Google’s speedy release cycle for the Chrome browser continues with version 103 on June 21, 2022. This release includes faster page load times, fonts for web apps, and more tools to block annoying notification prompts.
Faster Page Load Times
Google is constantly working on making Chrome faster and version 103 makes further improvements in this quest. Chrome 103 includes support for the 103 Early Hints HTTP response code (the “103” part is not related to Chrome 103).
Most modern browsers—Google Chrome included—start pre-fetching pages before you even click or tap a link. The 103 Early Hints simply make this process a tiny bit faster, and on the internet, a tiny bit faster matters.
Web Apps Can Use Local Fonts
It seems like every new release of Chrome includes improvements for web apps. Chrome 103’s contribution is local font access. Web apps will be able to use the fonts you have stored on your device. Currently, web apps need your permission to import fonts, but this change would make them work more like native apps.
Blocking Notification Prompts With Machine Learning
Google Chrome has a number of features designed to detect malicious websites. Chrome 103 is improving those features with machine learning that runs entirely in the browser (and doesn’t send data to Google).
Machine learning will help Chrome predict when a user is unlikely to opt-in to notifications from a website. It will then block those annoying prompts for you. If you disagree with Chrome’s decision, you can click the “Allow for this site” button.
Remove the Discover Feed from Android’s New Tab Page
Chrome for Android’s New Tab page has a lot going on. Along with a search bar and your frequently visited sites, there’s a section at the bottom for the Discover feed. A new flag allows the feed to be removed.
The feature flag can be found at chrome://flags#feed-ablation. After you enable the flag, the Discover and Following feeds will be removed from the New Tab page. This is available in Chrome Beta 103 and may come to the stable version too.
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:
- The AVIF image file format is now sharable by Web Share.
- The Gampepad API now requires a secure context.
- The Battery Status API is no longer supported on insecure contexts, specifically HTTP pages and HTTPS iframes embedded in HTTP pages.
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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