Chrome 59 was just released, which means Chrome 60 has graduated to beta status. This version includes a few interface changes, like a new context menu and file picker, as well as a new search widget. The Vibration API also has some new limitations to combat malware ads. Let's take a look.
The new context menu and file picker are actually present in Chrome 59, albeit with more bugs. I'll leave them in this post because we haven't covered them before, but keep in mind they aren't new.
New search widget
We previously covered Chrome's new search widget, which was developed as a result of an anti-trust lawsuit Russia. Russian search company Yandex claimed that Google violated local competition rules, and the settlement required Google to develop a search widget that could change between search engines.
At some point, this will replace the normal Google search widget for Android phones sold in Russia. It uses whatever search engine you have set in Chrome, and starting with version 57, Chrome supports almost any search engine you could want to use. It doesn't appear to have changed since we covered it in Chrome Dev 60.
No more vibrating ads
You've probably seen those fake full-screen malware ads before - the ones that vibrate your phone. This is possible thanks to the Vibration API introduced a few years ago. I'm sure someone thought that web games would be pretty cool with if they could vibrate your phone, but I've only ever seen it used by malicious advertisements.
Starting with Chrome 60, pages will no longer be able to vibrate your device unless you tap on the page first. I still think the Vibration API should be removed entirely, or at least have to ask the user permission first (like camera access), but this is a step in the right direction.
In a similar move, the beforeunload JavasScript function will only work if you have tapped on the page. This is also commonly used by malicious advertisements, to show an alert as you try to close the window/tab.
If you're not aware, the 'context menu' is the name of the menu that appears when you long-press a link or image in Chrome for Android. Chrome 60 includes a fancy new context menu, but for now, it's disabled by default. You can turn it on by switching the #enable-custom-context-menu flag to 'Enabled.'
So what's so great about this new menu? Not only does it have helpful icons next to each menu item, it has a tabbed interface if you select an image contained in a link. Take a look at the below screenshots:
From left to right: link and linked image in Chrome 59, link and linked image in Chrome 60
There aren't any new menu items, everything just looks cleaner. I like it.
New file picker
The context menu isn't the only interface element to get a facelift in Chrome 60. There's also a new photo/file picker, which appears when you try to upload a file to a webpage. Just like the context menu, this is hidden behind the #enable-new-photo-picker flag, and must be turned on manually (for now).
Left: File picker on Chrome 59; Right: File picker on Chrome 60
You can tell this is a bit unfinished - I imagine recent photos are supposed to appear on the new popup. Still, it's already an improvement from Chrome 59's picker.
As with every Chrome release, Chrome 60 includes several smaller changes that may go unnoticed by most users and/or developers. Here are a few of them:
- Google previously added support for the paymentRequest API to Chrome, which allowed sites to checkout using Android Pay on Android (I still haven't seen a real site that does this). This will be extended to other payment apps starting with Chrome 60, but apps have to add support for the API.
- Several non-standard animation functions, like WEBKIT_KEYFRAMES_RULE and WebKitTransitionEvent, have been removed.
- The WebUSB API is now enabled by default.
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.