The coronavirus outbreak has thrown a wrench in Chrome's release schedule. Chrome 82 was skipped entirely, and even though v83 is now in beta, it's definitely one of the smallest updates we've seen in a while. Nevertheless, there are some new changes worth talking about.
Improved form controls
Microsoft has already merged a few improvements from its Chromium-based Edge browser back to mainline Chrome, and Chrome 83 includes another change: updated form controls. No wait, don't close the article, I promise this is interesting.
Chrome's form controls (buttons, text fields, etc.) are all over the place, design-wise. Some of them came from Safari/WebKit, some have gradients, some don't have gradients, and so on. Microsoft and Google have been working to standardize the appearance of form elements across all operating systems, and the result is a more minimalist design with no gradients.
Besides the appearance, some form elements have also been reworked for better usability on touch screens. For example, the time picker now has large dropdown menus for selecting the hour and minute, instead of relying solely on keyboard input.
However, it doesn't appear that the updated controls have made their way to Chrome for Android. While the Android browser already uses system dialogs in some cases (e.g. the time picker opens the same time picker you get in the Clock app), the new progress bars would be nice to have.
As always, Chrome 83 includes changes for both users and developers. Here are some smaller changes in this update:
- The new @supports selector() feature makes it easier to check if a CSS feature is supported before it is used.
- The Barcode Detection API is now enabled by default.
- Downloads from sandboxed iframes are now blocked, preventing malicious ads and other embedded content from downloading files.
- WebXR content (e.g. AR and VR content) can now display HTML on top of 3D rendered environments.
- The new Performance.measureMemory() function estimates the memory usage of the current web page.
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.