Google Chrome could start reading to you in custom tabs

Google Chrome logo on a phone screen
(Image credit: Jay Bonggolto / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Chrome Canary for Android shows signs of a new "Read Aloud" function for the browser's "custom tabs" present in apps like X (formerly Twitter).
  • Users will find options similar to Google Assistant's, such as playback, speed, voice, and text highlight controls.
  • Another flag in the code suggests a "history" could arrive for custom tabs, giving users an easier experience when it comes to rediscovering sites visited.

Google appears to be developing a new reading function for its Chrome browser on Android devices.

According to Leopeva64 on X, Chrome Canary on Android features a new chrome://flags/#read-aloud-in-cct flag that adds a new menu to custom tabs (via Android Police). The menu contains a "Listen to this page" option, which enables the Chrome browser that appears in apps like X (formerly Twitter) to read to users audibly.

The function operates similarly to Google Assistant as the code shows playback and reading speed customization options. The deep dive showed users could choose between different AI voices while also deciding if they'd like the text to highlight as Chrome reads aloud.

Unfortunately, much like the Assistant's version, users may not be able to continue listening if they've closed the website in Chrome's custom tabs.

Additionally, Chrome Canary features a chrome://flags/#app-specific-history flag for custom tabs that might help users backtrack, stated Leopeva64. The code states, when enabled, "history results will also be categorized by application." Essentially, websites visited through apps where Chrome's custom tabs appear will be collected in its own "history" for rediscovery.

At the moment, the feature isn't working properly as even with the flag, nothing appears aside from its description.

The experimental version of Chrome on Android has been busy as it recently showed signs that the browser will support one-time permissions for websites. The floating box for permissions now shows "Allow this time" alongside "Allow on every visit" and "Don't allow" when asking for permissions such as your location.

Google is seemingly extending such support after desktop PCs gained the function during version 116 of Chrome in August 2023. While the feature is still under development for Android phones, if "Allow this time" is selected, the permission in question will be revoked upon exit. It's currently speculated Android devices could see Chrome's one-time permissions arrive during version 122 in the next few months, but nothing is set in stone.

Nickolas Diaz
News Writer

Nickolas is always excited about tech and getting his hands on it. Writing for him can vary from delivering the latest tech story to scribbling in his journal. When Nickolas isn't hitting a story, he's often grinding away at a game or chilling with a book in his hand.