Chrome V82 was skipped entirely, due to scheduling issues resulting from the engineering team working from home, but releases are starting to go back to normal. Chrome 83 entered beta last month, and now it has graduated to the stable channel with plenty of improvements in tow.
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.
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.
Web apps come in all forms and shapes, but Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are some of the best as they're basically a marriage between native applications and websites. On Chrome OS, they come as close as can be to proper programs, many complete with offline support. If you're used to working with Windows or macOS, PWAs might make it easier for you to get through your workday at home, but you can also use these on any platform to enhance your productivity.
Google has been working on a bottom bar interface for Chrome for what feels like forever and keeps changing the layout. Initially, the browser had its complete app bar moved to the bottom, while recent implementation left the bare address bar up top and put all buttons (new tab/tab switcher, home, share, overflow menu) in the new location. The latest iteration of the design, accessible on Chrome Beta and Dev, reduces the number of shortcuts on the bottom from five to three, and people aren't happy about it.
Flash games might be set to finally die in 2020 when Google kills its last support for Adobe's aging plugin, but that doesn't mean that Chrome is losing its sense of fun. A new Game of the Day card has been spotted in testing on the developer channel release of Chrome for Android, providing a regularly-changing shortcut to play Google-made casual games online. The titles appear to be from those built into Google's previous doodles, sites, and services.
Following the EU's record antitrust ruling against Google back in 2018, the European Commission asked the company to give Android users the option to set other search engines as default. That prompted Google to take the opportunity to make even more money by auctioning which companies to feature as default search engine providers. The winners have now been published, and it looks like privacy advocate DuckDuckGo and meta search engine Info.com have taken the crown across the continent.
Chrome notifications, while useful for a handful of things such as messaging, are generally just an annoyance — the pop-ups requesting permission to send them are grating in the extreme, and the answer is almost always "no." Google, evidently aware of this, has been flirting with hiding them automatically for a while now, and in Chrome 80, that'll be the default behavior for most users.
Google recently added a 'global media controls' flag to Chrome that lets you control foreground and background media right from the browser's toolbar. The feature has since arrived on the stable release of Chrome, though it still needs to be activated via chrome://flags/#global-media-controls before you can use it. To make it even handier, Google seems to be working on adding the ability to control cast content via these playback buttons.
One of the promises of the new Assistant, as it was demo'ed by Google at I/O, is its direct integration with several apps on your phone. Instead of being an Assistant for Google's services first and foremost, the digital helper would put its smarts at every developer's disposal, letting them hook it up to several actions inside their apps. We've already gotten a small preview of this integration when we saw a few actions Assistant could perform inside Photos, Messages, WhatsApp, YouTube, Gmail, Maps, and Chrome. But we know there's more potential there, and Chrome is one of the first to implement broader support for Assistant, with direct browser actions accessible through voice commands.