Following the Mac, Windows, and Linux release, Chrome 79 for Android is now rolling out. Tentpole features include password and phishing protections, as well as the ability for PWAs to have maskable icons.

The WebXR Device API is now shipping in Chrome and allows developers to create web-based virtual reality games and video for smartphones and head-mounted displays. This spec will soon be supported by Firefox Reality, Oculus Browser, Microsoft Edge, and Magic Leap Helio for a consistent experience. Moving forward, the API will allow for augmented reality and other rich interactive experiences.

Progressive Web Apps help online experiences feel like any other native client. A part of this is appearing in the launcher and getting a homescreen icon. On Android, Chrome 79 allows PWA icons to “automatically mask irregularly shaped icons to fit properly.” Supported icons can take up the entire shape instead of being placed within a white circle/teardrop/squircle/rounded square.

This release adds the small ability to reorder Chrome Bookmarks. From the list view, you can tap-and-hold to reveal a draggable handle at the right. This works for links and folders.

Google’s password and phishing protections are expanded in Chrome 79. 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.

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 Android and desktops is rolling out now, with Chrome OS following next week.

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About the Author

Abner Li

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