May 21, 2019

Now in stable] Chrome testing search-friendly omnibox with faster URL copy and share actions

Part of the changes introduced with Chrome’s Duet interface (previously known as Duplex) is a new search button in the bottom bar that lets you jump to the address bar and perform a Google search. But until now, it wasn’t clear that you could start typing a new query immediately, as the URL was still there and highlighted. A new Chrome flag has been added to clarify things, plus make it easier to share or copy the current page’s URL. 

Currently available on Chrome Dev and Canary, the chrome://flags/#enable-search-ready-omnibox flag (copy this address and go to it) is behind these changes.

Previously, if you were viewing a webpage and tapped the search icon in the bottom bar (with Chrome Duet enabled), the current URL was selected with a blue highlight and some suggestions were added below it. If you wanted to copy the URL, you’d need to tap and hold to get the copy option. And to perform a search, you had to start typing your new query.

Now, tapping the search icon results in an empty omnibox. It’s clearer that you can perform a new search or enter a new address. Below it, the current URL is visible with added icons to edit it, share it, and copy it.

Left: Chrome 71 stable. Right: Chrome 73 Dev.

In the example above, you’ll see that the copy icon is missing — we’re not sure why. Both Artem and I don’t see it on Chrome Dev or Canary, but our two tipsters have it (as seen in the screenshot at the top of the post).

From a usability perspective, the change makes more sense to me, but we definitely need a properly working copy icon. The only downside is that it’s not clear how you can change the current URL if you entered it wrong or if you want to navigate to a similar address/different subpage. You’ll need to get used to that new edit icon for that.

Since this is a flag, some users will see the new behavior while most will get the old one for a while. However, you can still manually enable it if you want to test it.

Chrome Dev
Chrome Dev
Chrome Canary (Unstable)
Chrome Canary (Unstable)

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