Chrome Home — Abandoned Redesign of Mobile Chrome Circa 2016, With Goals Similar to Those of Mobile Safari 15

Chris Lee, on Twitter:

I’ve been fascinated to watch the reaction to Safari in iOS 15 because in 2016-2017, I worked on a similar redesign for mobile Chrome that we never launched. Finally decided to tell a bit of that story here.

His story:

I created the original concept and pitch for Chrome Home in 2016. It was based off two insights:

  1. Phones were growing in size, and we had opportunity to innovate in creating a gestural, spatial interface that would still be usable with one hand.

  2. Mobile Chrome was also growing in features — but because its minimalist interface kept everything behind a “three dot” menu, these features were underutilized and hard to access.

The idea caught traction internally, eventually becoming a Chrome org priority. […]

We heard 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.

Really curious to see what the next betas of Safari look like on iOS and iPadOS. I spent all weekend with my spare phone running iOS 15 b3 and the new Safari design is not growing on me, at all.

Monday, 26 July 2021