Home Android 6 secret settings for smarter sharing in Chrome on Android

6 secret settings for smarter sharing in Chrome on Android


Oh — hello there. So, you like uncovering awesome advanced powers for your Android phone browser, do ya? You’ve thoroughly explored all the carefully concealed settings for better browsing in the Chrome Android app from the other day, and you’re back for even more already? My, you are a tenacious little monkey.

Well, you’ve come to the right place, my fellow primate, for I also enjoy unearthing exceptionally interesting out-of-sight settings. And I’ve been doing an awful lot of digging in the Chrome Android browser as of late — so much, in fact, that I’ve got a whole other set of easily overlooked treasures to go beyond the browsing-centric batch we already brought into our lives.

This series of secret Chrome Android settings revolves around sharing — y’know, the timeless act of taking something you see on these here interwebbular supernodes and sending it to another human and/or amphibian (or maybe even just into another app on your phone for your own personal saving). I don’t know about you, but I find myself doing that dance approximately 7,427 times a day, on average. And so I’m simply delighted to see some interesting new ways to make it faster, easier, and even more effective.

Before we resume our virtual spelunking, let me give you my standard Chrome-on-Android explorer’s warning: The settings we’re about to excavate are all connected to Google’s Chrome flags system. That’s a place for options that are actively being worked on and aren’t technically intended for mainstream use — and as such, it has some powerful advanced options that could really screw stuff up if you aren’t careful. (It also evolves frequently, so it’s entirely possible some of the settings we talk about here could look different or even disappear entirely down the road.)

As long as you follow my instructions carefully and don’t mess with anything else you encounter, you’ll be fine! But prodding around beyond the specific steps we discuss here is not something I would advise, as it could lead to eternal doom for all of humanity (insert dramatic bwah-hah-hah-style cackling here). Or, um, y’know, just your browser acting weird for a while.

Either way, stay on this path, and previously unseen stupendous sharing treasures shall soon be yours.

Shall we?

Chrome Android setting No. 1: The deep-link sharing machine

Regular readers of my Android Intelligence newsletter know how much I adore Google’s awkwardly named Link to Text Fragment add-on for the Chrome desktop browser. With the extension in place, you can highlight text on any web page you’re viewing on a computer and then right-click to find a spiffy new option for creating a link to a specific section of text within a web page and then sending it to someone else.

So if, for instance, I wanted to point you to the description of my favorite setting from the first part of this series, I could generate a link like this — and when you open it in Chrome or any other compatible browser, you’ll be taken that exact part of the page, maybe even with the text highlighted in yellow for emphasis (depending on what specific browser and type of device you’re using).

Handy, right? I sure think so. But I’ve also always found myself frustrated with the fact that the same function isn’t available on Android — or so I thought.

I was pleased as a prickly pickle to discover during my digging that there’s actually now a way to enable the same setting in Chrome on the Android side. Here’s how:

  • Start by typing chrome:flags into the address bar in the Chrome Android app.
  • Next, type the word highlights into the search box on the screen that comes up.
  • See the line labeled “Chrome Share text highlights on Android”? Tap the box beneath it and change its setting from “Default” to “Enabled.”
  • And finally, tap the Relaunch button that shows up at the bottom of the screen.

And that, my dear dingo, is all there is to it. Now, just open up any ol’ web page you like — maybe even this one, if you’re feeling especially saucy — and touch and hold your finger to some text to highlight it. Tap the “Share” command in the menu that comes up, and…shazam:


There, in that Chrome sharing menu, you’ll see a shiny new “Link to text” option. Tap it — tap it with gusto, gersh dern it! — and the link to the specific text you selected will be created. You can then select any other app where you want to send it, and once you do, both the text you highlighted and the link to its exact part of the page will be pasted over.

Chrome Android Sharing Settings: Link to text (pasted)JR

And when anyone opens that link — well, my goodness, look at what happens:

Chrome Android Sharing Settings: Link to text (opened)JR

Enlightening, wouldn’t ya say?

Chrome Android setting No. 2: The smarter screenshot editor

Next up in our Chrome settings adventure is a helpful new way to capture and adjust screenshots from right within the Chrome Android browser. Normally, you’d have to use the regular Android screenshot system to do that, and the editing tools immediately available in that interface may or may not meet your needs.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.


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