Google Chrome Ditched a Redesign Similar to Safari in iOS 15

Furqan Shahid
Google Chrome Ditched a Redesign Similar to Safari in iOS 15

With the iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey, Apple introduced a massive overhaul to Safari's interface. The new redesign brought an address bar that floats at the bottom of the screen, along with some changes to how users switch tabs and more. According to Apple, the new Safari has been "reimagined for the way we browse today." FOr iOS 15, for instance, Apple has talked about how the new floating address bar means Safari "maximizes your screen space and stays out of the way as you scroll and explore." However, the users have criticized some of the changes, and it turns out that this is not the first time we see this. Apparently, Google has already tried and ditched something similar with Google Chrome back in 2016.

T Latest Safari Uses a Feature That Almost Made its Way to Google Chrome

According to Chris Lee, a former Google designer, Google began developing a redesign for the Chrome mobile app called "Chrome Home," similar to what Apple is currently aiming at for Safari. Lee was a staff interaction designer at Google during that time. On his personal blog, Lee has talked about how he created the "original concept and pitch" for an "ambitious redesign of mobile Chrome's main UI."

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It brought Chrome's toolbar to the bottom of the screen and turned [it] into a peeking panel that could be swiped to expose additional controls.

Swiping up on the address bar would display the Discover and recent sites. Along with Downloads, Bookmarks, and History. While other features were accessible in a menu via the three-dot icon, which consolidated key browsing options and offered a simplified one-handed operation back when screens were getting larger and larger.

Lee states how the Chrome Home "caught traction internally, eventually becoming a Chrome org priority." However, after live beta tests and sustained experiments, the team received "a mixture of reactions."

The feature gained a cult following among the tech community, but for many mainstream users, the change felt disorienting. Chrome serves billions of users around the globe with varying tech literacy. Over the course of many iterations, I became increasingly convinced that launching Chrome Home would not serve all our users well.

So just as I strongly as I had pitched the original concept, I advocated for us to stop the launch - which took not a small amount of debate.

The redesign was eventually killed back in 2018. However, Lee has talked about how Chrome Home was short-lived; it does not mean that it was a wasted effort, but more of a lesson about "the intentionality needed to innovate within a product of massive scale."

Let us know how you like the new redesign in the Safari and whether it should stay longer.

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