With version 62 rolling out on Mac, Windows, Linux, and Android, Chrome 63 is now in the beta channel. Besides the usual security fixes, it is heavy on new developer features, with notable behavioral changes for permission requests and audio muting.

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On Android, the Permissions dialog is switching from a banner at the bottom of the screen to a modal dialog that users cannot ignore. This change builds off work in Chrome 59 that temporarily blocks a permission if the request has been dismissed by a user three times.

Due to the ignorable nature of current banners, developers often trigger requests without impunity and do not take into consideration whether “the user has the appropriate context to grant the permission.” As a result, “users ignore or temporarily dismiss these permission prompts more than 90% of the time.”

In Chrome 63, Google has found that popups reduce permission prompts by half, with users five times more likely to take an action (accept or deny). The end goal is to cut down on user distraction, as well as get developers in the habit of providing context for their requested permissions.

Similar to how Android 8.1 will let app developers on the Play Store better target low-memory devices, the new Device Memory JavaScript API helps sites determine the total RAM on a user’s device. As such, developers can serve a “lite” version that results in a better overall experience.

Meanwhile, the new display: minimal-ui will allow developers to build minimal UIs that lack action bars and other interface elements, like Chrome Custom tabs on Android.

The bottom bar Chrome Home redesign is still slowly rolling out to users, but Google might be preparing for a wider launch with version 63. There is a new “You’re using the new Chrome” message at the top of the overflow menu that opens a popup describing the new features, as well as a toggle to disable.

This version on Android also sees a very welcome redesign of chrome://flags. The page on mobile is no longer a scaled down version of the desktop version, with larger touch targets, tabs for available/unavailable flags, and search.

Lastly, Chrome 63 is adding sitewide audio muting with an option to completely mute audio for individual sites. At the moment, users can only temporarily mute individual tabs, with the new setting being permanently synced over. Accessible in site settings or by opening the permissions panel when tapping the green lock, users will be able to choose between Allow or Block.

This is part of a broader plan to enforce more consistent media autoplay behavior with more behavioral changes going live in Chrome 64.

Chrome 63 should hit the stable channel in a few weeks time.


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