Google has a hit on its hands with Material Design in my opinion, which is why it’s great to see it already making its way into some products ahead of Android L’s general consumer launch. Today, Google updated the Chrome Beta for Android with some new features, including single sign-in for Gmail, Maps and Search so long as you’re signed into Chrome, but also introducing some Material Design looks to the mobile browser.
The simplified sign-in is a great feature on its own, since it means that so long as you’re signed into Chrome on your Android device with your Google account, navigating to Gmail, Maps or Search will show you logged-in versions of each site, instead of asking you to log in again each time. If you have multiple Google Accounts on your device, you’ll have access to any other of those accounts in Chrome for Android, too.
These new features are definitely going to save users some frustration in terms of removing some friction from the process of using Google properties online. Of course, it also means that if you lose your device and you’re signed in on Chrome, anyone who finds your device and gets through any security you have set up in terms of a lockscreen will have an easier time getting access to your various accounts.
On balance, however, Google has introduced a lot of tools that should help with securing your information, including the Android Device Manager, and I’d be willing to trade some increased risk for not having to fuss with passwords repeatedly, especially with the added hump of two-factor authentication.
The new looks aren’t too shabby either. The home page now drops most of the chrome from Chrome, and the Incognito mode looks like the one that recently changed its looks on the desktop. Search also has a more pared down look with bold contrast and edge-to-edge elements other Material Design hallmarks.
Anyone can grab the Beta (a separate app from the stable build) if they’re interested in taking this new version for a spin.