Scrolling screenshots are nothing new on Android devices. If you head to the Google Play Store, you can find a variety of applications that will allow you to take a video screenshot in order to capture things such as a full web page, gaming or whatever. Some manufacturers even include a baked-in screen recorder in their respective iterations of Android. OnePlus just happens to be one of those OEMs. The budding phone maker debuted the feature back in May of 2019 with the release of the company’s OxygenOS 9.5 and it has been on every OnePlus phone I’ve owned since.
Since that time, rumors have emerged that Google was actually working on an in-built screen recording feature that would arrive in some version of Android 11. For reasons unknown, that feature didn’t make the final cut for the latest Android build but instead, Google appears to have shifted its focus to adding the screen recording functions to the Chrome browser for Android. In a commit discovered by Chrome Story, a new feature flag has been added to the Canary version of Chrome for Android that will allow users to take a “Long Screenshot, a.k.a screen recording. Enabling the flag does nothing at the moment but when I tried to take a screen recording, my phone did prompt me that it was installing an app called “Image editor for Chrome.” I couldn’t locate the app but I presume that it will be a system-level app that’s required to take the recording.
When this feature is finished, it will live in Android’s share sheet and you will access it the same way you would when you’re sharing a page or element to another application. Currently, when you click a share icon in Chrome you are presented with the share sheet. This gives you the option to send to your devices, share with other applications, or take a screenshot. Presumably, clicking the screenshot icon will give you the option to snap an image or take a video. On my OnePlus, this option is called “expand screenshot.” You snap a screenshot and when you click the “expand screenshot’ button, the page begins to scroll and the phone records everything as a video.
Again, I’m not sure why Google chose to roll this out in Chrome instead of the core Android system and your guess is as good as mine. The good news is that you will be able to use the screen recorder in any app that happens to be a PWA. Since they are technically running in a windowed version of Chrome, PWAs like Twitter will have access to this and any other features that the browser has to offer. Perhaps, down the road, Chrome will expand this feature to be used outside of the browser with the help of the aforementioned “Image editor for Chrome” but that remains to be seen. There is no shortage of screen recording apps out there but I do have to say that having one on my phone as a stock feature has been pretty sweet. We’ll keep an eye on this one as it develops. It is very cool to see a screenshot recording tool coming to mobile Chrome just as developers are creating a similar feature for Chrome OS that will allow you to take scrolling videos of your Chromebook’s desktop.