22 July 2014

What’s new in Chrome 36

I’m a little late with this article, as the stable version was already released last week, but if you’re interested, here are the significant updates in this version of . An important change around the security model of extensions is being added on Windows, in order to limit the incidents of browser settings highjacking. With this new Settings API implemented, extensions that change the behavior of the new tab page and search provider will be clearly labeled in the browser settings screen, so that users can easily identify and disable them. Chrome 37 settings controlled by third-party extensionOther minor user-facing changes include:

  • A redesign of the incognito start page, with a flat and simple, crisp look. At first glance it reminds me of ’s Android icons, a good sign of design consistency; Chrome 37 new incognito start page
  • When connectivity issues occur and Chrome already stored a cached copy of that page, the browser will now give the option of loading the cached version;
  • You can right-click on a <canvas> element and save it as image file locally;
  • If you choose to disconnect Chrome from your Google account, the dialog introduced the option to also clear the data saved locally, for example browsing history, bookmarks and settings – useful if you borrow another PC for a while and want to erase your data when you’re returning it;Chrome 37 disconnect Google account and erase data
  • If you set your default search engine to Bing, Chrome now has a dedicated new tab page, showing Bing's photo of the day;
  • As in basically every version in the last year, more work on the design of the profile manager;
  • Another long-running experiment is replacing the window-spanning infobars with permission bubbles. The latest experiments – available as flags on the dedicated page – relate to website permission requests and session restore, but they are not yet enabled by default.

As usual, there are plenty of updates concerning web development, from CSS properties like touch-action and will-change to improved animations through JavaScript. You can get an in-depth overview of the new features both on the Chrome blog and from Opera, since it uses the same rendering engine and the release cycles are now more-or-less in sync. Another important release is a new web font compression format, WOFF 2.0, which reduces the file size by at least 30% compared to WOFF 1.0, thereby improving the loading speed of web pages using web fonts.

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