Google has announced a number of upcoming changes to Chrome in the past few weeks, including phasing out Chrome apps on the browser and defaulting to HTML5 by year’s end. Chrome 53 — rolling out now to Mac, Windows, and Linux — contains the usual bug and security fixes, but also brings Material Design to Windows.
Chrome OS was the first to receive Material Design back in April and the Mac followed with Chrome 52. Material for Windows features a flatter design, sharper edges, refined iconography, and a dark theme for Incognito mode. Those who find the new design too dense can enable Material Hybrid in chrome://flags. Additionally, there is also an option to return to the non-Material look with the same flags drop down menu.
For Windows, Material is a “huge engineering feat” with the browser “now rendered fully programmatically including iconography, effectively removing the ~1200 png assets we were maintaining before.” Google notes that it “also allows us to deliver a better rendering for a wide range of PPI configuration.”
Chrome 53 of Android will also be the first version to support a new PaymentRequest API that similar to autofill. A user’s billing address, shipping details, and payer information will be stored in Chrome for easier and quicker purchasing. Commerce sites can begin supporting the API with other platforms gaining support soon.
On Android, muted videos will now autoplay, while videos that begin playing sound before a user interaction will be paused. Further blurring the distinction between native and web apps, websites will be able to send notifications that feature a unique badge rather than the generic Chrome logo in the status bar.
Chrome 53 for desktop is rolling out now, with updates for Chrome on Android and Chrome OS following shortly.
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