Has it really been almost two months since Chrome 59 for Android was released? Well, Chrome 60 is finally here with plenty of improvements for both users and developers. Let's take a look.
New search widget
Chrome 60 comes with a new search box widget, developed as a result of an anti-trust lawsuit in Russia. Yandex, a Russian search company, alleged that Google violated local competition rules. The settlement required Google to create a search widget that could change between search engines. And this is the finished product.
At some point in the future, this will replace the normal Google search widget for Android phones sold in Russia. Tapping on it directly opens the URL bar in Chrome, so you can search and manually enter URLs just as you would in the browser. As you would expect, it uses whatever search engine you have set in Chrome.
No more vibrating ads
The Web Vibration API allows web pages to vibrate your phone, and it was designed to be used with mobile games and other interactive content. Unfortunately, it's used far more often by annoying ads that shake your entire phone while you're trying to close them. Starting with Chrome 60, web pages can't vibrate your phone unless you tap on the page first.
Payment app integration
The PaymentRequest API was added in Chrome 53, and allows web pages to use your phone's payment service to complete purchases. Chrome uses Android Pay, Samsung Browser uses Samsung Pay, and so on. You couldn't change what payment service the browser used - until now.
Chrome 60 supposedly puts the framework in place to allow any payment app to work with Chrome. But as far as I can tell, no payment app has actually taken advantage of this new API yet, so Android Pay is still the only option for Chrome users. Maybe Samsung Pay or PayPal will support it soon, but there's no way of telling.
Like always, Chrome includes changes for both users and developers. Here are some smaller features that ship with Chrome 60.
- The VP9 video codec, commonly used in WebM files, can now be used in MP4 video containers.
- Several non-standard animation functions, like WEBKIT_KEYFRAMES_RULE and WebKitTransitionEvent, have been removed.
- The new Web Budget API allows sites with push notification permission to tell the browser to trigger background work occasionally, without showing a user-visible notification.
- The WebUSB API is now enabled by default.
- Chrome 60 supports the Web Push Encryption format.
- Several new CSS features are now supported, like :focus-within, font-display, and line-height-step.
- The new Paint Timing API allows developers to see how long it takes for web pages to display content after they are loaded.
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.