Google is making your transition from native apps to the mobile Web a bit faster. Chrome Custom Tabs allow apps to pre-load, cutting the time it takes to load a webpage in half.
Custom Tabs will start working “in the coming weeks” from partners like Feedly, Medium and Tumblr. Google also writes “since custom tabs is a feature of Chrome, it’s available on any version of Android where recent versions of Chrome are available.”
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This was already possible via WebView, Android’s legacy in-app Web viewer. Developers could build custom experiences on top of the in-app browser standard, but it was clumsy and difficult to implement. As Chrome came into play on Android, WebView became less enticing.
Chrome Custom Tabs bridges that gap nicely. It’s much faster than WebView, and preloaded pages even display faster than Chrome. Google says the idea is for pages to load “nearly instantly” with Custom Tabs, even when customized with branded color schemes or animations.
It’s easy to integrate; all developers have to do is fiddle with a few parameters in VIEW intents and add a few lines of code. Google also has a support library for Custom Tabs for those who have more complex pages.