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Chrome 86 rolls out File System Access API, tests icons in overflow menu, and more (APK Download)

Chrome 86 rolls out File System Access API, tests icons in overflow menu, and more (APK Download)

Almost exactly one month after Chrome 86 appeared in the Beta Channel, it's now rolling out on the stable branch to all platforms (except Chrome OS, that should come next week). This update is definitely light on interface/functional changes, but there are plenty of new features lurking underneath. Let's dive right in!

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Google is improving the Alt-Tab switcher in Chrome OS, here's what you need to know

Google is improving the Alt-Tab switcher in Chrome OS, here's what you need to know

Alt-Tab is an often overlooked keyboard shortcut on Chrome OS that allows you to cycle recent applications without using a mouse. Despite the productivity potential, the Alt-Tab switcher is mediocre because it lacks interactivity. For example, you can't use the arrow keys or your cursor to select and launch recent applications, making them frustrating to access if they're placed towards the end. The developers at Google realize that the Alt-Tab experience can be better, so they tackled the interactivity issue head-on to help you quickly open your recent applications.

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3

Chrome 86 will automatically check if your passwords have leaked and help you change them

Chrome 86 will automatically check if your passwords have leaked and help you change them

These days, we have a plethora of tools at our disposal that help us keep our online accounts safe, but no system is 100% fool-proof. And sometimes, login credentials do get hacked or are leaked. That's why many password managers have built-in breach checkers, and following the desktop version, Google Chrome for Android and iOS has also finally gained that ability. Starting with Chrome 86, the browser will notify you when passwords saved to your Google Account are compromised and help you change them as fast as possible.

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6

Chrome adds native link-to-text functionality to Canary

Chrome adds native link-to-text functionality to Canary

Google only released its own link-to-text Chrome extension a few months back, but it's now building the function directly into Chrome. Right now, Chrome Canary web users can enable a flag that allows users to right-click on hyperlinks to copy the link hidden within.

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Chrome OS is working on a tidier but less efficient file browser navigation pane

Chrome OS is working on a tidier but less efficient file browser navigation pane

It's no secret that the file manager on Chrome OS has been a sore point for users ever since Chromebooks were first introduced to the world as cloud-centric computers. It seems like Google hastily threw in a file browser at the last moment and expected only a few people to use it. Although development on the built-in file manager has stagnated over the years, Google recently introduced small quality-of-life features to make it more efficient (like finally adding "Open File Location" to the context menu). It now looks like Google is trying to improve productivity even further by cleaning up clutter from the navigation pane.

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9

Closing your perfectly innocent incognito tabs will no longer cause Chrome to freeze

Closing your perfectly innocent incognito tabs will no longer cause Chrome to freeze

For the last two months, spanning from Chrome version 84 to 85, some people have been experiencing spontaneous interface freezes, mostly when trying to close their last incognito tab. Google acknowledge the issue quickly and promised a timely fix, and it seems like it's finally rolling out with the latest minor Chrome update. People on version 85.0.4183.127 report that the freezes have stopped for them, and the corresponding entry in the Chromium bug tracker has been marked as fixed.

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4

Google preparing to end support for paid Chrome extensions

Google preparing to end support for paid Chrome extensions

While many extensions are great for enhancing your browsing experience, they can be a tacky business for people who aren't at least somewhat familiar with the inner workings of browsers. Google noticed an influx of fraudulent paid extensions in January this year, and the situation only got worse when lockdowns first started and some people tried spreading misinformation or profiting off the pandemic through any channel they could find. With that in mind, Google has now decided to scrap paid extensions altogether.

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Google's Advanced Protection Program now offers improved malware detection in Chrome

Google's Advanced Protection Program now offers improved malware detection in Chrome

Google’s Advanced Protection Program gives users an extra security layer to protect their online accounts and data from prying eyes, especially useful for journalists, activists, and the like. For over a year, the initiative has alerted users of potentially malicious files downloaded through Chrome. Google is now taking that a step further to make the tool even more useful in identifying malware.

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24

Google Chrome's overflow menu is about to get easier to navigate

Google Chrome's overflow menu is about to get easier to navigate

Google Chrome's overflow menu on Android has been rather hard to navigate for ages — it mostly consists of text-only entries, so whenever you try to find something in it without relying on muscle memory, you're forced to read through every single label. Google seems to recognize this problem, as it's experimenting with a redesigned menu in Chrome Beta that groups the entries and adds icons to each of them.

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77

Google is separating Chrome from Chrome OS — it's a big deal, here's what you need to know

Google is separating Chrome from Chrome OS — it's a big deal, here's what you need to know

"This device will no longer receive the latest software updates. Please consider upgrading"

I think you'll agree with me when I say: it's a punch to the gut to start your morning with this dreadful message in your notification tray. You may have spent a lot of money purchasing your Chromebook, and your Chromebook is already telling you that it will not be updated anymore — leaving your device vulnerable to security exploits while missing out on cool new Chrome features. Thanks to an ambitious project known internally as Lacros, your update woes may soon be a thing of the past.

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