With Chrome 59 now rolled out to desktops, Android, and Chrome OS, version 60 is now entering the beta channel with a number of features for developers. However, Android does add a very useful search widget.
When tapped, the new homescreen widget on Android directly opens the Omnibox and launches the keyboard to quickly search or enter a URL. The widget is 4 x 2 by default, though it can be resized to be as small as 1 x 1. The widget also includes a shortcut to search Chrome via voice.
Android also picks up a useful feature that allows Chrome to read URLs copied to your device’s clipboard. Copied links will automatically appear in a new “Link you copied” section of the Omnibox dropdown for very fast selection. While this feature is not yet live for all, it can be manually enabled. Search for “Omnibox clipboard URL suggestions” in chrome://flags and set to Enabled.
Under the hood, Chrome 60 allows sites to load fonts faster with the CSS font-display property and CSS @font-face descriptor. In the past, the browser delayed rendering text until the appropriate font was downloaded. With the new additions, developers can specify how and when Chrome displays text content during the download.
On the payments front, there are number of changes, including support for the Payment Request API on desktops. Meanwhile, sites can now collect payments through native Android payment apps using the same API.
Announced last year, the Credential Management API allows websites to interact with Chrome’s password manager and services like Google Smart Lock. It is now simpler for sites to use this API, with user password now returned directly.
Chrome 60 should hit the stable channel in approximately five weeks.