Why you should risk using Chrome Beta for Android

Chrome is quickly becoming one of the most popular web browsers in the entire world on most platforms. (And by many accounts, it already is.) When adding new features, testing functionality, or considering changing the way the browser looks and works, Google builds a completely separate version of Chrome. On the desktop Google has a "Canary" build of Chrome and on mobile Google has packaged Chrome Beta for developers and early users who want to "get on the bleeding edge of the web."

Back in 2013 Google gave developers the ability to roll out beta versions of their applications. All the developers would have to do is create a Google Plus page or Google Group for users to join and link it to their application. When developers pushed out beta updates to test new things in their applications, they could monitor what worked and what broke without having it affecting most of their users. Unlike most developers who are using Google Play's beta channel functionality, Google built a separate beta application which they use to test new features that might make it to the stable build of Chrome.

The question is should you download and use Chrome Beta?

There are plenty of benefits and drawbacks to using beta software especially with Google's browser. To start, one of the main reasons to download this is for quicker and more frequent updates. Since it is beta, Google will be testing different things and with each update they can add functionality, fix issues with previously added features, or take out faulty aspects of the application completely. The second reason to use Chrome Beta is to get your hands on the newest and greatest before everybody else. In the the latest beta build, build 37, Google released an update to the application that gave the application's logo and user interface a Material Design redesign along with some bug fixes. This is a huge thing for most users because the stable Chrome build for Android will most likely not get the new look until we get closer to the official release of Android L.

Chrome Beta Screenshots

There are not many drawbacks to running Chrome Beta on your Android phone or tablet. The biggest is something that is seen in any software beta: bugs and other issues that can make the application function incorrectly. When running the stable build of Chrome, you can expect peace of mind as you browse the web and use the browser to its full capacity. When using Chrome Beta, there is always a chance the the app will force close on you randomly, not load something correctly, or just have aspects of the application not work at all.

The other issue is that it'll put one more browser on your phone. Depending on what you're using, that could very quickly give you three choices — and then you'll need to worry about setting a default app. That's not a big deal for many of us. But it could be a thing for novices.

So should you use Chrome Beta? The choice is yours. Google promotes the beta build of Chrome to developers who can use it to make sure their websites and web based applications work correctly when the update it rolled out to the masses. Google also wants average users to use Chrome Beta so that they can provide feedback when the app crashes on them or if they find a bug in the application. Luckily, you can always run the stable build of Chrome right along side of the Beta so that if you do find something broken and are no longer able to use the beta app, you will not be without a web browser.

