The latest version of Google Chrome for Android enabled a new price tracking feature for some users.
First spotted by SmartDroid, the new price tracking feature appears to be a part of Chrome version 90, although only some people report having it. As with many new Google features, it may just come down to luck of the draw (I tested three phones, none of which had the feature).
According to those who have access to the feature (like 9to5Google), the new price tracking feature shows up in Chrome’s tab menu. It lets users monitor open tabs for price changes. When you open the tab menu (available by tapping the number in a square box in the top-right corner of Chrome), you should see a box under your open tabs asking if you want Chrome to notify you about price changes.
Additionally, tapping the three-dot menu button in the top-right corner of the tab menu should open a menu that includes ‘Track prices.’ Tapping that option reveals a pop-up box with the price tracking settings. In the current iteration, that includes enabling the price tracking and selecting whether you want notifications about price changes.
Not the best implementation, but better than nothing
On one hand, adding price tracking to Chrome is handy, especially on mobile where users can’t access any of the numerous price tacking extensions that exist for the browser. It also should make Chrome for Android more competitive with Microsoft Edge, which recently rolled out price comparison tools and built-in support for coupons and promo codes. Of course, it’s worth noting that Edge’s comparison tools are only available in the U.S. for now.
On the other, Google’s implementation isn’t great. Having to keep a tab with a product in it open so the browser can monitor price changes is pretty clunky (and it sucks for people like me who prefer to keep my open tabs to a minimum). That said, if you make use of Chrome’s new tab grouping capabilities on Android, you could dump any products you want to monitor into a group so they don’t clutter up your tab menu.
As mentioned up top, the price tracking feature appears to be part of Chrome 90, but if it doesn’t appear on your phone, you might be able to turn it on with a Chrome flag (semi-hidden browser settings). To do so, type “chrome://flags” into Chrome’s address bar, then search ‘tab grid layout. Under the Tab Grid Layout flag, you’ll want to try enabling some options, such as ‘enable price notifications.’ Alternatively, you can navigate directly there by typing “chrome://flags#enable-tab-grid-layout” into the address bar.
Again, your mileage may vary with this — enabling the flag didn’t work for me either. If you find yourself in the same boat, you may just have to wait for the feature to roll out to you.