Google is testing a rare redesign for the Chrome Omnibox on Android. First spotted by 9to5Google, the browser app has had a flag called “Omnibox Modernize Visual Update” since at least version 105, which is now in the stable channel. It enables a new, “visually updated UI” for one of the signature features of Google’s browser.
Omnibox is the search and URL bar that you see at the top of Chrome on Android. It has been around since the initial launch of the browser back in 2008. The single field lets you make searches on the internet or enter URLs to visit a website. Google has improved its functionality over the years with new features, but Omnibox hasn’t seen many design changes. A rare redesign is now in the works, with the company looking to “modernize” it a bit.
According to the new report, Chrome for Android version 108 in the Canary channel has three variants of this design overhaul for the Omnibox. One of them sees the URLs and search suggestions placed inside individual cards with darker backgrounds. The top and bottom cards have rounded corners, giving the whole suggestions panel a rounded finish. The overall functionality doesn’t change, of course.
The “no active color Omnibox” flag, meanwhile, removes the pill-shaped container for the search/URL field. The Omnibox blends with Chrome’s greyish background. The suggestions panel pops up with a darker background. This design language for the Chrome Omnibox on Android is reminiscent of the unified Pixel Launcher search that you can find in the recently released Android 13 QPR1 Beta 1. Google is going for consistency across its products and that’s a nice thing.
Google may have a major redesign for the Chrome Omnibox in the plan
The Chrome Omnibox may not have seen many design overhauls over the years, but Google may have some big changes in the plan this time around. In the description for one of the new UI flags, the company states that it is “for the step 1 in the Clank Omnibox revamp plan”. Whether this “revamp plan” only concerns the interface or functionality too, we will have to wait and see.
Having said this all, it’s worth noting that Google may shelve this plan altogether if things don’t go well during the testing. So until this Omnibox redesign is live on Chrome for Android, keep your hopes low. We will let you know if and when the changes roll out publicly.
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