File Under: Browsers, Mobile

Chrome for Android Doesn’t Need No Stinking Mobile Websites

Chrome for Android. Photo: Ariel Zambelich/Wired.com

Google has released an upgrade for its new Chrome for Android web browser. Chrome for Android — which was released earlier this year — is still a beta release, but the latest version adds several nice new features, including a way to circumvent websites that try to force a mobile version on you.

The latest version of Chrome for Android can be downloaded from the Google Play store. Note that Chrome for Android requires Android 4.0 or better.

This release fixes a number of bugs and adds some new features, like the ability to reload a site that has redirected you to a mobile page. Despite Jakob Nielsen’s recent pronouncement that users want to be auto-redirected to simplified mobile sites, Google’s Chrome for Android developers think otherwise.

Chrome for Android’s new feature subverts websites that automatically redirect you to a mobile version by spoofing Chrome for Android’s user agent string, in this case sending the string for the desktop version of Chrome instead of the mobile (which developers should note has been updated as well).

The new feature means that if a site offers a sub-par mobile experience by default, you can always reload the desktop version with the press of a button.

Also new in this release is the ability to add bookmarks to your home screen for fast access to your favorite sites and web apps.

In addition to the new features, Chrome for Android is now available in 31 more languages and in all countries where Google Play is supported. Chrome for Android is still a beta release and there are plenty of known issues, but the browser is getting closer to a finished product.