Google Chrome Overview Updated February 15, 2019

Google Chrome

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1,374 'Google Chrome' stories

May 2011 - February 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 February 15

As many websites make their money from tracking and advertising, especially advertising targeted to individuals based on their web activity, Google Chrome’s Incognito Mode can help give users a sense of privacy by temporarily disconnecting from their Google, Facebook, and Amazon accounts. For those who use Incognito this way, you may be shocked to know that Chrome has long had a flaw that can be abused by web developers to detect whether you’re using Incognito Mode. According to a set of new code changes, Google is finally looking to fix this issue.

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Google Chrome Stories February 12

Google has released 12 official color themes for Chrome (via Techdows) that includes a Chrome dark mode-lite ‘Just Black’ colorway. expand full story

Deal: Get Pixelbook at 25% off: $750!

Google Chrome Stories February 8

For the past several weeks, Google has been preparing a dark mode for Chrome on Mac and Windows given that both desktop operating systems feature a system-level functionality. A night theme for Android is now in testing with the latest Chrome 73 beta.

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Unlike past betas, Chrome 73 includes a handful of new user-facing features. The browser gains a new “Sync and Google services” section in Settings, and more features tied to signing-in with your Google Account. There are also a handful of new features for Picture-in-Picture and media playback that developers can take advantage of.

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How to update Google Chrome on your PC, Mac, Android, and iPhone

Google Chrome is constantly getting updates — we know, because we’re tracking them every single week. And while Google Chrome handles these updates by itself most of the time, you might be wondering how to trigger Chrome to update manually. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to update Google Chrome on your PC, Mac, Android, or iPhone devices, and we’ll show you how to do it.

Following last year’s Google Material Theme and complete launcher redesign aimed at tablets and other touchscreen devices, Chrome OS 72 is rolling out today. This big release brings Android 9 Pie to more Chromebooks and features a handful of other notable changes to Assistant, Cast, and PiP.

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