We've known about Google Chrome's quick page-sharing through dino-themed QR codes since last year. After an initial release in Canary and more development, the feature is now finally available in the latest stable version of Chrome, 84. It's working properly on both Android and desktops, but you'll need to manually enable the flag to get it going.
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QR codes have almost infinite uses. Be it simply sharing a URL, a Wi-Fi password, acting as a web authenticator, or helping your pay for goods and services, these little black-and-white jumble squares have evolved into a truly ubiquitous part of our lives. But when you're not using an app or phone feature that specifically knows you want to scan a QR code, you may find yourself a bit puzzled, and that's led many people to just rush to the Play Store and download one of a million ad-filled scanner apps. The fact is, there are far better ways to scan QR codes on Android that don't involve installing a sketchy app, using everything from Google Lens, to your smartphone's own camera app, to a lightweight website that does the job without trackers and ads.
WhatsApp's reliance on phone numbers for authentication is part of the reason the app took off so fast — no username, no email, no password, no fuss. But that requirement has become a hindrance over the last few years, be it in the lack of multi-device support or the inability to quickly start chatting with someone without adding them to your phone's contacts first. There are workarounds for the latter, but nothing too straightforward. Now WhatsApp is starting to address this by adding QR codes for profiles in the latest beta.
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.
Once upon a time, you could view and edit Google Docs files from a single Drive app, but Google later split them up into multiple editing applications. Microsoft is now doing the reverse: it's combining the Android versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint into one app to rule them all.
Android's story with the share menu is long, messy, and complicated. Things have gotten relatively better in Android 10, but that hasn't stopped some app developers from implementing a non-native share sheet. This is especially true for Google's own apps, like Photos, YouTube, Maps, and News. Chrome might soon join the fray with its own sharing hub.
QR codes are pretty ubiquitous these days, used for everything from setting up two-factor authentication via key-generating apps to promoting folks to follow your Snapchat. Chrome might be next up to use the feature to share content, with a new (but currently non-functional) QR code page-sharing feature spotted in Chrome Canary. Best of all, the QR codes generated may feature a Chrome dino.
Every week, I examine somewhere in the neighborhood of a hundred app updates while looking for changes. The most interesting things turn into APK Teardowns or Download posts. Many of the remaining updates are unremarkable, amounting to a few bug fixes, routine updates to libraries, or even just pixel-level adjustments to layouts and images. However, there are usually a few updates that land somewhere in between. I don't want to spam readers with dozens of short posts, but I hate to ignore things that people might want to know about, so I'm going to wrap up the leftovers for a little weekend reading and call it Update Notes.
Chrome 69 was a massive update, as it brought a brand new interface to both desktop and mobile. Now that v69 is on stable, the beta channel has been updated to version 70. This isn't as big of an update as the previous release, but it still has a few important improvements - particularly for security.
According to our frequent tipster Gurkanwal Singh, Twitter beta 7.12 has started showing a new night mode toggle and QR code icon. If you might remember, Twitter's night mode used to have a proper toggle in the side menu and the QR code display and scanner was hidden under the overflow menu when viewing your profile. The latter was really difficult to get to and nowhere regular users would guess.
Now, both have moved to the bottom of the side menu, under the Help center. They're simple icons with a crescent moon for night mode and a QR icon for the code scanner.