Like many articles, this one stems from something that annoyed me. Android, at some point, changed how their Google Now cards in a light version of Chrome. They claim it is faster but I would gladly trade the speed for the familiar, full-featured Chrome browser. Fortunately, there is a setting to disable this light “Powered by Chrome” browser and use your full, preferred browser.
Here’s a demo. I clicked a story card on Google Now and it opened in this light browser with very limited functionality. It has no extensions or settings though there is a menu item to re-open the link in Chrome. I found this annoying to have to do for most stories where I wanted to keep the tab open for later reading or utilize an extension to share the webpage.
The setting can be found by navigating to the Google Now screen or by launching the Google app and then tapping the hamburger button in the top-left.
From there, select Settings.
From the Settings page, select Accounts & privacy.
On the Accounts & privacy settings page, toggle the ‘Open web pages in app’ to Off (gray). This will then change the setting to “viewing web pages in external browser” which utilizes the device’s default browser, Chrome in my case.
This was a minor annoyance that at least had a flag to change the behavior back to what I was used to and optimal for my habits. If they wanted to innovate Google Now cards, they would preload the cards when on WiFi to make them available for reading offline or on cellular data. Unfortunately, I don’t see a setting for that behavior just yet.