Chrome Ditched Redesign That Was Similar to Safari in iOS 15, Says Former Google Employee

Apple introduced a sweeping overhaul to its Safari browser's interface on iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey, with a redesign that includes an address bar that floats at the bottom of the screen, changes to the way users switch tabs, and more.

safari
Apple says this new-look Safari has been "reimagined for the way we browse today." In ‌iOS 15‌, for example, Apple says the new floating address bar means Safari "maximizes your screen space and stays out of the way as you scroll and explore." However, some of the changes on both desktop and mobile have been heavily criticized by some users.

It turns out Google tried something similar in 2016 for its own home-grown browser. According to Chris Lee, a former Google designer, Google began developing a redesign for the Chrome mobile app called "Chrome Home" that was very similar to the one Apple is currently aiming at for Safari.

Lee was a staff interaction designer at Google at the time, and on his personal blog (via 9to5Google), Lee says he created the "original concept and pitch" for an "ambitious redesign of mobile Chrome's main UI."

It brought Chrome's toolbar to the bottom of the screen and turned [it] into a peeking panel that could be swiped to expose additional controls.

Swiping up on the address bar displayed the Discover and recent sites, Downloads, Bookmarks and History, while other features were accessible in a menu via an ellipsis (three dot) icon, which consolidated key browsing options and simplified one-handed operation in an era of growing screen sizes.

Lee says Chrome Home "caught traction internally, eventually becoming a Chrome org priority." However, after live beta tests and sustained experiments, the team received "a mixture of reactions."

The feature gained a cult following among the tech community, but for many mainstream users, the change felt disorienting. Chrome serves billions of users around the globe with varying tech literacy. Over the course of many iterations, I became increasingly convinced that launching Chrome Home would not serve all our users well.

So just as I strongly as I had pitched the original concept, I advocated for us to stop the launch - which took not a small amount of debate.

Ultimately, the redesign was killed off in 2018. Lee suggests that though Chrome Home was short-lived that doesn't mean it was a wasted effort, but rather a lesson about "the intentionality needed to innovate within a product of massive scale."

For Safari users, the question now is whether Apple's mixed feedback from its beta testers will be enough to steer the browser's redesign towards an end result that's more broadly acceptable to its user base, or if the company's intention lies in forcing through a change that it believes will grow on people given time.

Updates to ‌iOS 15‌ Beta 3 and ‌macOS Monterey‌ Beta 3 suggest it could be the former: Apple has walked back some of the design changes it had in mind for Safari on both desktop and mobile, but we won't find out what the finished article will be like until both operating systems are released in September.

Related Roundups: iOS 15, iPadOS 15
Tag: Safari
Related Forum: iOS 15

Top Rated Comments

dazlicous Avatar
26 weeks ago
Hate the Safari on iOS 15 on my phone. that floating bar at the bottom is horrendous

Never mind swipe down to refresh. If on forums not good either if you wanna refresh to check for new posts
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
contacos Avatar
26 weeks ago
Apple needs to rethink this abomination too. I am no longer using Safari on my iOS 15 testing device. It is annoying and not intuitive at all. How is anyone supposed to know you can press and hold on three different areas of the address bar to get different menus with additional options that are not part of the "..." so stupid.

I do not know how Apple is using the internet "today" but that is not it. Usually I scroll and read from the top downwards with most information being provided at the bottom because websites tend to have the navigation on top anyway. However, now that stupid address bar bubble is covering that very content I am trying to read!

Also the argument with the "maximised content" is such BS because now you got this big white space between the notch and the website content instead
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
makitango Avatar
26 weeks ago
The problem is that the prior bar was condensed into the top combined bar w/ the notch (even smaller when scrolling down) and you received the full screen all the way down from there. Now you lose all that acreen estate that the iPhone X was advertising for.

Big design flaw.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
LawJolla Avatar
26 weeks ago
No one discusses the real issue... it's a complete mess for website that use bottom/footer navigation. Good luck clicking that chat icon for help.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
grr74 Avatar
26 weeks ago

Hate the Safari on iOS 15 on my phone. that floating bar at the bottom is horrendous

Never mind swipe down to refresh. If on forums not good either if you wanna refresh to check for new posts
I think the redesign is fantastic. The New York Times app made similar changes, moving controls to the bottom of the screen, which also improved the experience.

