search” button, and a “Share” button. Both of these layouts move both the tab switcher and the “More” button next to the address bar.
The big issue, of course, is that none of these Duet layouts may quite line up with the way people use Chrome or will use Chrome for Android in the future. For example, if you want to use Chrome’s tab grouping features, which were recently integrated with Duet, you essentially have to use the only layout that offers the tab switcher. However, in doing so, you’re sacrificing quick access to the Share button, which is also receiving an upgrade with a new share sheet and options like screenshots and QR sharing.
The new three-button layout of Duet is already live in Chrome for Android Beta, which means it should be arriving to stable within the next few weeks.
What do you think of the latest Chrome for Android redesign? What three buttons would you like to have along the bottom of your browser? Let us know in the comments!