Version 80 of the Chrome browser for Android and desktop has officially arrived. With it comes a truckload of security patches and updates as well as a new feature that will make website notifications a little less annoying. Users of Chrome for Android, Windows, Linux and macOS should see the update rolling out over the next few days. You can manually check for updates on desktop by heading to the three-dot menu at the top right of the browser and looking for the “Update Google Chrome” notification. If you don’t see it, you’re likely on the most current version available to you. Android users can head to the Play Store on their mobile devices and click the hamburger menu at the top left. Select “My apps and games” and click the refresh icon to check for any new updates.
Now, let’s take a look at what’s new with Chrome 80 for Android and desktop. The update most pertinent to the daily Chrome user is the “quieter notifications” feature that can block notifications from websites by default instead of the user having to manually dismiss them before they are blocked. The quieter notification feature can be enabled in three different ways. If you are for sure wanting to use it out of the gate, you can enable it manually.
Users can enroll for quieter prompts manually, or disable it completely. To enroll, the toggle ‘Sites can ask to send notifications’ must be enabled in Settings > Site Settings > Notifications, then the checkbox ‘Use quieter messaging’ must be checked.Chromium Blog
The other two opt-in options are done automatically based on a couple of factors. First, if you normally dismiss notifications, Chrome will block them and send you a little reminder that this is your normal behavior. If you want to enable the notification for a particular site, you can click the bell icon in the Omnibox. Second, sites that have a low acceptance rate for notifications will be blocked automatically. On desktop, the quieter notifications will show on the right side of the Omni box. Android users will see them pop up from the bottom of the browser.
For Chromebook users, you can try this feature out now by heading to
chrome://flags/#quiet-notification-prompts and enabling the flag.
In the security department, Chrome 80 now restrict cookies to first-party access as the default. By limiting third-party cookie access, Google is looking to protect users from data being transferred across websites by utilizing the “SameSite” tags. To learn more about SameSite tags and the new cookie polity, check out this in-depth writeup from Kyle Bradshaw over at 9to5Google. From a user’s perspective, this change won’t affect much on a surface level but we can rest a little easier knowing that Chrome continues to move forward in securing our data on the web. In addition to the cookie changes, Chrome 80 included 56 security updates that netted bug hunters more than $50,000 in bounty rewards. You can find the details on the official Chrome Release post here.
For Chrome on Android, audio and video will now be forced to an https connection when being served from an unsecured source. The upgrade to https will happen automatically and assets that are unable to be forced will be blocked by default. Images will be given a pass at this time but you will see the “Not secure” notification in the Omnibox.
Other notable features include a gradual rollout of “tab grouping” for Chrome on Android’s new grid layout for open webpages. Users will be able to drag and drop sites into groups and keep the grid layout and a new tab switcher layout at the bottom of the screen will feature favicons for each tab group. Chrome 80 also adds support for SVG favicons which will help sites reduce resource size for the identifying images. For all the details on Chrome 80, head over to the Chrome Release Blog and stay tuned as we should see Chrome OS 80 landing in the next week or two.