Google’s Chrome browser for Android may soon have its own dedicated sharing menu, based on recently spotted experimental flags added to the browser.
The new menu is currently only accessible via the Canary version of the Android app. That’s the earliest beta version of the browser. So not everybody is going to want to rush over and try it out just yet if they want to avoid bugs. But it does bring significant changes in both aesthetics and usability.
The new sharing menu UI is cleaner with plenty of new options
The most immediately noticeable change in the new UI for the Android Chrome sharing menu is just how different it looks. The current page sharing menu — tucked behind the three-dot menu — takes up the majority of the screen. It features a pull-tab to drag up more options than are initially shown on the screen, taking up all of the display.
The present iteration of sharing also takes up more space because it highlights the page title at the top, followed by the most common or recent sharing options. White space isn’t used effectively there either, resulting in the need to scroll through options beyond the initial choices. Those are ‘Send to device’, ‘Link Sharing’, and ‘Copy’.
Underneath that are commonly used apps and another section for “all apps.”
Google engineered the newer version of the UI without a pull-tab. It also only takes up around a quarter to a third of the screen real estate. Instead, when users call on the action, they’re presented with two rows. The first contains new two of the same options present before. One of those has been renamed to ‘Send to your device’ and the other is ‘Copy Link’.
Those should work as normal, with a tap bringing forward the appropriate UI. The new options are ‘QR Code’ and ‘Screenshot’. QR Code creates a unique code for sharing the page or has the option to scan another QR Code to retrieve a given page.
Screenshot, for all intents and purposes, seems to be a way to quickly snap the visible portions of the page. That will likely exclude the browser UI and offer options for scrolling in addition to cropping and scaling.
When will Android Chrome’s new features arrive and can you access them now?
Now, as mentioned above, the new tools are only available in Chrome Canary. One of the two flags needed to turn on the feature — found at ‘chrome://flags’ — is available in the standard variant but doesn’t quite work yet. Namely, that’s the “#chrome-sharing-hub” flag. The second required flag is “#chrome-share-screenshot” and doesn’t appear in the normal version of Chrome for Android.
Both flags need to be enabled and then the browser reset to see the new menu UI but there are some caveats. The biggest is that dark mode washes out the top row of options. The carousel of all usable apps just below that is still visible. But the top row utilizes a dark icon theme and becomes invisible with dark theming in place.
Regardless, the UI changes adding a dedicated sharing menu will set Chrome for Android apart from other Google apps. It should also set it apart from other apps that have typically had more well-designed menus.