updated 02:50 pm EDT, Tue April 17, 2012
Chrome for Android gets significant extras
Google gave the Chrome for Android beta a major update (Google Play) Tuesday that filled in key gaps in the otherwise advanced browser. Like the stock Android 4.0 browser, Chrome can now ask for the desktop version of a page if the mobile version is either undesirable or doesn't work. Address a feature that's been on iOS devices for years, Google now lets users add bookmarks as shortcuts on the Android home screen.
Further updates let users specify third-party apps to handle certain kinds of links. Those who have a proxy for their Wi-Fi access can now use whatever proxy settings Android itself is running. Less overtly, it now more explicitly allows file downloads, has support for both Complex Text Layout and Right to Left text, letting older YouTube embeds play in the native Android YouTube app, and to run on region-specific search engines.
As before, the beta isn't completely polished and requires an Android 4.0 device, which now includes not just the Galaxy Nexus but the HTC One series and a handful of devices that have been moved up to 4.0. Timing for a finished version isn't known, and neither is whether it will ever support pre-4.0 devices, but it may go live in time for Google I/O in late June.