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Google Chrome for Android preps new bottom-bar tab switcher after killing ‘Duet’

Google Chrome has a pretty standard UI when it comes to being a browser, but over the past couple of years, it’s toyed with a new design that utilized a bottom bar. “Duet” as it was called has since been killed off, but now Google Chrome has a new bottom-bar UI in mind.

As spotted by Android Police, Chrome v84, currently in beta, finally enables the chrome://flags/#enable-conditional-strip flag. This flag has been visible for a while, but with this latest release, we can finally see what it does.

The answer? Not much…

Like with Duet, this new bottom-bar in Google Chrome for Android puts the tab switcher along the bottom of the screen which enables easy, one-tap access for users. The UI isn’t nearly as capable as Duet was, though, lacking many of the app functions that UI previously offered. It’s entirely possible this is just an early version, though. That seems likely, too, given this design is essentially identical to the Tab Groups UI.

Notably, and strangely, this flag only works for some users. Flags typically show up for everyone, but for reasons unclear, only some users will be able to access this function. My Pixel 4 XL, for example, doesn’t have the function live. We were able to get it working on Canary, though. It may be a server-side change on the beta track, and we’re also thinking it might only work when a certain number of tabs are open.

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