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
12 months 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
12 months 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
12 months 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
12 months 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
12 months 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
12 months 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 iphone home screen

Google Basically Wants Your iPhone 13 Home Screen to Look Like Android

Tuesday September 28, 2021 5:59 am PDT by
In a new blog post titled "Bring the best of Google to your iPhone," Google is on an endeavor to convince new iPhone 13 users to transform their ‌device’s home screen to look like Android. The blog post, written by Google's director for the iOS platform, features screenshots of an iPhone 13 home screen filled with Google apps and widgets. The post implies that customers should possibly...
safari icon blue banner

Microsoft Edge Looks Set to Overtake Safari as World's Second Most Popular Desktop Browser

Tuesday February 22, 2022 6:48 am PST by
Microsoft Edge is on the verge of overtaking Safari as the world's second most popular desktop browser, web analytics service StatCounter reports (via TechRadar). According to the data, Microsoft Edge is now used on 9.54 percent of desktops worldwide, a mere 0.3 percent behind Apple's Safari, which stands at 9.84 percent. Google Chrome continues to hold first place with an overwhelming 65.38 ...
webkit logo

Web Developers Form Advocacy Group to Allow Other Browser Engines on iOS

Wednesday March 2, 2022 4:29 am PST by
Apple is being challenged by a group of developers to end WebKit's dominance on its mobile devices and allow other browser engines on iPhone and iPad, following accusations that the current situation amounts to anti-competitive conduct. For those unfamiliar with WebKit, Apple's browser engine powers Safari and other areas of the operating system where web content is displayed. Apple requires ...
macos monterey safari design reverted

macOS Monterey Release Candidate Undoes Safari Changes, Reintroduces Old Tab Design

Monday October 18, 2021 12:33 pm PDT by
Apple has admitted defeat on the Safari design changes that have been present for the entire macOS Monterey beta, and the release candidate that was provided to developers today reverts to the old style that was available prior to Safari 15. Safari design in the macOS Monterey release candidate macOS Monterey now features a standard Big Sur tab design that does have the tabs with spaces in...
safari redesign ipados 15 beta 4

iPadOS 15 Gains macOS Monterey's Redesigned Safari Tab Interface

Tuesday July 27, 2021 10:47 am PDT by
The fourth beta of iPadOS 15 that was released today introduces tweaks to Safari, with the Safari layout now mirroring the updated layout that was introduced in macOS Monterey Beta 3. The new Safari design in iPadOS 15 beta 4 Prior to this beta, Safari on iPad was similar to Safari on iOS with no dedicated tab bar, but after the update, Apple has added a dedicated tab bar that's activated by...
safari 15 1 old tabs

Apple Releases New Big Sur and Catalina Safari 15.1 Betas for Developers With Restored Tab Design

Wednesday October 20, 2021 6:24 pm PDT by
Following in the footsteps of the macOS Monterey release candidate seeded earlier this week, Apple has released a fourth beta version of Safari 15.1 for macOS Big Sur and Catalina to developers that restores the previous tab design that was in place prior to Safari 15. Safari 15.1 now features a standard Big Sur tab design, which is enabled by default and is labeled "Separate" in Safari...
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 ...
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...

Popular Stories

macbook air m2

Exclusive: Apple Plans to Launch MacBook Air With M2 Chip on July 15

Wednesday June 29, 2022 5:23 pm PDT by
The redesigned MacBook Air with the all-new M2 Apple silicon chip will be available for customers starting Friday, July 15, MacRumors has learned from a retail source. The new MacBook Air was announced and previewed during WWDC earlier this month, with Apple stating availability will begin in July. The MacBook Air features a redesigned body that is thinner and lighter than the previous...
original iphone 2007

15 Years Ago Today, the iPhone Went On Sale

Wednesday June 29, 2022 4:43 am PDT by
Fifteen years ago to this day, the iPhone, the revolutionary device presented to the world by the late Steve Jobs, officially went on sale. The first iPhone was announced by Steve Jobs on January 9, 2007, and went on sale on June 29, 2007. "An iPod, a phone, an internet mobile communicator... these are not three separate devices," Jobs famously said. "Today, Apple is going to reinvent the...
maxresdefault

Video Comparison: M2 MacBook Pro vs. M1 MacBook Pro

Tuesday June 28, 2022 2:45 pm PDT by
Apple last week launched an updated version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro, and it is the first Mac that is equipped with an updated M2 chip. As it's using a brand new chip, we thought we'd pick up the M2 MacBook Pro and compare it to the prior-generation M1 MacBook Pro to see just what's new. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. For the video comparison, we're using the...
iPhone vs Galaxy Larger

Apple Executive Says Samsung Copied the iPhone and Simply 'Put a Bigger Screen Around It'

Tuesday June 28, 2022 8:59 am PDT by
The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern today shared a new documentary about the evolution of the iPhone ahead of the 15th anniversary of the device launching on June 29, 2007. The documentary includes an interview with Apple's marketing chief Greg Joswiak, iPhone co-creator Tony Fadell, and a family of iPhone users. One segment of the interview reflects on Android smartphones gaining larger...
iPhone 11 Pro vs iPhone 14 Pro

iPhone 11 Pro vs. 14 Pro: New Features to Expect if You've Waited to Upgrade

Monday June 27, 2022 11:22 am PDT by
With many customers choosing to upgrade their iPhone every two or three years nowadays, there are lots of iPhone 11 Pro users who might be interested in upgrading to the iPhone 14 Pro later this year. Those people are in for a treat, as three years of iPhone generations equals a long list of new features and changes to look forward to. Below, we've put together a list of new features and...
Mac Studio IO

Apple Begins Selling Refurbished Mac Studio Models

Thursday June 30, 2022 7:42 pm PDT by
Apple today began selling refurbished Mac Studio models for the first time in the United States, Canada, and select European countries, such as Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. In the United States, two refurbished Mac Studio configurations are currently available, including one with the M1 Max chip (10-core CPU and 24-core GPU) for...
rootbug

Major macOS High Sierra Bug Allows Full Admin Access Without Password - How to Fix [Updated]

Tuesday November 28, 2017 12:33 pm PST by
There appears to be a serious bug in macOS High Sierra that enables the root superuser on a Mac with a blank password and no security check. The bug, discovered by developer Lemi Ergin, lets anyone log into an admin account using the username "root" with no password. This works when attempting to access an administrator's account on an unlocked Mac, and it also provides access at the login...