Mobility

How to test drive the new Chrome Personalized Tab feature

The developers of Chrome have added a nifty new feature on the dev build of the stock Android browser that adds personalized content to the new tab page. Here's how to get it.

chromedevhero.jpg
Image: Jack Wallen

Google goes to great distances to bring new features to their flagship browser. The scope of these new features can be pretty widespread. Sometimes they are must-haves and sometimes they are fairly forgettable. Every so often one comes around that makes perfect sense, you wonder why it's taken Google this long to make it happen. Such is the case with the Personalized Tab feature.

When working on a mobile device, getting relevant content quickly can make the on-the-go life of business a bit less hectic. Unfortunately, this can often mean opening up various applications. Or, when using an Android smartphone, you can trust that relevant content can always be found on Google Now. But what if you could get a Now-like feature tucked within the new tab page on Chrome? That could be seriously handy.

As you might expect, Google has made that very thing a reality, and you can now test it out using the developer build of Google Chrome on your Android device. I'll be demonstrating this on the powerhouse, contract-free OnePlus 3.

Before we go any further, know that this feature is currently only available on the dev build. But since the dev build is easily installed and used alongside the beta and/or the stable build, I highly recommend you installing it, even if only to preview up and coming features.

What is the Personalized Tab feature?

When you open a new tab on your mobile version of Chrome, you'll see a search bar and the Bookmarks, and Recent tabs buttons (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A
Image: Jack Wallen
The stable Chrome new tab page.

Not much there to see. Yes, you can search and take care of the standard tasks on your browser; but what if you wanted Google to suggest articles for you, based on your search history and other Google Now-related goodies? Here's what you do:

  1. On your Android device, open the Google Play Store
  2. Search for chrome dev
  3. Locate and tap Chrome Dev by Google In
  4. Tap Install
  5. Read through the permissions listing (if applicable)
  6. Tap Accept
  7. Allow the installation to complete

You should now see a Chrome Dev app icon in either your App Drawer or on your home screen. Tap that launcher and the Dev build of Chrome will open. Scroll down and you'll see the Articles for you section (Figure B), where content relevant to your Google Now (and other) searches will appear.

Figure B

Figure B
Image: Jack Wallen
The Chrome Dev build new tab page offers a bit more.

As you might expect, the more you use Google Now, the more relevant that content will be to you.

Like a well-oiled machine

Google is doing quite a bit to ensure all of the Android pieces work together, like a well-oiled machine. It only makes sense that Google Now would feed possible articles to the app you would use to view a good amount of your content. If you're willing to work with two iterations of Chrome on your device, which is perfectly safe, install the Chrome dev build and test out the new Personalized Tab feature. You might find yourself going back to the new tab page more often than you would have before.

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About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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