But perhaps Apple could give users the option of going with the new design or the old for those who don't want to change.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
creeman Avatar
26 weeks ago

No one discusses the real issue... it's a complete mess for website that use bottom/footer navigation. Good luck clicking that chat icon for help.
This is the most annoying part. Apple expects the Internet to redesign for them.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

Google Chrome Material Icon 450x450

Google Touts Chrome 89 Memory Savings That 'Keep Your Mac Cooler' While Browsing

Friday March 12, 2021 2:28 am PST by
Google's Chrome browser has been criticized for years for being a system resource hog, but Chromium developers are making some loud claims about how much smarter the latest version is at using and freeing up memory on macOS. According to a new post on Google's Chromium blog, Chrome developers recently managed to shrink the memory footprint of background tabs on Mac by up to 8%, or just over...
chrome 90

Chrome 90 Defaults to HTTPS, Adds AV1 Codec for Optimized Video Conferencing

Thursday April 15, 2021 1:09 am PDT by
Google today rolled out Chrome 90 to its stable channel, introducing automatic preference for HTTPS sites over the HTTP protocol, plus some other notable changes. By default, Chrome will now redirect all websites to use the more secure HTTPS protocol. Encrypted using Transport Layer Security (TLS), HTTPS secures communication over networks by authenticating the website and protecting the...
safari icon blue banner

macOS Monterey 12.2 and iOS 15.3 Release Candidates Fix Safari Bug That Leaks Browsing Activity

Thursday January 20, 2022 1:30 pm PST by
The macOS Monterey 12.2 and iOS 15.3 release candidates that came out today appear to address a Safari bug that could cause your recent browsing history and details about your identity to be leaked to malicious entities. As shared last week by browser fingerprinting service FingerprintJS, there is an issue with the WebKit implementation of the IndexedDB JavaScript API. Any website that uses...
safari icon blue banner

Apple Prepares Fix for Safari Bug Allowing Websites to Decipher Your Recent Browsing Activity

Tuesday January 18, 2022 6:28 pm PST by
Over the weekend, we reported on a bug in WebKit's implementation of a JavaScript API called IndexedDB that can reveal your recent browsing history and even your identity, according to browser fingerprinting service FingerprintJS. Apple has since prepared a fix for the bug, according to a WebKit commit on GitHub, but the fix will not be available to users until Apple releases macOS Monterey, ...
shazam chrome extension

Apple's Shazam Music Recognition Service Now Available as Chrome Extension

Monday January 10, 2022 4:53 pm PST by
Apple at the end of 2021 appears to have quietly released a new Shazam extension for Chrome users, which can be used to identify songs that are playing using the popular music recognition service. Apple has owned Shazam since 2017, but even before that, Shazam was built into Apple devices at the operating system level. On an iPhone or a Mac, users can ask Siri to identify any song that's...
google chrome macos big sur

Chrome Used 10X More RAM Than Safari on macOS Big Sur in Recent Test [Updated]

Saturday February 20, 2021 12:52 pm PST by
Under normal and lightweight web browsing, Google Chrome uses 10x more RAM than Safari on macOS Big Sur, according to a test conducted by Flotato creator Morten Just (via iMore). In a blog post, Just outlines that he put both browsers to the test in two scenarios on the latest version of macOS. The first test was conducted on a virtual machine, and the second on a 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro...
chrome widget

Chrome for iOS Gains Widget Support With Version 90 Release

Monday May 10, 2021 1:14 pm PDT by
Google today introduced Chrome 90 for iPhones, iPads, and the iPod touch, adding support for new Search and Dino widgets on devices running a version of iOS 14. There are three separate Chrome widgets available. There's a two tile search interface that lets you conduct a quick search with quick access to voice search and incognito mode, a single tile search widget, and a shortcut to play the ...
safari icon blue banner

Safari Bug Allows Websites to Track Your Recent Browsing Activity in Real Time [Updated]

Sunday January 16, 2022 3:37 pm PST by
A bug in WebKit's implementation of a JavaScript API called IndexedDB can reveal your recent browsing history and even your identity, according to a blog post shared on Friday by browser fingerprinting service FingerprintJS. In a nutshell, the bug allows any website that uses IndexedDB to access the names of IndexedDB databases generated by other websites during a user's browsing session....

