In a slightly unorthodox move, Chrome 63 for Android is rolling out before the Mac, Windows, and Linux variants. This version introduces a number of changes on mobile, including a new site permissions dialog, redesigned chrome://flags page, and a new introductory prompt for Chrome Home.

In an effort to cut down on errant permission requests by websites, Google is switching to a modal Permissions dialog that users must take action on. The previous banner that slid from the bottom of the page was easily ignored and resulted in developers often triggering requests without taking into consideration whether “the user has the appropriate context to grant the permission.”

Google found that the new pop-up reduces permission prompts by half, with users five times more likely to either grant or deny access. Under the old method, users would often ignore or temporarily dismiss prompts more than 90% of the time.

Chrome 63 redesigns the chrome://flags page for enabling experimental features. It is no longer a scaled down version of the desktop version thanks to a search feature, larger touch targets, and tabs to separate available/unavailable experiments.

On Android 8.0 and above, this version also adds support for Oreo’s Smart Text Selection feature.

Meanwhile, as the Chrome Home bottom bar redesign continues its rollout, Google is surfacing a new prompt to enable or disable the feature, along with a quick summary.

Other features in this version include the new Device Memory JavaScript API that helps sites determine the total RAM on a user’s device. As such, developers can serve a “lite” version for a better overall experience. A new display: minimal-ui will allow developers to build minimal interfaces that lack action bars and other elements, similar to Chrome Custom tabs on Android.

Chrome 63 for Android will rollout over the coming weeks via the Play Store.

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: