The Google Chrome Team Abandoned an iOS 15 Safari-Like Redesign Years Ago

BY Rajesh Pandey

Published 27 Jul 2021

One of the highlights of iOS 15 is the redesigned Safari. At WWDC 2021, Apple claimed the new Safari experience in iOS 15 would be substantially better than before. However, as people running iOS 15 beta are realizing, the new Safari design is a usability disaster. Now, a former Googler has revealed that Google tried a similar redesign for Chrome for Android back in 2016 but then abandoned it.

There’s a new tab bar design in Safari, which Apple has placed at the bottom of the screen for easy reachability. This might sound good on paper, but in reality, the tab bar ends up interfering with the design of many websites. Ex-Googler Chris Lee shares on his personal blog that Google also tried a similarly ambitious redesign of the Chrome for Android homepage dubbed Chrome Home.

Despite the former Googler himself strongly pitching for the new design, it was ultimately clear to him that going ahead with the launch would not be a good idea.

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.

The common factor between the Chrome Home design and the new Safari design is that they aim to make full use of the growing display sizes of today’s smartphones while still keeping one-handed usage a priority.

It is clear that Apple has a lot of work to do with the new Safari design in iOS 15. The company has constantly been making changes to Safari with every new beta release of iOS 15. Here’s hoping Apple gets around to fixing all the Safari design woes before the public release of iOS 15 later this year.

Apart from Safari, Apple is also bringing a ton of new features to your iPhone with iOS 15.