Google Chrome was unveiled on September 1, 2008 as a “new open source browser” focused on speed and simplicity. Ten years later, its 69th version is launching today with a brand new design, faster browsing experience, and new security features.
Google Material Theme
Debuting at I/O, the Google Material Theme is now coming to Chrome. Various elements are now rounded with icons tweaked and a brighter color palette that reflects Google’s new design language. For example, not only is the address bar now pill-shaped across all platforms, but the dropdown that lists URLs and search suggestions features rounded corners on desktops.
The latter treatment is also applied to various menus and dialogue prompts. Tabs lose their sharp angled shape for a more rounded look that makes it easier to see page favicons. On iOS, Chrome switches to a bottom toolbar with Android also testing that design.
When Chrome first launched, many browsers featured separate URL bars and search boxes. One way Google differentiated and simplified itself was through a combined “Omnibox” that could handle both input types. This bar is now smarter by displaying inline results that immediately note the weather, definitions, sports scores, translations, and answers to questions. An icon at the left prefaces the result type, while searches for people include a small image.
Meanwhile, it will also alert users if a page they’re about to visit is already open in another tab, with the option to quickly “Switch to tab.” In the future, the Omnibox will be able to search files from Google Drive in addition to the web and other sites.
A new password manager is accessible by tapping your profile icon to the right of the Omnibox. This menu notes your Google Account and provides shortcuts to Passwords, Payment methods, and Addresses. The manager can also suggest auto-generated passwords and remember them across your devices.
Meanwhile, there are shortcuts to Open Guest window, Manage people, and Close all your windows, with these controls previously located in the upper-right corner by tapping your name.
On the personalization front, users can customize the New Tab page with their own uploaded background image, while Google manages a collection of curated ones.
Power users will benefit from finally being able to customize the shortcuts that appear under the search bar. “Add a shortcut” will allow users to manually pin a page instead of Chrome automatically generating what appears.
Under the hood, Google notes experiments to improve startup time, latency, memory usage, and usability, as well as new CSS features to improve performance tracking. Chrome 69 begins rolling out today.
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