Ten years ago Google released the first iteration of its Chrome browser. On Tuesday, the company pushed out version 69.
It comes with a number of design and functional improvements such as:
- A new look – more rounded shapes, new icons, a new color palette, and simplified prompts, menus, and URLs in the address, all of which should make navigation easier and browsing faster.
- Smart answers through the Omnibox (the browser address bar that doubles up as search bar)
- Easier personalization (shortcuts, new tab background).
Aside from fixing 40 security issues of varying severity (but none critical), Chrome 69 comes with an improved built-in password manager that automatically generates a random password when users sign up on a new website.
To use it, the user must be logged in to their Google account, as the chosen password is saved into it. While this makes it accessible from any device and whenever the user needs it, in-browser password managers come with their own set of problems.
Nevertheless, this change should help users steer away from password reuse, which is currently a big problem.
With Chrome 69, Google has stopped putting the green lock and designation “Secure” before the URL of HTTPS sites. Instead, a simple grey lock icon is shown. (The final goal is to drop the lock icon as well, showing just the URL without any particular markings if the site is using HTTPS.)
In the end, only negative security indicators will be shown. Ideally, they’ll be more likely to be noticed and heeded by users.
The company has started putting that warning (in grey) before sites that transmit passwords or credit cards information over HTTP in early 2017, then started doing the same with FTP sites and, most recently, all HTTP sites.
The next version of Chrome (v70, scheduled for October 2018) will start showing a red “Not secure” warning when users enter data on HTTP pages:
Plans for the future
“As we look to the next 10 years of Chrome, we see an even better and more immersive browsing experience on the horizon. Already, we’re working on integrating augmented reality (AR) into Chrome to bring information that you interact with across the web and put directly into your physical environment,” shared Rahul Roy-Chowdhury, VP, Chrome and Chrome OS.
“In addition to making your browsing experience richer, we also want to make it smarter using AI. AI is already working for you in features like Google Translate in Chrome, which uses a state-of-the-art AI-based translation engine to bring all the world’s information to you in a language you can understand, right in your browser. We’ve also integrated machine learning to detect phishing and malware sites, and most recently began applying it to detect malicious extensions.”
Also, according to Adrienne Porter Felt, Chrome’s engineering manager, the Chrome team plans to “rethink” URLs altogether.