For all the time I spend using Twitter, Facebook and Reddit on my phone, a lot goes to waste opening links and waiting for them to load.
It’s a problem that a new Android app called Link Bubble aims to solve.
Normally, if you open a link from an app such as Twitter, the app kicks you out to a web browser and opens the link in a new tab. With Link Bubble, you can keep looking through Twitter (or another app of your choosing) as the link loads in the background. A little button tells you when the page has finished loading, so you can open it at your leisure. The link then opens in a floating browser window, right on top of the app you’re in.
Being able to open a link without interrupting your current task is a huge time-saver. In fact, when you open the Link Bubble app, it shows you how much time you’re saving. I can see Link Bubble being especially useful for doing work on a tablet, as it would let you quickly reference a link without leaving your current app.
Link Bubble has some other nice touches to help manage links. Holding your finger down on the link button brings up quick options to save a link to Pocket, share it or dismiss it. Those sharing/saving options can be customized, so I’ve set up a way to quickly copy links to the clipboard instead of sending them to Pocket. The app also lets you review your entire link history, though you can disable this option. Opening links from certain apps, such as YouTube and Google Play, will not trigger Link Bubble, but you can change this behavior as well. The only thing you can’t do is have Chrome links open in Link Bubble, but in most cases you wouldn’t want that to happen anyway.
A limited version of Link Bubble is available for free. It handles links through a single app of your choosing, and lets you open one link at a time. The “Pro” version costs $5, and lets you open multiple links at once, using as many apps as you want.
I have no major complaints with Link Bubble, though the process of closing individual links in the Pro version–accomplished by hitting your device’s back button–may be its least intuitive feature. The bubble animations could also be a little smoother, and I’d love to have a way to optionally open Chrome links within Link Bubble.
But overall, I’m already finding Link Bubble to be extremely useful. And as my pal JR Raphael points out, it’s the kind of app that isn’t possible on other mobile operating systems.