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Google Chrome officially removing the download bar for a new tray UI

For years, files you download would appear in a bar at the bottom of Chrome, but Google is now changing the desktop browser’s UI so you get a download tray instead. 

Having talked to users, Google says it identified three issues with the legacy download bar:

  • “Occupied precious pixels at the bottom of the screen which squeezed the web content area, and was limited by screen width in how many files it could show at once”
  • “Didn’t go away automatically, and only offered actions such as pause/resume and open in folder from a fixed overflow menu”
  • “Was no longer modern, interactive, and consistent with the look and feel of other browser UI or the browser ecosystem at large”

That first issue was particularly annoying, especially on a laptop, making the bar something I would quickly close out every time. As such, desktop Chrome is rolling out what Google calls the download tray. 

Appearing to the right of the address bar (Omnibox), Google believes the new location “helps create a clearer separation of trusted browser UI from web content.” You’ll get an animated ring to note progress and a small pop-up when something completes, though this can be disabled from Settings > Downloads > “Show downloads when they’re done.”

Tapping presents a list of “all your downloads from the past 24 hours in any browser window, not just the one in which you originally downloaded a file.” Buttons let you open the folder a download is in, as well as pause/resume, cancel, and retry. 

You can still drag downloaded files to “another folder, program, or website.” “Show all downloads” appears at the bottom of the tray with chrome://downloads and “Downloads” in the overflow menu remaining.

Chrome is using this new download tray to provide better malware and virus warnings, as well as context. For example, Google will note when a dangerous download has been blocked.

For extension developers, it is worth noting changes to chrome.downloads extensions APIs in case you need to update your extensions – specifically, setShelfEnabled has been replaced by setUiOptions which lets you show or hide the new downloads experience.

Chrome’s new download tray is rolling out now for Mac, Windows, Linux, and ChromeOS. Make sure your browser is fully updated, and it should be fully available over the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, the Chrome Omnibox on Android and iOS will show “Related to this page” search suggestions on certain sites. If you’re on the New Tab Page, opening the address bar will show trending searches, while Chrome now shows 10 (instead of six) suggestions as you enter a query. Lastly, the Touch to Search bar that appears at the bottom of your screen when you highlight something will now offer a “carousel of related searches.”

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