This month's update to Chrome is a little more developer-centric than usual. We're accustomed to seeing small visual tweaks and a couple of other new capabilities here and there –and there is a fix of that nature– but this time, it's all about the APIs. Chrome Beta v44 adds a few new features for notifications and install banners, adds a new way to define names for object literals in Javascript, and makes a few breaking changes to the Push API.

What's New

Fix for multi-column layouts

From a user-facing standpoint, the only directly relatable change came to multi-column layouts in Chrome. There were certain scenarios where multiple columns would be presented with the wrong widths, blow out the page (so users would have to scroll horizontally to see everything), or otherwise render incorrectly. These issues are more common on mobile browsers because of limited screen width, especially in portrait orientation. Google provided this page as a sample to test old and new versions of Chrome, but I've yet to find a device with any version of Chrome that displays different behavior with the columns.

Push Notifications

Chrome v42 introduced support for the Push API, a feature of the recent addition of "Service Workers." The update to v44 brought a few breaking changes in the API since v42, and it has added some important new elements for notifications. Web app developers can now use a new method called getNotifications to find out which ones are still visible. There is also a new Notification.data field that can be used to keep data stored alongside any alerts. This will allow developers to clearly identify which notifications are tapped and respond to them individually.

Improvements to 'add to homescreen' and native app install banners

Developers can now track when their users tap on an 'add to homescreen' banner. There is a new beforeinstallprompt event that fires when the banner is tapped, allowing for an opportunity to measure engagement and determine when and if users are taking the opportunity to place a web app link in their launcher.

It's worth noting that native app install banners are receiving the same capability. In case banners for native apps don't sound familiar, it's because Google neglected to mention this feature last month when it was added in Chrome Beta v43. It is just what it sounds like, a shortcut for users to easily install apps from the Play Store by tapping on a banner. Variants of web-based installation have been around for quite a while, but this version hooks into the 'add to homescreen' feature. We'll probably see quite a bit more of this in the future because users will find it convenient and recognizable, and web developers can integrate it very easily.

Computed property names in JavaScript

If you're building JS code with object literals, there's a handy new way to define property names. Rather than deciding on a name while writing the code, it's now possible to define a pattern that can compute a name at runtime. Check out Mozilla's documentation for an example.

Naturally, there are a few other changes which can be seen in the blog post. If you need a download, we've also got an APK Mirror link directly below.

Download

The APK is signed by Google and upgrades your existing app. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Rather than wait for Google to push this download to your devices, which can take days, download and install it just like any other APK.

File Name: com.chrome.beta-44.0.2403.30-240303001-minAPI21.apk

Version: 44.0.2403.30 (240303001)

MD5: 0d5bd1a6b73c53783b4ade1bdba0bc7e