Google today brought Chrome's Dev channel to the Android platform. Previously available only to desktops, Dev channel for Android will let developers test the newest — and least stable — versions of Chrome long before they reach consumer devices.
Google has a clear path for Chrome development. The browser is generally in canary mode, then it reaches the Dev channel, then enters beta, and is eventually released as stable. Until today, the Dev channel was only available for the ChromeOS, Linux, Mac and Windows platforms.
According to Google, the Chrome Dev channel will let developers test their existing sites using these early new versions of Chrome to find bugs. It also lets people test new features that Google has added to the browser. Google promises to update the text browser regularly, at least once per week, to stamp out bugs and close the loop on problems as they turn up. The beta version of Chrome is updated once every few weeks. Anyone can download the beta version of Chrome.
Feedback is an important part of the Chrome Dev channel. "Your feedback will directly help us avoid regressions and improve features for Beta and Stable users," explained Google. It also offered a warning: "Life on the Dev channel can be rocky at times, so on Android it installs side-by-side with any other versions of Chrome you have on your device."
The Chrome Dev channel version of Google's browser is available directly from the Google Play Store. It will not overwrite the stable version of Chrome on end-user handsets, so developers can feel secure in knowing they'll have at least one working browser on their Android devices.
Chrome Dev channel doesn't include any new APIs or tools that aren't already available to Chrome developers.
The most recent stable release of Chrome — that is, the version Google distributes en masse in the Play Store — recently took an interesting turn. Chrome now supports push notifications. Web developers will be able to create app-like notifications that are delivered to the notification shade on Android devices. The notifications can offer information such as breaking news or alerts to updated content.
Google says Web developers can add these notifications to their websites with just a few tweaks of code. They are based on the standard W3C Push API. Push notifications provide website owners and their developers with another way to reach end users directly on their handsets.