Chrome 90 brings some new window management tools, a much-needed fix for the Reading List, and plenty of improvements under the surface. The update is rolling out now to Chrome browsers on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
To go with the 90th stable release of Chrome, Google made a silly 90s themed video to explain some of the features. It’s worth a watch if you can handle the cringe.
AV1 Encoder Optimized for Video Calls
Video conferencing is incredibly popular these days, so Chrome is working to make it better. Chrome 90 on the desktop has support for the AV1 Encoder, which uses the WebRTC standard and is optimized for video calling.
What this means for you is better video quality and less bandwidth usage, even with slow data connections. Of course, services have to use the codec in order for you to get these improvements, so they won’t happen overnight.
HTTPS is Now Default
Chrome 90 will attempt to load websites over HTTPS by default. This translates to better privacy for you and improved site loading speeds. The majority of websites use HTTPS nowadays. Chrome will also try to load HTTPS, but will fall back to HTTP if it’s not supported.
That might not seem like a huge deal. If most sites already support HTTPS, what does it matter? This change ensures that even if you click an old URL or enter an old URL, you’ll still end up using HTTPS.
Hide the Reading List Without a Flag
The Reading List started to appear before Chrome 90, but it lacked a pretty important feature: the ability to hide it. We explained how you can use a Chrome flag to get rid of it, but now you can simply right-click to hide it.
Give Chrome Windows Specific Names
If you have a bunch of Chrome windows open, there’s a new feature you can use for organization. Chrome 90 adds the ability to give windows names. These names show up in the taskbar and the task view.
The feature can be found under the “More Tools” menu or by right-clicking the window title bar. A text box will appear and you can enter a name for the window. This is available for Chrome on the desktop.
Chrome 90 doesn’t include many surface-level changes, but there’s always more going on behind the scenes. You can read about many of these changes on the developer site and the Chromium blog. We’ll highlight a few changes here:
- WebXR Depth API: Helps websites using AR measure the physical distance between your device and objects in the real world.
- New CSS Overflow value: Prevents text from flowing outside of boxes and other elements. Stops any type of scrolling for the box.
- The Feature Policy API has been renamed to “Permissions Policy.”
- Shadow DOM: Chrome 90 makes it possible to create shadow roots using only HTML.
- Core Web Vitals: Developers can use a new overlay to better visualize and measure page performance.
Chrome will automatically install the update on your device when it’s available. To immediately check for and install any available updates, click the menu > Help > About Google Chrome.
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