With Chrome 60 rolled out to Mac, Windows, and Linux, as well as Android, version 61 is now rolling out to the beta channel. This release features several major new APIs that bring more native app functionality to the web.
On Android, there is a new API that aims to solve the problem of individual service share buttons. While major networks like Twitter for Facebook are guaranteed, smaller services often miss out. Meanwhile, site developers are left to add services manually, while these buttons often add extra bloat and security risks.
With the new Web Share API, websites can now trigger the native Android share dialog. At the moment, this allows users to share text, links, and other content with any of their installed native apps. In the future, the API will add the ability to share to installed web apps.
Chrome 61 also adds support for the WebUSB API that allows web apps to communicate with peripherals. Most hardware like keyboards, mice, and printers are already supported by high-level web APIs. However, this was not the case for specialized educational, scientific, or industrial USB peripherals until now.
On the user experience front, Chrome will now automatically expand videos to full screen upon rotate for content that uses native controls. Similarly, a Chrome Custom Tab instead — rather than the full browser — will launch when navigating from an installed web app to a site outside the initial web app’s scope.
Other minor changes this version add the Network Information API on desktop to allow websites to access the connection information of a device, while the Device RAM API lets sites check RAM usage to optimize the performance of web applications.
Chrome 61 should hit the stable channel in a few weeks time.
Update: On Android, the new Chrome Home bottom bar interface is now the default for some users. With the UI defaulting for some while Chrome 61 was in the dev channel, it’s likely that Chrome Home will begin rolling out once this version hits the stable channel.
This version also sees Google testing a new Data Saver widget in the main menu that shows how much data has been saved through the feature’s compression functionality.
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