We’re kicking off February 2022 with a new release of Google Chrome. Version 98 of the popular browser brings a new “Privacy Guide” for checking up on some important settings, cleaner emojis, and a new screenshot tool. Let’s take a look.
One of the biggest new features in Chrome 98 is called “Privacy Guide.” This is still hidden behind a flag, but it looks close to being ready for primetime. Privacy Guide is a tool that helps you check up on your browser privacy and security.
Available on desktop and mobile with the flag
chrome://flags/#privacy-review , the Privacy Guide can be found in the “Security & Privacy” settings. It’s a nice guided tour through some of the settings that allow you to lock down your privacy. You don’t have to go hunting for the options yourself.
Chrome 98 is implementing a new set of COLRv1 Color Gradient Vector Fonts. What that means for you is emoji that can scale better and come in smaller filer sizes. This is largely thanks to switching to vector formats from PNGs. It’s not something you’ll notice with small emojis, but when you zoom in, you can see a pretty big improvement. Check it out for yourself with this website.
Take Screenshots in the Browser
It’s not difficult to take a screenshot with Windows or Mac, but it does require cropping out part of the browser window you might not want to include. Chrome 98 makes this easier with a built-in screenshot tool. However, it’s not stable yet, you’ll need to enable these two flags to use it:
At the time of writing, the “Edit” functionality is not yet working, but you can download screenshots.
Update, 2/2/22: Unfortunately, when we tested this feature in the final stable version of Chrome 98, we found it was crashing. Hopefully, Google improves its stability soon.
When you click the share icon in the address bar you’ll see a new “Screenshot” option. In addition, Chrome for Android is testing the ability to add emojis to screenshots. This can be found by enabling the flag
chrome://flags/#lightweight-reactions-android . It adds a new “Add Emotion” button to the share menu.
Better Looking Web Apps Become Stable
Google was testing a more “native” looking top bar for web apps in Chrome 97 and it’s now stable in Chrome 98. The top bar better utilizes the space available for things like search bars. It takes up less space overall and just looks a little nicer. You can test it by installing this demo site as an app.
What Else Is New?
Google now releases every version of Chrome every four weeks, which means big splashy features aren’t as frequent. There’s still a lot happening under the surface, though. 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:
- Chrome 98 lets you specify whether
window.open()launches a new window or a new tab.
- New Origin Trial for Region Capture, an API for cropping a self-capture video track.
- Back/forward cache (or bfcache) is a new browser optimization that enables instant back/forward navigation.
- The Lighthouse panel is now running Lighthouse 9.
How to Update Google Chrome
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 click Help > About Google Chrome.
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