Android users who run Google Chrome on their devices may have noticed that the browser started to download popular pages automatically recently.
Google Chrome displays news articles on the browser’s new tab page when you open it. The type of articles displayed depends on whether you are signed in to Chrome or not. If you are not signed in, you get the regional top articles but if you are signed in, you get recommendations based on your browsing history.
Up until recently, Chrome downloaded only teasers for each article that it recommended on the browser’s new tab page. It downloaded the title and a small thumbnail image, and did so when you opened the New Tab page in the browser.
Google changed the process recently for users in over 100 countries including India, Brazil, Nigeria, and Indonesia. Instead of just downloading article titles and thumbnails, Chrome downloads entire articles to the local device.
The main idea behind the change, according to Google’s announcement on the Google Blog, is that users can read the entire articles even if they are offline.
Today, we’re introducing another way for Chrome on Android users in India, along with more than 100 countries including Nigeria, Indonesia, and Brazil, to surf the web with Chrome on Android devices — even without a constant internet connection.
Chrome downloads articles only when then device is connected to an unmetered Wifi according to Google.
When you’re connected to free, unmetered WiFi, Chrome will automatically download relevant articles, based on what content is most popular in your location. If you’re signed into Chrome, you’ll also get articles that are relevant to you, based on your browsing history. This downloaded content is then available whenever you want to access it, even if you don’t have a connection.
The feature is available in Chrome Stable versions in the hundred or so countries that Google enabled it and in Chrome Canary in all other countries.
Chrome users can check the downloads page of the browser with a tap on menu and the selection of downloads to display all downloaded articles. Articles are listed under “popular pages from Chrome” on the page.
Chrome lists the total size of the downloaded articles and the last refresh date. You can expand the list to display all individual articles, the source, and size as well.
Can you disable the feature?`It is apparently not possible right now to disable it. While some could argue that no harm is done as articles get only downloaded on unmetered connections, others might argue that Google takes away control instead as users don’t have any control over the functionality.
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