Considering its large user base, Google rarely makes major changes to the browser interface. However, an in-development redesign plans to “modernize” Chrome Omnibox on Android, and the end result looks a lot like the Pixel Launcher.
Update 12/10: Since September, Google’s address bar redesign has continued and is now undergoing more extensive A/B testing. One of my devices got it naturally in the current stable release (Chrome 108), which is also live in beta (version 109). The company hasn’t committed to a launch, but wider availability is a good sign.
After using it for the past few days, I’m impressed by how similar it looks to the unified Pixel Launcher search that just launched. Android 13 QPR1. The resemblance can be quite jarring and I thought I had gone to the wrong screen.
LR: Pixel Launcher, Chrome current, Chrome new
The unboxed search fields have a colored version of the “G” logo on the right and voice/Lens shortcuts. The layout of the list is also the same with a symbol on the left and an arrow on the other side.
Original 9/22: When Chrome launched in 2008, a signature aspect of the design was simply having a field for entering/browsing URLs and searching the web. Google called it Omnibox and in recent years has been working to make it more useful by adding “”.Chrome Actions” link to basic browser settings. It combines how the box displays quick responses to prompts and select images.
From at least Chrome 105 (currently stable) there is a flag called “Omnibox Modernize Visual Update”. Only available for Android, chrome://flags/#omnibox-modernize-visual-update “will display a new visually updated UI.”
Chrome 108 (the canary) offers the most advanced design with three “Enabled” options in addition to the general option.
The current design is a very simple list of URLs and search suggestions. This doesn’t really change with the update, but each result is placed on a card (with a darker background) to help distinguish items. In addition, the top and bottom cards have rounded corners. This design resembles more single Pixel Launcher search it’s live on Android 13 QPR1 Beta. Consistency is an interesting approach.
Meanwhile, the “no active color omnibox” option/flag interestingly removes the pill-shaped tray for a look that actually mimics the Pixel Launcher search.
In the description, Google specifically notes that “this flag is for step 1 in the Clank Omnibox update plan.” This suggests that Google has more plans that may also affect the Omnibox functionality.
As with all flags, this Omnibox redesign in Chrome for Android may not actually work. That is, it is less than a visual departure Chrome Duplex/duetso the odds are definitely better.
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Thanks RKBDI and Michael!
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