Google Chrome Overview Updated August 22, 2019

Google Chrome

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1,452 'Google Chrome' stories

May 2011 - August 2019


Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, Google Chrome is the most widely used desktop browser in the world. Since its launch in 2008, Chrome has expanded to Android, iOS, and is the basis of a cloud-based operating system.

Recommended Chromebooks:

History

Chrome was developed out of frustration at the state of browsers that limited Google’s increasingly complex web apps. In creating its own browser, Google could push the state of the web and build the best experience for its products.

Launched in September for Microsoft Windows, Chrome quickly gained 1% of the total desktop market share by the end of the year. A developer preview in 2009 brought Chrome to Mac OS X and Linux, but a stable version was not available until May 2010. In November 2011, Chrome overtook Firefox in worldwide usage and in September 2012 became the most widely used web browser beating Internet Explorer.

In July 2009, Google announced a project to build an operating system that stored applications and user data in the cloud. The thin client OS was publicly demoed in November, but it was not until 2011 that the first Chromebooks shipped from OEM partners.

A beta version of Google Chrome for Android launched in February 2012, with a stable version ready by June. Google also released an iOS version, but it is limited technically due to security restrictions enforced by Apple.

Features |

Chrome shares many of the same features and underlying technology across all platforms. The browser and OS maintain version number parity across all platforms. Every six weeks a major version is released to the Stable Channel and a new developer version is introduced in the Canary Channel. A Beta Channel acts as an intermediary way to access new features without too many bugs.

Security

The automatic Chrome update system downloads updates in the background and insures that users are always on the latest version of Chrome. There are many minor patches between between major updates that delivers security fixes and keeps users secure. Chrome maintains a Safe Browsing blacklist of malicious sites that pop up a bright red warning so users can turn back.

Tabs are sandboxed to make sure processes cannot interacting with critical memory functions and other processes. Besides for security, a multi-process architecture gives each site and plug-in a separate process. As such, a crash will only take down that tab and not the entire application.

Since the first version, Chrome has had a private browsing feature. Incognito mode prevents the browser from storing cookies or history and can be opened alongside regular tabs.

Interface

The main Chrome interface has remained mostly the same over the years. In fact, the ‘Chrome’ name refers to the lack of UI elements and a focus on the browsing experience. An Omnibox acts as both the URL bar and search box. At the time, many browsers had two separate fields right next to each other. The Omnibox has prediction capabilities to help users find what they are looking for and is also present on the mobile apps.

Android apps

Later this year, Android apps and the Play Store will arrive on Chrome OS. Google previously experimented using ARC Welder to virtualize the Android run time and allowed apps to run on all platforms, including Mac, Windows, and Linux. The latest approach is limited to Chrome OS, but provides a much more native and fast experience. Apps open up as windows and can become phone or tablet-sized. Touchscreen Chromebooks will provide the best experience.

Google Chrome Stories Today

While increasingly trying to diversify its businesses with Cloud and hardware, Google is primarily supported by advertising. User tracking for ads inherently conflicts with the broader push for privacy. Google today announced a “Privacy Sandbox” initiative to build open standards that contribute to a more private web.

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Google Chrome Stories August 21

When browsing the web, sometimes you’ll come across an image that you want to know a bit more about, and one of the best ways to do that is through Google Lens. As it stands, you need to save the image to your phone, switch to Google Lens, and scan the image that way. Soon, you’ll be able to share an image directly to Google Lens from Chrome for Android.

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Google Chrome Stories August 13

Over the past two years, Google has been trying a number of UI redesigns on Chrome for Android, some of which have worked decently, others have drawn complaints. The latest Chrome for Android redesign, called “Start Surface,” replaces the somewhat complicated “Duet” layout and adds a dedicated “Explore” tab.

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Google Chrome Stories August 9

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.

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With the release of Chrome 76, Google attempted to put a stop to web developers and publishers detecting people using Chrome’s Incognito Mode. Unfortunately, it seems their efforts may be all for naught, as at least one major news outlet, The New York Times, has managed to put their hard paywall back up for those using Chrome Incognito.

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Google Chrome Stories August 6

Google last week announced that the Advanced Protection Program was coming to enterprise G Suite and Cloud accounts. With three key features, the company today announced a fourth that will block risky downloads in Chrome.

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