In this crazy world we live in, it's comforting to know that some things will never change — the sky is blue, the sun rises in the east, and Google releases a new version of Chrome (roughly) every six weeks. Chrome v74 is now available on desktop and mobile platforms, and while it doesn't include a massive number of noticeable changes, there is still plenty to talk about.
Slowly but surely, Google is adding a dark mode to all of its applications in preparation for Android Q. Chrome's dark mode first made an appearance early last month, and has finally trickled down to the stable channel with Chrome v74.
To try out dark mode, head to chrome://flags#enable-android-night-mode (paste that link into the address bar, tapping/clicking it won't work), tap the highlighted dropdown menu, set it to 'Enabled,' and then restart the browser. You might need to close and open the browser again after that. Finally, enable dark mode from the app settings. The mode also activates automatically if your device is set to dark mode.
Sadly, Chrome's dark mode doesn't seem to enable the 'prefers-color-scheme: dark' CSS media query that Safari currently uses, so sites don't switch to their dark themes.
When you visit a page written in a different language than what your device is set to, a Google Translate bar automatically appears at the bottom of the screen. If you closed the bar, you wouldn't be able to re-open it without reloading the page.
Starting with Chrome 74, there's a new 'Translate...' option in the overflow menu. The option only appears when the page is detected to be in another language. Not an exciting change, but I'm always a fan of making features more obvious.
Most operating systems have an option to reduce animations, or remove them entirely, for people who are extremely sensitive to motion. However, there hasn't been a way for websites to detect that option until now.
The 'Remove animations' option in Android 9 Pie
Chrome 74 includes support for the new 'prefers-reduced-motion' CSS media query. This allows sites to easily detect when the operating system is set to limited/no animations, and change their design/layout accordingly.
The media query is already supported by Firefox (v63+) and Safari (12.1 on macOS, 12.2 on iOS), so now it works on every major browser. Hopefully, that means sites will start to add support for it.
As always, Chrome 74 includes changes for both users and developers. Here are some smaller features included in this update:
- Popups activated when closing a page are now blocked, regardless if the user has the popup blocker turned on or not.
- KV Storage, a new method for storing data locally, is available as an Origin Trial.
- The Shape Detection API introduced in Chrome 70, which makes it easy for web apps to detect faces, text, or QR codes in images, has moved out of the Origin Trial phase. It can now be enabled with a flag.
- Multiple WebAssembly instances can now share a single memory object.
- Data saver mode is now called Lite mode.
- Sites can now easily check when a CSS transition event is started, ended, or cancelled.
- Chrome's Developer Tools can now highlight all elements affected by a certain CSS property, view the contents of a binary WebSocket message, and more.
- Chrome OS 74 now supports backing up and restoring Linux containers. It's not clear if enabling the #crostini-backup flag is still required, as the final stable release of Chrome OS 74 hasn't rolled out yet.
- Chrome OS 74 has new PDF annotation tools. Again, it's not clear if enabling the #pdf-annotations flag is still required, because the final stable release hasn't arrived yet.
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.
Note: Some versions of the Chrome APK use app bundles, which APKMirror doesn't support yet. As a result, not all variations of the Chrome APK are available for direct download.