Chrome 54 is rolling out now to Mac, Windows, and Linux with the usual bug and security fixes for the browser. However, the bulk of new features this version are coming to Android with a way to download content for offline viewing and article suggestions on the ‘New Tab’ page.
On the desktop, Chrome will begin rewriting embedded YouTube Flash players to use the HTML5 embed style. This will improve performance and security as Chrome prepares to phase out Flash by the end of the year. Other new features include support for custom elements and components with the new V1 spec and a new BroadcastChannel API that allows sites to better communicate with their own custom tabs.
On Android, you can now download web pages, music, pictures, and videos for offline viewing. Saved pages will feature an offline tag in the address bar and can be accessed by a Downloads manager that lists items in a timeline. Downloads are initiated from the overflow menu with a new button on the top row of icons.
A revamped New Tabs page on Android features smart suggestions of articles and other pages that you might be interested in, like Google Now. The suggestions improve as Chrome learns what type of content you are interested. The New Tabs page will also surface recently downloaded pages for faster access.
Under the hood, videos like YouTube and TED Talks in Chrome will continue to play in the background after you switch tabs, exit to the homescreen, or when the screen is off. Specifically, Chrome no longer immediately closes a media notification when a video is not in the foreground. A playing video still pauses when your exit the app, but users can now press play on the media notification to resume a video’s audio.
Chrome 54 for desktop is rolling out now, with updates for Chrome on Android and Chrome OS following shortly.
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