Justin Duino
  • They've finally released a 64 bit browser for desktop :D Posted via Android Central App
  • Yeah Ive had to avoid it on the laptop until now. Macbook doesnt heat at all using Chrome Canary.
  • Chrome has been 64-bit on Linux desktop platform for years.
  • Has been for months on Dev version. Posted via Android Central App
  • I've exclusively used the beta version ever since they made it available, and it's always been just as stable as the official version. Same goes for the beta build of Chrome for OS X I've never had any crash or functionality issues with that, either. Can't say the same for the beta build of Chrome OS, though. I've run into several issues using extensions with the beta build that didn't give me any problems on the stable build.
  • Sorry, but if youve used the beta version exclusively since it came out, how can you compare it to the normal version?
  • He stated "since they made it available", so he likely used chrome prior. That's the road I've taken and the comparison is much the same. No issues other then the usual page issue which may be site related, other users experiences may differ, we all have different usage habits. Posted via Android Central App
  • Exactly. I used the stable version of Chrome since it was released (I got the Galaxy Nexus pretty close to release day), and used that up until the beta version was made available.
  • Personally, I never have had any issues with Chrome Beta on my Android devices. The Canary build for my OS X machine once wouldn't let Silverlight work so basically I lost Netflix for a week... worst thing ever...
  • Isn't Canary a nightly? Just use Chrome Beta on the desktop too. Similar stability to Beta for Android.
  • Yeah, Canary is the "use at your own risk because lots of stuff might not work" build. I play around with it on OS X once in a while, but it's been a little too buggy for regular use in my experience.
  • I thought canary was strictly a Dev tool...I have it and Chrome Beta on my school Win7 laptop Posted via Android Central App
  • Likewise (on my portable devices) I actually disable the Chrome Browser altogether and use Chrome Browser Beta as my main choice.
  • I'm generally down with whatever Google wants to do with their software as long as usability and functionality stays the same, that being said, the L preview makes Chrome considerably less user friendly. I like to know how many tabs I have open and I also like to be able to refresh a tab without having to go into settings. Hopefully Google doesn't take minimalism to the extreme at the cost of functionality and ease of use. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I couldn't agree more. I tested it out for about 2 minutes and ditched it. I'm hoping those features are not removed when they take the new design live. Thereafter, I read reviews saying they also removed the ability to swipe between tabs from the address bar? Is that true? If so, that is equally bad. I use the quick tab switch excessively.
  • Just downloaded it to test it again... I was incorrect, it is the search the page feature, which populates as the first option in the address bar, that is missing. Another awesome feature they should NOT remove. The swipe between tabs is still there, though.
  • Just remember that since it is still beta and the new look hasn't been pushed out to the stable build yet, Google is probably still playing around with the graphics. I think those functions like refresh and ect will come back to the window panel and not require opening the overflow menu.
  • On the other hand, also remember that Google LOVES reducing functionality and practicality when they do UI updates. They're always cutting features or hiding then away in some obscure menu so the main ui is simpler. Posted via Android Central App
  • I've used the beta for a long time and it is usually very stable. I do think Google does the beta the right way, for example I stopped beta testing Facebook because it was too unstable a lot of the time and I wasn't willing to keep uninstalling and reinstalling. Too much of a hurdle. The extra browser doesn't bother me, I've got half a dozen of them at least. What's one more? lol Posted via Android Central App
  • After the material design l switched to beta full time. Posted via Android Central App
  • The beta does not work with LastPass,
  • Nor will it ever work again unless Google starts allowing plugins. This build broke the javascript that LastPass uses.
  • Weak article.
    In the title you write "Why we SHOULD risk.."
    But in the article you write "the choice is yours"
    wth? I use chrome beta exclusively
  • I still didnt get that playstore update. im on a freaking nexus 5! maybe cuz im runing dev L atm. anyone know the apk for that?
  • nvm
  • How's the L release working for you? I'm using it on my N7 and haven't had any significant issues, but I can't install it on my N5 since that's my work phone.
  • nothing major. app crashes here and there but a huge nuisance is a lock screen loop where you'll enter your pin and it unlocks then then nav and stat bar disappear and its locks. over and over again. restart fixes it or if you can unlock straight into a landscape app. and press home b4 its disappears. i've read its only with the pin security tho. other than that works very well and very smooth btw im running it using multi-boot
  • I find the Beta version locks fairly often on my Nexus 10. Usually at least once during a 15 minute internet run. I get frustrated, move to the non-beta version and finish up what I'm doing. Takes a full close and sometimes a reboot to get it to stop acting up. I'm about ready to trash it and go back to the non-beta.
  • My only major issue on BETA for Android is white dead tabs. Click on Bookmarks, wait and stare at blank nothingness. I have to close tab and open a new one. I usually get frustrated and uninstall BETA.
  • been using beta since Casting was available on it, and never looked back.
  • It was laggy and weird in recent updates for me so I am sticking with the regular version. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Same here, been getting a complete blank white screen often too, forcing me back to the stable version to get things done! But that's what a beta is I suppose!
  • The same issue sent me ,tail between legs, back to stable.
  • Chrome is good but really needs features like reading mode which is almost like a must in all browsers. Posted via Android Central App using galaxy s4
  • I thought this article was going to give reasons why I should get the beta. All it did was talk about what is generally offered in a beta experience. (frequent updates and "staying on the edge of new releases")
