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Google Chrome 90: Now available and what’s new?

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Google Chrome 90 is now being rolled out gradually to users of Windows 10, macOS, Linux and mobile devices with several consumer-oriented features and security improvements. Chrome 90 is also the first version of the browser to automatically load all URLs using the more secure HTTPS protocol.

In Chrome 89 or earlier, if you enter URLs in the Chrome address bar (Omnibox), the browser will first ping the HTTP (non-secure) version of the website before redirecting users to the HTTP (secure) version. After applying the latest Google update, Chrome 90 will ping the website’s HTTPS version instead of the insecure protocol.

Google Chrome already blocks downloads of files sent over HTTP protocol on an HTTPS page, and currently only Google Chrome is loading URLs automatically via the HTTPS protocol and it is still unclear whether this feature is also going to other Chromium browsers like the Edge.

Google Chrome 90 Now available and whats new

New features in Chrome 90

AV1 Codec

AV1 is an open source codec designed to allow better quality video streaming in different formats and platforms. Firefox already supports AV1 and Google Chrome is also receiving this feature in the latest update.

In addition to better video quality, AV1 also reduces data usage, especially on mobile devices (Android and iOS) or when you have a slow internet connection.

AV1 is not just about improving the quality of streaming. In theory, this feature could offer better compression and screen sharing efficiency in services like Discord and Microsoft Teams (web). However, AV1 support in Chrome is not enough to improve visual quality. The content also needs to be encoded in AV1 on websites, instead of H.264 or other formats.

Window nomenclature

Google Chrome is receiving a new window management feature to make it easier to identify multiple browser tabs. To access this feature, you need to open the Chrome menu, click on “More tools” and select “Name window”.

Rename Chrome window

Or you can also right-click on the browser window to access the feature. Chrome 90 will remember the names you’ve set for the tabs and they’ll be restored the next time you open your browser or if it abruptly blocks.

This feature is also coming to Microsoft Edge in version 90.

Other improvements in Chrome 90

  • WebXR Depth API: Chrome is getting a new API based on the existing WebXR Device API to improve the AR browser experience. Using this API and buffering information, Chrome-based applications will better understand the user’s environment.
  • The URL protocol configurator is being enabled for greater compliance with standards.
  • Performance overlay: For developers, Chrome is receiving a new optional overlay that will highlight site performance using Core Web Vitals and other metrics promoted by Google.
  • Security: Chrome will now block connections to HTTP, HTTPS or FTP servers on port 554 to mitigate the NAT Slipstream 2.0 attack.

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