Google Chrome releases are now happening every four weeks, which is great for getting new features, but it means each version is lighter on those new features. Chrome 92, first made available on July 20, 2021, includes some interesting flags and updates for web apps.
Google began rolling out Chrome OS 92 to Chromebooks and Chromeboxes on August 2, 2021. In this update, you’ll find that Google Meet, the company’s video conferencing service, now comes preinstalled, a new emoji keyboard shortcut, and more.
Check Up on Website Permissions
Websites can require permissions just like mobile apps, but there’s not a convenient way to track which sites you’ve granted permissions. Chrome 92 for Android adds the ability to see permissions to the safety controls panel.
Now you can tap the lock icon in the address bar to open a panel that lists “Permissions.” When you select this entry, you’ll be able to see which permissions have been granted, and you can turn them off individually or reset them all.
New Chrome Action for Safety Checks
Chrome Actions were introduced in version 87 as quick shortcuts from the search bar. They can be used to do things like “delete history” and “launch incognito mode.” Chrome 92 adds an action for Safety Checks.
All you have to do is type “safety check” or “run safety check” in the address bar and you’ll see a shortcut to hop directly to Chrome’s Safety Check tool. The Safety Check will immediately run, saving you a lot of time.
Web Apps Can Handle Files
It’s common to get asked which app you want to use to open a file on your Android device. Now, you’ll also see web apps as available options. Once the developers have added support for it, you’ll be able to open files with web apps added via Chrome.
This change is starting on Android, but it will eventually come to Chrome on desktops as well. This will go a long way toward making web apps feel more like native apps.
Better Transitions for Web Apps
Web apps are taking another step toward feeling like native apps with better transitions. Developers will have a new set of transitions to choose from that will add some extra visual polish to web apps. This will also make things easier on developers, as they won’t have to create their own transitions anymore.
Memories: A New Way to See History
Do you feel like every social network has “Stories” now? You’re not alone, and Chrome is joining in—kind of. The feature is called “Memories,” and it’s essentially a new way to search your history.
At the time of writing, Memories is available under a flag (chrome://flags/#memories) on the desktop. Once it’s enabled, you can go to chrome://memories, and you’ll see a brand new UI for your history.
We’re not exactly sure what this is for at the moment. At this time, it shows a different history than what you see at chrome://history. This is clearly still a work in progress, but Google seems to have some plans for it.
“Follow” Websites Is More Widely Available
The early versions of Chrome 92 for Android added a feature called Web Feed. It’s quite similar in concept to RSS feeds but integrated into the Chrome browser. That feature is now more widely available and fleshed out.
Instead of finding an RSS feed and adding it to your RSS reader of choice, you can simply “Follow” a website from Chrome, and new content will appear on the “New Tab” page under the “Following” tab.
Better Controls for PiP Video Calls
Most of the popular video conferencing apps have web versions that work in Chrome. Google has been working on improving this experience, and Chrome 92 adds some new controls for when you pop out the video into a picture-in-picture (PiP) window.
The PiP window now shows icons to toggle on your microphone and webcam, plus, there’s a quick shortcut to end the call. These changes are still rolling out in Chrome 92, so you might not see them right away.
What Else Is New?
Chrome 92 is another release that’s light on user-facing changes, but there’s always more going on behind the scenes. You can read about many of these changes on Google’s developer site as well as on the Chromium blog. We’ll highlight a few changes here:
- App Shortcuts: Chrome for Android gets Settings in the launcher App Shortcuts menu.
- Imperative Slot Distribution Behavior: Imperative slotting enables dynamic slotting behavior based on input conditions and types.
- CSS Grid Editor: You can now preview and author CSS Grid with the new CSS Grid editor.
- Expanding Site Isolation: Site Isolation now covers a wider range of websites and extensions, and all of this comes with tweaks that improve Chrome’s speed.
Chrome will automatically install the update on your device when it’s available. To immediately check for and install any available updates, click the three-dot menu icon, and then click Help > About Google Chrome.
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