Following version 76’s release on Android, Mac, Windows, and Linux, the next beta release of Google’s browser is rolling out. The Chrome 77 beta features a new welcome experience, and readies more customization options for the New Tab page and might bring Google Assistant to more Chromebooks.

Chrome 77 introduces a new welcome experience that’s slightly longer than the current single page walkthrough after first installing the browser. It starts by inviting you to “Make Chrome your own” by adding bookmarks to major Google apps under the Omnibox. This includes Gmail, YouTube, Maps, News, and Translate.

The next asks about setting Chrome as your default browser to get “Google Search and Google smarts everytime you browse.” “Set as default” will open a system prompt to confirm the choice. The very last page details the benefits of turning on Chrome Sync to get “bookmarks, passwords and more on all devices.”

Another way to make Chrome yours is by personalizing the browser’s appearance. At the moment, you can customize the background of the New Tab page by uploading your own image or choosing from the “Chrome backgrounds” gallery. The Chrome 77 beta features work on letting users customize “Shortcuts” and “Color and theme.”

Accessible from the same “Customize” button in the bottom-right corner of the New Tab page, the first new option refers to the grid of website favicons just under the search bar. There are three possibilities:

  • My shortcuts: Shortcuts are suggested based on websites you visit often
  • Most visited sites: Shortcuts are curated by you
  • Hide shortcuts: Don’t show shortcuts on this page

“Color and theme” lets you choose between twenty preset themes, or launch a color picker to select your own and have Chrome create one. Even on the Chrome 77 beta, this feature is not yet available without enabling two flags:

chrome://flags/#ntp-customization-menu-v2

chrome://flags/#chrome-colors-custom-color-picker

Assistant today is only available on the Pixelbook and Pixel Slate. With Chrome OS 77, we’ve spotted Chromium commits that suggest a wider Google Assistant launch on other Chromebooks is almost here.

Chrome is cleaning up chrome://flags starting with version 77. The stated reason for enterprise customers is how policies are a better way to configure the browser. “Many flags” will be removed going forward, but this should not significantly impact consumers.

Google is a big proponent of web apps becoming as powerful and feature-rich as native counterparts. Chrome 77 begins origin trial testing of a Contact Picker API that “allows users to select entries from their contact list and share limited details of the selected entries with a website.”

It allows users to share only what they want, when they want, and makes it easier for users to reach and connect with their friends and family.

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