Mobility

Chrome for Android touch to search feature makes it out of beta

If you've ever wished searching on an Android device could be easier, you're in luck. Jack Wallen shows you how the latest version of Chrome makes searching selected text one tap away from results.

Chrome search

You probably didn't know it, but the beta version of Chrome for Android has had a really handy feature for some time. That feature is called touch to search, and it makes doing Google searches from website content incredibly easy.

Say, for instance, you're reading an article on TechRepublic, and you come across a word or phrase you want to run against a Google search. You simply copy and paste the word(s), flip over to Google Now, and paste—or you just switch apps and type the word(s) in the Google Now search bar.

Thanks to Chrome Dev and Chrome Beta, it's now a few steps easier. If you happen to be running the latest iteration of the Android browser, then the feature I'm alluding to is built right in. If you're unsure which version you have, do the following:

  1. Open Chrome on Android
  2. Tap the menu button (three dots in upper right corner)
  3. Tap Help & feedback
  4. Tap the menu button again
  5. Tap Version info
  6. View the information on your release (Figure A)

Figure A

Figure A

Finding the version of Chrome on a Verizon-branded Nexus 6.

Note: Some users are reporting that this feature doesn't appear until version 43. However, I've found it showing up in versions starting with 42.0.2311.111 (on both KitKat and Lollipop).

Once you've confirmed that your version of Chrome is up to the task, how do you work this particular brand of magic? It's easy. Let me walk you through the steps:

  1. Open Chrome
  2. Go to your favorite site (probably TechRepublic)
  3. Locate an article to view (something like this)
  4. Find a bit of text you want to use for a Google search and highlight it
  5. Where you would normally have seen the Select All, Cut, Copy, Paste, you'll now see a Search button (Figure B)
  6. Tap the search button

Google search should now open with the results of your highlighted text.

Figure B

Figure B

The newly added Search button for highlighted text.

Searching on your Android device is now even easier! If you want to stay ahead of the curve, I highly recommend installing either the Chrome Beta or Chrome Dev (to really live on the edge) apps. Using these, you'll see the new features pop up before they hit the standard release.

Which version of Chrome do you run on Android? Are you one of the masses with the standard version, a risk taker with the beta, or do you live life on the edge with the dev version? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.

Also see

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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