Google experimenting with bottom URL bar on Android

Google is testing a new experimental flag on Chrome for Android currently that moves the URL bar of the mobile browser to the bottom.

The URL bar, or address bar, is one of the core components of the browser. It is an interactive field that users can type in to search or load sites directly, and it also reveals the address of the current page on top of that.

Since it is such an essential piece of any browser, it comes as no surprise that developers have not experimented a whole lot with placements for the URL bar.

The majority of browsers display the URL bar at the top.

Bottom URL Bar in Chrome

chrome android urlbar bottom

Google runs an experiment currently on Google Chrome for Android -- only available in Chrome Canary and Dev currently -- that moves the address bar of the browser to the bottom when enabled.

The feature is hidden behind a flag currently. These flags are used by Google to test not-yet-ready for public release features, or to test features to see how users find them.

To enable the bottom URL Bar in Chrome for Android, do the following:

  1. Open Chrome Canary or Dev on Android.
  2. Load chrome://flags in the browser's address bar. Or, load chrome://flags/#enable-chrome-home directly to jump to the right flag on the page.
  3. Tap on the menu icon, select "find on page" and enter home.
  4. This should jump to the Chrome Home flag right away.
  5. Tap on the pulldown menu and switch the state to enabled.
  6. Restart Google Chrome.

The URL bar is at the bottom of the browser screen after the restart. It works exactly like before but with the difference that menus and such open towards the top and not the bottom of the screen.

Google has not revealed its plans for the URL bar. It is unclear therefore whether the company considers moving the main bar of the browser to the bottom in the future, or whether this is just an experiment to see how users react to the change.

Microsoft did move the URL bar of its Edge mobile browser to the bottom bar as well. The main advantage of this is that it is easier to reach the address field and menu of the browser. (via Caschy)

Now You: What's your take on this? Do you prefer the URL bar at the top or bottom?

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Google experimenting with bottom URL bar on Android
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Google is testing a new experimental flag on Chrome for Android currently that moves the URL bar of the mobile browser to the bottom.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Responses to Google experimenting with bottom URL bar on Android

  1. Flotsam November 2, 2016 at 10:06 am #

    This is already possible on Firefox without any extensions. It's quite hard to get used to.

    • Hiếu November 10, 2016 at 10:58 am #

      Hi, where is it ? I can't find it, plz support me find it, thanks.

  2. Heimen Stoffels November 2, 2016 at 10:51 am #

    Ah, they're finally catching up. The BB10 browser, Sailfish OS browser and Firefox for Android already have this for a long, long time now and now Chrome for Android will also receive this.

  3. gog November 2, 2016 at 12:37 pm #

    Yandex Browser already have their URL BOX at the bottom tho... So meh

  4. Yuliya November 2, 2016 at 1:14 pm #

    Yandex Browser behaves like this. While I like the idea, I find it not convenient for phones with on-screen buttons. The lower part becomes too crowded and difficult to use, always having to be careful for accidental presses.

    • dunvi November 2, 2016 at 4:21 pm #

      In short this aint news/blog worthy.

  5. AAA January 8, 2017 at 1:59 am #

    Actually, that's a great idea. We often tend to move the cursor up and down. It would be nice to have all the menu items in one place, leaving rest of the screen for visuals only.

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