Google is rolling out the latest version of Chrome for Mac, Windows, and Linux. Chrome 79 readies tab freezing to make the browser less resource-intensive, and a slew of security features related to phishing protections.
A new “tab freezing” feature introduced with Chrome 79 works to save memory, CPU, and battery resources on desktops. Tabs that have been in the background for over 5 minutes will be frozen and not able to perform tasks. There is an exception for playing audio and video, as well as recording, while site developers can experimentally opt-out.
This release also expands Google’s password and phishing protections in Chrome. The Password Checkup extension is now integrated as part of “Sync and Google Services,” while two phishing protections work to make Safe Browsing better and alert you to change passwords entered on malicious sites. More details are available here.
A related change sees the browser better emphasize what profile you’re using by adding a name next to the avatar. Intended for shared devices with multiple users, Google wants to make sure you are storing credentials in the right Google Account.
Originally planned for the previous release, Chrome 79 features an experiment for 1% of users that enables secure DNS connections through DNS-over-HTTPS. This prevents user tracking and malicious redirects. A new flag allows you to opt-out of the DoH test: chrome://flags/#dns-over-https.
Chrome will check if the user’s DNS provider is among a list of participating DoH-compatible providers and if so, it will enable DoH. If the DNS provider is not on the list, Chrome won’t enable DoH and will continue to operate as it does today.
Chrome will begin marking sites that use TLS 1.0 or 1.1 “Not Secure” and remove the lock symbol. This measure starts in January 2020 as Google encourages sites to move away from legacy TLS.
Google is working on a shared clipboard between computers and Android that’s available from the right-click menu. Copied text can be shared on devices that are logged in to the same Google Account and have Chrome Sync enabled. Text is end-to-end encrypted and Google notes how it can’t see the contents. It began rolling out in October for a “limited number of users” and will be “released to all users in a future version of Chrome.”
Chrome 79 for desktops is available now, with Android and Chrome OS following in the coming weeks.
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