  • get used to it... one of the reasons I hate clicking on the AndroidCentral articles because they hide their articles behind a paragraph that tell you absolutely nothing to hopefully draw you in. Then once you've clicked the link to open the whole article you soon feel DEEP regret that you did because the article's title was either misleading or vague and the article you just read was almost worthless...
  • So let me get this straight. You opened this article and felt such deepful regret about it's near worthlessness, that you read all of the comments, and decided to comment yourself? Anyway, I'm on N5 with AOKP and have had zero issues running the beta version. In fact, I've actually uninstalled the public release since the beta has been so stable.
  • haha of course not... I jumped to the bottom after a couple of comments and the message I commented on just so happened to be the last one.
  • Gotcha. I do that sometimes too. As somebody pointed out, the comments section is usually way more informative and entertaining than the articles...
  • The comments seem to have more useful and amusing information than the articles!
  • Is there actually any risk involved at all? Worst case is that you don't get to see the web page you want because the browser force closes or you get a blank white screen like the latest beta build is doing on some pages?
  • That's true, but not everyone knows that. A lot of people see "beta" and think "unsuitable for regular use."
  • I agree. I thought "risk" was a bit over the top under the circumstances.
  • I had used the Beta previously and had no complaints in terms of fucntionality in doing so. I don't like the fact they aren't using the Play Store channel as other apps do for their Beta releases. While Facebook is currently very wonky on my phone, I prefer the way it writes over the stable release so I only have one installation. Because Chrome comes pre-loaded on my Droid Maxx and I can't uninstall it, I'm left disabling and still having it take up space. SwiftKey Beta releases were like this as well, but at least I could go with only one install of their app (the Beta). That created other issues as the on-device data it stored didn't migrate in to the official version or vice versa. Things like keystrokes saved and other data not synced to the Cloud were lost (fortunately I didn't care that much about those). So far, I haven't seen a feature that makes me want to go back to the Chrome Beta.
  • Still waiting for a mobile browser that supports drag/drop in web apps. How does this continue to be overlooked?
  • This ^ Posted via Android Central App
  • I like Chrome, but I stick with the official build.
    Smartphone web browsing is still the most finicky part of the smartphone experience, I don't need extra possible bugs to deal with as well.
    It's pretty much the law of beta software, for each bug fixed, at least one and normally 2 or more are introduced lol
  • Used it since it's release with no problems
    I find it to be faster the non-beta version Posted via Android Central App
  • Beta? I can't use the regular version as it lags too much compared to the AOSP based stock Samsung browser on my Note 2 and OG 10.1 (or side loaded AOSP browser on my OG Nexus 7). But the real deal breaker; Chrome doesn't support S-Pen hover scrolling, a feature of the Note series I use all the time!
  • I still prefer to use the Android AOSP browser on my phone and tablet. Just find it more fluid and faster than Chrome. I really really wanna like Chrome (on anything other than my desktop) but its just not working out lol
  • Betas are fun. Simple as that.
  • I love the Play Store's new Material Design look, so I was hoping for more of that with Chrome Beta. Instead, it looks very similar to the non-beta version, and in my opinion, isn't worth dealing with potential bugs, crashing, etc. I'm not sure I'll use it often, but I will keep Chrome Beta installed for an early look at future features, though. Posted via AC App on HTC One
  • they recently broke a very useful feature on it... "plusing" up some info that you search to the search bar, without actually running the search. i find that to be a pain.not sure if anyone follows what i'm saying, but if you do then you'll know how bad this sucks now.
  • I just wish I could have RockMelt back. AC App via Nexus 5
  • I miss Rocket so much
  • The beta version runs smoother than regular Chrome on my Nexus 5. The material design of the beta is very nice so I use it as my daily driver without issue. Sent from my Note 10.1 via Android Central App
  • Totally hate V37: looks clean and pretty but all the functionality as gone. Find in page as gone in the omnibox, refresh now two clicks instead of one where it was doing no harm where it was before, tab numbering gone. Christ, I hope this isn't the future as I've let them know. Beta has always been my browser of choice apart from two or three dodgy builds a while back, but this version is pretty useless to me right now so I've had to go back to the standard version. Pretty peed off to be honest. Posted via Android Central App
  • Based on the article, and the beta itself, I don't see the point. The article is titled "Why you should risk using Chrome Beta for Android", yet it provides no reasons. The author mentions some minor drawbacks, but doesn't list any features. The closest thing I saw to a recommendation was "new materials", and they don't seem to be visible under Kit-Kat.
  • Very naive this post. Right along side your other Chrome? What about those that remove it, as it isn't needed with the beta? Have to acknowledge that possibility. Posted via Android Central App
  • I've never liked Chrome on Android even though I used it for years on my PC. It seems to retain history permanently, so exiting forces me to go all the way back to "Take a Tour", which I can never get rid of. There is no way to set a start page. Not even close to the usability of the desktop version. Posted via Android Central App
  • I like the beta version better than the normal stock version on my phone. Posted via Android Central App
  • The single thing that prevents me from using Chrome on Android for my primary browser is the continuing lack of quick controls. The AOSP browser has had them for ages and yet Chrome still won't include them, even in the labs. I just like the ease of controlling my browser from a quick controls point of view rather than having to do everything through a menu.
  • I have been using the Chrome App on my phone for the past week (or 2 weeks) and WOW!!! The new UI is amazing and the "beta" works flawlessly. I have made this the default app on my phone. Impressed!