08/02 Update below. This post was originally published on July 30
Chrome is the world’s most popular browser, and Google just gave its two billion users five more great reasons to keep it that way.
MORE FROM FORBESGoogle Reveals Gmail’s Most Ambitious Ever UpgradesBy Gordon Kelly
Google has revealed performance, feature and security enhancements for Chrome across desktop and mobile. Let’s break them down.
08/01 Update: Google’s fast paced Chrome upgrades continue with TechDows spotting that Chrome Canary has added the ability to share images via creating a QR code – a helpful feature for saving time and bandwidth. For Chrome Canary users, it works thanks to a new context menu option when you right click on an image: ‘create QR code for this image’. You can then share this and the camera on iPhone and Android smartphones will be able to detect and open the image. This is not just a handy feature, but also a useful privacy addition as it means users can share images without those images being immediately visible to others. There is no timeline for its integration into stable versions of Chrome, but I wouldn’t expect it to take long.
08/02 Update: While Google continues to add a ton of new features to Chrome, it has also announced a popular extension for the browser will be scrapped. Picked up by 9to5Google, Google is removing its Chrome Password Checkup tool, which was introduced in 2019 to detect breaches of your passport data by third parties. To do this, Google monitored data breaches around the web and also alerted you with a pop-up, if you visited a site with a compromised login as well as if you use the same password on another site. It was a popular feature, but the reason for its demise is sound because Google has quietly integrated this functionality directly into Chrome.
An important catch-up feature first spotted by TechDows, Chrome is adding a Read Later feature on Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome OS which enables users to save web pages for – well – reading later via the touch of a button. Currently flagged in Chrome Canary, users can find it by typing chrome://flags in the browser and searching for ‘Read Later’.
Shared Password support
(Via MacRumors) Google is now bringing support for Chrome to share its passwords with different apps on iOS. Considering the split many iPhone owners experience with their data stored either with Google or Apple iCloud, this will create a far more seamless experience for millions of Chrome users. To enable it, go to Passwords & Accounts> Autofill Passwords> Chrome.
Tab Collapsing / Power Saving
Chrome beta now allows users to collapse all tabs into a group when you enable the following flag: chrome://flags/#tab-groups-collapse. This enables you to quickly hide all tabs within a Tab Group to save space by clicking on the group name. Building on this, TechDows spotted that Google has added a further flag: ‘Tab Groups Collapse Freezing’ which will instantly allow users to save battery life and memory by freezing all collapsed Chrome browser tabs. Clever.
Picked up by TheWindowsClub, Chrome will soon support smart contextual actions when you use progressive web apps (PWAs). For example, if you install the Twitter PWA using Chrome Canary (the developer build) the browser will automatically offer Compose, check notifications, send direct messages and Explore trends options just by right-clicking on the icon. This brings the kind of smart functionality Android and iPhone owners have enjoyed for years when long-pressing on app icons.
Enhanced Biometric security
Spotted by 9to5Mac, Google has announced the rollout for biometric support when paying by card in Android. Previously users had to find their card – even if it was previously saved – and enter their CVC number. Now Chrome will simply use your phone’s fingerprint scanner / facial recognition technology, allowing you to skip this step. Expect this to roll out for laptops and desktops with biometric security in future.
Combine all these additions with Google’s new drive to make Chrome more streamlined, as well as Chrome OS’s renewed assault on Windows, and the browser wars are hotting up once more.
Follow Gordon on Facebook
More On Forbes
Google Reveals Gmail’s Most Ambitious Ever Upgrades
Google Reveals Massive Chrome Browser Performance Upgrades