Ten hidden Google Chrome tips and tricks for Android

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Google chrome

Google chrome is the most popular browser for Android with over a billion downloads and, since it comes pre-installed with most Android phones, most users just stick with it. Many people use it on a daily basis even while other browsers like Mozilla Firefox and Opera have different features like ad blocking and extension support not present in the Chrome browser for Android.

However, what most users are not aware of is that the Google Chrome browser has a hidden section in the app called Chrome flags, which has a lot of new and hidden features which could be enabled to supercharge the Chrome browser. Some of these can add a lot of useful and missing functionality to the browser and help it stand out from the competition.

Here are the top 10 Google Chrome hidden tips and tricks for Android which could be enabled from the Chrome flags section in any Android browser.

Note: Chrome flags are basically experimental features of the Google Chrome browser and are kept hidden from the users for a reason. If you find your browser to face any issues after you have enabled these Chrome flags options, you can either disable them or clear the cache and data of the Google Chrome app in your phone to solve the issues.

Gesture navigation

Gesture-based navigation has become increasingly common in modern Android devices and it even comes as one of the default navigation options in the Samsung Galaxy and the Google Pixel devices with Android Pie. If you are a fan of gesture-based navigation, and want to enable it on the Chrome browser of your Android device as well, here is how to do that.

First, visit the hidden Chrome flags page by entering the URL chrome://flags in the address bar.

Once you are on the page, search for the flag ‘History navigation with gesture‘ and enable it. Now, relaunch your browser and you are able to use gesture navigation option to navigate back and forth through pages by swiping from left or right accordingly.

Move the address bar to the bottom

The screen size of Android phones keeps increasing making it difficult to use them with one hand. You might find plus-sized phones particularly inconvenient when you want to access the address bar in the Google Chrome browser. It’s all the way up towards the top of the screen and not easy to get to with one hand.

You can move the address bar on your Chrome browser to the bottom of the screen for your convenience with the help of this simple trick. Just head over to the Chrome flags page and then search for the flag, ‘Chrome Duet‘ and enable it. Once you relaunch your browser you will get the address bar along with all the other controls present at the top of your screen moved to the bottom.

Disable autoplay

Autoplaying videos, especially those with full volume whenever you visit certain websites could probably be one of the most annoying experiences when browsing the web. Thankfully there is a way to disable them in your Chrome browser on Android.

Just head over to the browser Settings->Site Settings->Media and then disable the autoplay feature. You can also add sites like YouTube, where you want videos to be played automatically to the exception option on the same page.

Increase browsing speed

Normally the TCP protocol is used when you are browsing the internet as it is considered to be a very reliable Internet protocol. However, UDP is considered to be a faster Internet protocol and using it instead of the TCP in your Chrome browser while browsing the internet might significantly increase your browsing speed.

To do this, just go to the Chrome flags page and then search for the ‘Experimental QUIC protocol‘ flag and enable it. QUIC is the Quick UDP Internet Connection protocol and enabling it will significantly increase the browsing speed on your Chrome browser once you relaunch the browser.

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Advanced media controls

Watching videos is one of the frequent activities involved in web browsing and unlike the PC counterpart, the video player in the Chrome browser on Android doesn’t have any features aside from play and pause.

If you would like to get some advanced controls like tapping the screen to play or pause the video or double tapping to seek through the video, just follow the below steps.

Go to the Chrome flags page and then search for the flag, ‘New Media Controls‘ and enable it. Once you relaunch the browser you will be able to use these new advanced video controls whenever you play a video from your Google Chrome browser on your Android device.

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Sneak peek of links

If you read a lot of articles using the Chrome browser on your Android device, you might often find yourself opening a lot of links in the background to just read some new article or additional information. This might end up cluttering your tab lists and result in a poor browsing experience when you have to navigate so many open tabs.

With a sneak peek feature you can just long press a link to a page you want to visit or an image you want to view and instead of opening it in a background tab and viewing it later.

Get a sneak peek of the page or the image from the popup that appears by selecting the  option from the long press menu. Just go to the Chrome flags page, search for ‘Ephemeral Tab‘ and enable it to start using the sneak peek feature.

Block Redirects to unknown pages

Sometimes when you visit a website by following a link, you might suddenly be redirected to a different website either automatically after a time interval or when you click somewhere on the website. This unexpected redirecting is very annoying and badly affects the user experience and the security of the user.

If you want to disable this annoying aspect of browsing, you can do so in the Chrome browser for Android by searching for and enabling the ‘Framebusting‘ flag from the Chrome flags page. This will prevent any website for redirecting you to a different website and will block redirects to unknown pages after a specific time interval.

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Increase the download speed

By enabling the parallel downloading feature in the Chrome browser for Android, you can significantly increase the download speeds on your device, especially if you frequently download large files using your Chrome browser. This feature will essentially speed up the download by creating multiple connections for downloading the same file.

You can enable this by opening the Chrome flags page, searching for the flag, ‘Parallel downloading‘ and enabling it. You can notice an increase in your download speeds once you relaunch your browser.

Enable dark reading mode

The dark mode is both good for your eyes and your phone’s battery life and while it is not yet officially available on the Chrome browser for Android, you can still enable the experimental reading mode from the Chrome flags page to use the dark mode on your browser right now.

Go to the flags page, search for the ‘Reader mode triggering‘ flag, and then enable the feature. You can choose to enable the reading mode at all times or only on non-mobile friendly articles based on your preference.

Your browser will suggest you enter the reading mode once you have enabled this feature where you can select the dark mode option from the appearance settings in the reading mode.

Horizontal tab switching

This feature is somewhat similar to the recent apps menu in the newer versions of Android where instead of a vertical preview, you get a horizontal preview of the list of open tabs thus allowing you to get a complete preview of the tabs instead of just a sneak view and the title.

You can enable this feature by going to the Chrome flags page, and then searching for the ‘Horizontal tab‘ flag and enabling it. Once you relaunch the browser, your tab previews would now be switched from vertical previews to horizontal.

Which one of these Google Chrome tricks do you find useful? Do you think any other flags in the Chrome flags page might be a useful feature and should be added to this list? Let us know in the comments section below!

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