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Chrome

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[Update: More details] Chrome will display all HTTP sites as 'not secure' starting July 24

HTTPS adoption has surged over the past few years, mostly thanks to the availability of free SSL/TLS certificates from Let's Encrypt. Browser vendors have also been encouraging sites to switch to HTTPS, and Google said earlier this year that Chrome would eventually mark all HTTP-only sites as 'Not Secure.'

Chrome 68 is due to be released tomorrow (at least on desktop platforms), and it's the first release that will display a 'Not secure' message in the address bar on HTTP pages. Chrome already displays the message on HTTP sites with data entry fields, but starting tomorrow, all non-secure pages will be shamed.

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InBrief
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Migrating payment card info from Chrome to Google Pay might soon be possible

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[Update: Live] Chrome may soon add ability to import new tab backgrounds from Google Photos

Google added the option to customize Chrome's new tab page with a very familiar-looking selection of wallpapers last month. But if you thought Google was done working on the new tab page, you'd be wrong. About Chromebooks recently discovered a new change in Chromium Gerrit that'll allow users to import their new tab backgrounds from Google Photos as well.

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Chrome is using 10-13% more RAM because of Spectre mitigation efforts

If you feel like Chrome's been using more RAM on the desktop client since the v67 release a month back, good news: you're not going crazy! Bad news: it definitely is using more RAM (again, on the desktop).

That's because of an advanced new security feature the Chromium team has rolled into the latest version of Google's infamously memory-hungry browser, known as Site Isolation. I'll spare you the technical details, but the short of it is that because of the growing number of memory leak vulnerabilities being exposed as part of the Spectre and Meltdown flaws, the Chrome team has decided to enable Site Isolation by default in Chrome on the desktop as of version 67.

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Google's beautiful new Material Design 2 UI for Chrome is coming, now in Canary builds

Back in April, Google began experimenting with a new, alternate version of its Material UI for the Chrome browser - but it was as an experimental flag, not a mainline feature. That appears to be changing. With the latest builds of Chrome on the Canary channel for Windows, Linux, and Chrome OS, the Material 2 UI is now the default theme (on Mac you'll still need to enable it manually).

There are some changes from the version that was initially unveiled - tabs are now separated by small break lines instead of the more subtle rounded rectangle (only the currently open tab is shaped this way in the latest revision).

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Google is testing different placements for the new-tab button in Chrome Canary

It's no secret that Google may be planning a "Material Design 2" refresh for Chrome, possibly timed to roll out on or near the browser's 10th birthday in September. The new-tab button is one of the more visible elements that's being tinkered with, and now Google is testing a few different positions for that button via a new flag.

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Chrome Duplex being renamed 'Duet' to avoid confusion with Google Duplex phone-call AI

Back in May, Google announced something called 'Google Duplex' at I/O. The feature would be able to call businesses using humanlike speech patterns to set up appointments or make reservations. But months before that, the Chrome team had already renamed its experimental 'Chrome Home' interface to 'Chrome Duplex.' Chrome Duplex is now being renamed again to 'Chrome Duet' to avoid confusion with the fancy new Google Duplex.

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Google testing new home button designs for Chrome on Android

Chrome for Android has had a home button since its inception, but only on certain devices. Google started experimenting with allowing all devices to have a home button in April, but the feature is still opt-in. Now it appears Google is experimenting with the button's design.

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Chrome's omnibox search results are getting favicons for bookmarked pages

A couple of months ago, we heard that Google was working on an updated UI for Chrome's omnibox. Colorful images and brief descriptions were being tested when you searched something in the Chrome URL bar, and this was a welcome change from the sea of white and gray that would normally be seen. Further improvements are also on the way, with favicons being introduced next to bookmarked pages.

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Google Chrome will automatically download news articles for offline reading [Updated]

There has been a big push to improve internet access and make it easier to view online content in NBU markets (Next Billion Users) in recent years. Google's latest Chrome feature also has this in mind, as it will download relevant news articles automatically while connected to WiFi so the user can view them later when only a less reliable data connection or none at all is available.

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