Update: Announced in version 50 of Chrome OS, Material Design is now enabled by default on Mac with this latest update. Those who have pointed out how “un-Maclike” it looks can switch back to the older Non-Material design by going to Chrome flags here.


Chrome 52 is rolling out now to Mac, Windows, and Linux. The latest version of the Google browser contains the usual bug and security fixes, but notably removes the ability to use “backspace” as a return shortcut. It also adds several developer features to improve browser performance.

The decision to remove the shortcut was born out of years of user complaints about accidentally losing data when filling out a form by pressing backspace. Google is working on an extension to return the feature for power users, but notes that most operating systems have a system level keyboard combination to return.

Chrome uses a number of heuristics to determine what parts of a webpage have changed and only updating those to cut down on load times. However, elements can occasionally display outside its parent bound and effect other parts of the page. With version 52, new CSS contain property allowing developers to prevent elements from displaying outside its bounds, thus allowing Chrome to ignore those when deciding what to update.

Chrome now supports an open standard to authenticate a site’s server with a push service called VAPID. In the past, developers had to use proprietary push delivery services with different APIs for every browser.

Small user facing tweaks to Chrome this version include pausing animations when showing modal dialog boxes and preventing accidental pop-ups when scrolling by making sure a user actually tapped an ad.

Chrome 52 for desktop is rolling out now, with updates for Chrome on Android and Chrome OS following shortly.

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