Google Unveils Major Advancements in Android's In-App Browsing!

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 15, 2023
Updated • Feb 15, 2023
Google Android

Google Android device owners may soon see improvements when apps on their device utilize an in-app web browser.

chrome android in app browser

Android app developers have two main choices when it comes to the display of web content; they may either load it in a mobile browser on the system, or use a technology called WebViews to display the content in the app.

The first option has the disadvantage of app switching, as users are redirected to a browser app on the device. There is a chance that users may forget about the session or close the original app the link was opened from in the progress.

Android's in-app browsing technology is getting two enhancements, which Google has started to roll out already. Both of these work only in browsers that support them, most notable Google Chrome.

Better multitasking through split-views

The first improvement adds the partial custom tabs feature to the developer's arsenal. It enables developers to display web content in a partial overlay in the application interface. Users of the app may interact with it and the loaded web content at the same time.

The feature is supported by Chrome only at the time, but Google announced that it is looking "forward to additional browser support soon". Browsers that do not support the functionality display the full-screen custom tab instead.

Developers may customize the height of the web content in their apps; this gives them full control over the partial overlay in the app. The view may be expanded by the user of the app to take advantage of the full screen size.

Options to close the content are provided. The in-app browser will also highlight the name of the web browser by stating "running in" for a brief moment before the actual website URL is displayed in the address bar.

Passwords and auto-fill support

The second new feature adds password management and auto-fill support to the in-app browsing experience. Also only supported by Chrome for now, users may use Chrome features to sign-in to sites using stored passwords in the browser's password manager and auto-fill, to improve the filling of data in fields displayed in the in-app browser.

App creators may benefit from this approach in a number of ways, including making it easier for their users to sign-in to web services displayed in the app.

Developer resource

Android app developers find an overview of the improved Custom Tabs feature of the Android ecosystem on the Chrome Developers website. There, Google explains how custom tabs may be personalized for individual apps.

Developers may change the launch height of the interface, the toolbar color, open and exit animations, and add custom actions to the toolbars and overflow menu. There is also an option to pre-start the browser and pre-fetch web content to improve the loading time.

Closing Words

App developers need to adjust their apps to take advantage of the new capabilities of custom tabs. Some will likely do so right away, but not all apps will suddenly support the new functionality.

Now You: split view on mobile or redirection to another app, which do you prefer?

Google improves Android's in-app browsing with these two enhancements
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Google improves Android's in-app browsing with these two enhancements
Google Android users may soon notice in-app browsing improvements in some apps on their devices that improve usability.
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  1. Albert said on August 18, 2023 at 1:49 pm

    Thanks for the tip Martin.

    It is for these kinds of posts that I follow GHacks.

    1. Mike Williams said on August 26, 2023 at 8:55 pm

      What’s up with the generic comment, are you a bot?

  2. Tachy said on August 18, 2023 at 3:23 pm


    Where on the planet is that still in use? I was forced to give up using my RAZRV3 years ago because 2G was phased out by AT&T.

    1. arbuz said on August 20, 2023 at 5:02 pm

      Everywhere 3G has been turned off and you don’t have LTE coverage, and believe me there are many developed countries where this is the case and if it weren’t for 2G you wouldn’t even be able to make a phone call.

    2. Doc Fuddled said on August 31, 2023 at 5:55 pm

      Maybe I missed it, but I don’t believe tha term “2G” is in the article. Perhaps you are referring to “AGM G2”??

  3. Tachy said on August 18, 2023 at 3:27 pm


    Your website has gone insane.

    When I the post button I then saw my comment posted on a different article page. When I opened this article again, it is here.

    1. Martin P. said on August 31, 2023 at 4:39 pm

      @Tachy @Martin Brinkmann

      ” Your website has gone insane. ”

      Same here. Has happened several times.

      1. owl said on September 1, 2023 at 3:42 am

        @Martin P.,

        For over two weeks now,
        I’ve been seeing “Comments” posted by subscribers appearing in different, unrelated articles.
        For the time being,
        it would be better to specify the “article name and URL” at the beginning of the post.

  4. Anonymous said on August 18, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    @tachy a lot of non-phone devices with a sim in them rely on 2G, at least here in europe.
    Usually things reporting usage or errors/alarms on something remote that does not get day to day inspection in person. They are out there in vast numbers doing important work. Reliable, good range. The low datarate is no problem at all in those cases.
    3G is gone or on its last legs everywhere, but this stuff still has too much use to cancel.

    Anyhow, interesting that they would put that in. I can see the point if you suspect a hostile 2G environment (amateur eavesdroppers with laptop, ranging up to professional grade MITM fake towers while “strangely” not getting the stronger crypto voip 4G because it is being jammed, and back down to something as old ‘stingray’ devices fallen into the wrong hands).

    But does this also mean that they have handled and rolled out a fix for that nasty 4G ‘pwn by broadcast’ problem you reported earlier this year? I had 4G disabled due to that, on the off chance that some of the local criminals would buy some cheap chinese gear, download a working exploit and probe every phone in range all over town in the hope of getting into phones of the police.

  5. Andy Prough said on August 19, 2023 at 3:04 am

    >”While most may never be attacked in stingrays, it is still recommended to disable 2G cellular connections, especially since it does not have any downsides.”

    The downside would be losing connectivity. I spend a lot of time way out in the countryside where there’s often no service or almost none. My network allows 2G, and I need it sometimes. I have an option on the phone to disable 2G, I may do that when I’m in the city and I have good 5G connectivity, but not out in the country.

    I would imagine that the stingray exploits, like most of the bad things in this world, are probably things you will run into in the crowded big cities.

  6. owl said on August 21, 2023 at 3:40 am

    I stopped using it in a mobile (Wi-Fi line) environment, so I’m almost ignorant of the actual situation,
    But the recent reality in Japan makes me realize that “the infrastructure of the web is nothing more than a papier-mâché fiction”.

    It is already beyond the scope of what an individual can do.
    What we should be aware of is the reality that “governments and those in power want to control the world through the Web”, and efforts to counter (resist and prevent) such ambitions are necessary.

  7. Anonymous said on August 26, 2023 at 9:27 pm

    Why do you want people to disable the privacy features? Hmmmmm?

  8. Anonymous said on August 27, 2023 at 2:30 am

    Now You: do you plan to keep the Ads privacy features enabled?

    I’d like to tell you, but apparently if you make a post critical of Google, you get censored. * [Editor: removed, just try to bring your opinion across without attacking anyone]

  9. Tachy said on August 27, 2023 at 5:15 am


    You website is still psychotic. Comments attach to random stories.

  10. John G. said on August 28, 2023 at 2:46 pm

    @Martin please do fix the comments, it’s completely insane commenting here! :[

  11. ECJ said on August 28, 2023 at 5:37 pm


    The comments are seriously messed up on gHacks now. These comments are mixed with the article at the below URL.

    And comments on other articles are from as far back as 2010.

  12. Naimless said on August 29, 2023 at 12:57 am

    What does this article has anything to do with all the comments on this article? LOL I think this Websuite is ran by ChatGPT. every article is messed up. Some older comments from 2015 shown up in recant articles, LOL

  13. Paul Knight said on August 31, 2023 at 3:35 am

    The picture captioned “Clearing the Android Auto’s cache might resolve the issue” is from Apple Carplay ;)

  14. Anonymous said on August 31, 2023 at 9:57 pm

    How about other things that matter:
    Drop survival?
    Screen toughness?
    Degree of water and dust protection?

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