Following last year's promises, Google is getting ready to block ads that hit a certain resource limit in Chrome, to prevent things like crypto miners or poorly-made ads from making a dent in your battery life or network use. An "experiment" for this heavy ad blocking has already started in Chrome 84, with it expected to land in Stable by the end of August.
Progressive Web Apps are becoming more and more capable, mostly thanks to the rapid pace at which the Chrome team is adding new APIs. Last month's release of Chrome 81 brought badges to web apps installed to your device (though not on Android), and now another improvement is on the way — home screen shortcut support.
Some features in Chrome seem to be cursed to never fully roll out. The bottom-bar 'Duet' mobile interface has been in development for over two years at this point, and support for tab groups on the desktop has been rolled out and pulled back more times than I can count. Thankfully, it seems like tab groups are finally going live, for real this time.
With social distancing becoming the norm during the Coronavirus pandemic, it's certainly added a new chapter in how we communicate. Zoom is one of those particular tools that folks defaulted to because it was already on their work computer. The good news is that it's an excellent app for video chatting with several people at a time. And if you're logging in from a Chromebook, there are a few ways to install the app.
Note that since these are not the desktop versions of Zoom, they're not as full-featured as their Mac and PC counterparts.
Live Caption, which was first introduced during Google I/O 2019 as a Pixel 4 exclusive, is a game-changing addition to the suite of accessibility features built into Android 10. Using Live Caption allows those with deafness or other hearing disabilities to follow along with video content, while Android generates captions in real-time. It appears that the feature may be getting ready to make the leap from smartphones to computers as work is underway to bring the feature to Chrome, according to a new code commit to the Chromium Gerrit.
The Chrome Web Store is still something of a wild west — seemingly every month, there's a story about some popular extension stealing user data or doing something else it's not supposed to do. Google has already made several policy changes lately, and its next target is spammy extensions.
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.
Late last year, a new QR-based feature for sharing URLs was spotted in development for Google Chrome. Previously, the button it added to the omnibar did precisely nothing, but as of today, the Canary Channel version of Chrome actually spits the QR code graphics —adorable Chrome dino and all.
A while back, Chrome got a completely rethought tab switcher that's already standard for many using the stable version of the browser. A flag allows you to further improve that overview by adding a small search chip to tabs, helping you quickly find what term you were searching for without having to navigate back to Google.