Popular Stories

airpodsinear 1

AirPods Save Woman's Life With Feature Everyone Should Know

Friday January 21, 2022 2:13 am PST by
Apple's AirPods have been credited with saving a woman's life after a potentially fatal fall, People reports. When a 60-year-old florist in New Jersey tripped and hit her head in her studio, she lost consciousness and awoke heavily bleeding. With nobody around to call for help, she realized she had her AirPods in, and used a "Hey Siri" command to call 911. An operator was able to stay on the ...
iphone 13 earpods

Apple to Stop Including EarPods With Every iPhone Sold in France From Next Week

Friday January 21, 2022 3:21 am PST by
Apple will no longer include EarPods with every iPhone sold in France, starting on January 24, according to a notice posted by a French carrier (via iGeneration). Apple was previously required to include EarPods in the box with the iPhone due to a French law that required every smartphone sold in the country to come with a "handsfree kit," but the law has now been changed in favor of reducing the ...
peloton tv workout cardio

Apple Floated as Potential Buyer of Peloton

Friday January 21, 2022 6:11 am PST by
Following months of bleak news about Peloton's "precarious state," including the revelation that it has halted production of its bikes and treadmills, Apple is being floated as a potential buyer of Peloton's troubled fitness business. Yesterday, CNBC reported that Peloton will temporarily stop production of its connected fitness products due to a "significant reduction" in consumer demand, a ...
Questionable Design Decisions

Apple's Most Questionable Design Decisions in Recent Memory

Sunday January 23, 2022 2:59 am PST by
Apple has always emphasized the depth of thought that goes into the design of its products. In the foreword to Designed by Apple in California, a photo book released by the company in 2016, Jony Ive explains how Apple strives "to define objects that appear effortless" and "so simple, coherent and inevitable that there could be no rational alternative." But every once in a while even Apple...
Spring 2022 Apple Products Feature

New iPad Air, Macs, and iPhone SE With 5G Likely to Be Announced at Apple Event This Spring

Thursday January 20, 2022 8:32 am PST by
Earlier this week, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman tweeted that Apple "will be holding a spring event" to announce a new iPhone SE and other hardware. In a recent edition of his newsletter, Gurman said the event is likely to occur in March or April. Gurman did not elaborate on what "other hardware" will be announced at Apple's purported spring event, but rumors suggest at least four products are...
Upcoming Products 2022 Feature

Gurman: Apple Preparing 'Widest Array of New Hardware Products in Its History' for Fall

Sunday January 23, 2022 10:32 am PST by
Apple is working on a number of new products that are set to launch this fall, and Bloomberg's Mark Gurman says that it will be "the widest array" of new devices that Apple has introduced in its history. In his latest "Power On" newsletter, Gurman explains that Apple is working on four new iPhones (5G iPhone SE, iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max), an updated low-end MacBook Pro,...
apple watch series 7 aluminum colors yellowbg

Apple Watch Charging Bug Fixed in watchOS 8.4 Release Candidate

Thursday January 20, 2022 4:01 pm PST by
The watchOS 8.4 release candidate that was seeded to developers and beta testers this morning addresses an ongoing bug that could cause some Apple Watch chargers not to work properly with the Apple Watch. Back in December, we reported on a growing number of charging issues that Apple Watch Series 7 owners were facing. Since watchOS 8.3, there have been a number of complaints about...
safari icon blue banner

macOS Monterey 12.2 and iOS 15.3 Release Candidates Fix Safari Bug That Leaks Browsing Activity

Thursday January 20, 2022 1:30 pm PST by
The macOS Monterey 12.2 and iOS 15.3 release candidates that came out today appear to address a Safari bug that could cause your recent browsing history and details about your identity to be leaked to malicious entities. As shared last week by browser fingerprinting service FingerprintJS, there is an issue with the WebKit implementation of the IndexedDB JavaScript API. Any website that uses...
apple college discounts

Apple Walks Back UNiDAYS Verification Requirement for U.S. Education Store

Friday January 21, 2022 12:43 pm PST by
Earlier this week, Apple began requiring that customers taking advantage of educational discounts in the United States verify their status as a teacher, student, or school staff member through UNiDAYS. The requirement was a major change as Apple had never asked customers to go through a verification process in the United States before, and now, just three days after verification was added,...