Google Chrome Overview Updated March 23, 2021

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1,718 'Google Chrome' stories

May 2011 - October 2021

Chromebooks Chrome

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.

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 October 12

Adobe today announced a big update to its Acrobat extension for Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge – the addition of basic PDF editing tools, many of which come at no cost.

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Google Chrome Stories October 8

During I/O 2021, Google announced that Chrome for Android would be testing a built-in RSS reader. It’s considered an experiment that might not ever launch, but you can test the RSS-powered “Web Feed” in Chrome today.

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Google Chrome Stories October 1

Outside of improving the browser’s technical underpinnings, Google has been working to make Chrome easier to use with features like Tab Groups and copy link to highlight. Chrome is now experimenting with a “Journeys” feature and Search side panel.

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Google Chrome Stories September 30

Earlier this year, Google said it would delay its plan to replace third-party cookies and started offering a detailed schedule. The Privacy Sandbox timeline is seeing its monthly update today, and Chrome will not begin testing FLoC and other ad/relevant content technology until Q1 of next year.

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Google Chrome Stories September 29

In addition to the big MUM upgrade that lets you ask questions about a photo, Google Lens is getting more prominent on iOS and in desktop Chrome.

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Over the past few months, Chrome has been surfacing helpful panels on the New Tab Page, and the latest card is for intelligent Google Drive file suggestions.

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Google Chrome Stories September 27

Last week, Google rolled out the latest version of its browser and kicked off the new four-week release cadence. Chrome 94 is now widely rolling out on Android, and it brings along Material You, as well as Dynamic Color on newer devices. 

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Performing a Google search has become an everyday occurrence for most of us, and now Chrome is working to make it easier to browse your results with a new “Side search” panel.

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Google Chrome Stories September 25

Following version 93’s release on Android, Mac, Windows, and Linux, the next release of Google’s browser is rolling out. Chrome 94 is here and marks the start of updates every four weeks (instead of six).

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Google Chrome Stories September 23

For the past few years, Google has been working on a new specification for building Chrome extensions. Manifest v3 became available earlier this year with Chrome 88. In launching, the company has been conscious of how big a shift the privacy-preserving aspects are, and today detailed the transition away from Manifest v2.

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Google Chrome Stories September 21

Google has been working on an in-app browser for Search on Android for quite sometime now. After being widely rolled out to the beta channel for the past few months, it has disappeared and reverted to Chrome Custom Tabs.

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Google Chrome Stories September 3

While people like desktop Tab Groups, the reception is much chillier in Chrome for Android. Google is fortunately listening to feedback and is “experimenting with changes to this feature’s behavior.”

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Google Chrome Stories August 31

Chrome 93 is rolling out as a quieter release than usual on desktop and mobile today. However, a small tweak in Chrome for Android sees Google switch the dark theme to a darker shade of gray.

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Following version 92’s release on Android, Mac, Windows, and Linux, the next release of Google’s browser is rolling out. Chrome 93 is here today as a smaller update.

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Earlier this year, Chrome rolled out the ability to generate links that directly highlight a specific passage of text. Google now wants Chrome users on Android to test (and create) “quote cards” that can be easily shared as images on your social network of choice.

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Google Chrome Stories August 23

One of the most useful new features added to Chrome in quite some time is Tab Groups, but it can get a bit tedious recreating them on a regular basis. To solve that, Google is working on the ability to save Tab Groups to Chrome for later use.

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Google Chrome Stories August 19

While Chrome has been visually refreshed over the years, Google has kept the core user experience intact to avoid “disorienting” users. Over the past few weeks, however, Chrome for Android has been testing a redesigned New Tab page that changes quite a few things for the worse, but fortunately you can get back the old version.

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Over the years, Google has worked to minimize the security risks posed by browser add-ons. Enterprise administrators now have a new option that lets managed Chrome users request extensions as needed.

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Google Chrome Stories August 16

Some sort of “private mode” is a standard feature of any browser now, and with Google Chrome, it’s called “Incognito” browsing. With some new updates, though, Google is updating the look of this useful feature.

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Google Chrome Stories August 12

Incognito mode on the Chrome browser can prove useful for a variety of reasons, and on Android, it may soon be picking up the ability to lock your tabs behind another layer of privacy.

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Google Chrome Stories August 6

Every good operating system needs a web browser, especially as more and more apps move to the web. To that end, Google is preparing to bring the full Google Chrome browser experience to Fuchsia OS.

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Google Chrome Stories August 5

Google Chrome for desktop is set to gain a handy screenshot tool, complete with Google Lens integration, which should replace screenshot extensions.

Update: The Google Lens integration is now live in pre-release builds of Chrome.

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Google Chrome Stories August 1

For the past few years, Google has aggressively encouraged adoption of two-factor authentication (2FA) — or 2-Step Verification (2SV) as the company refers to it. This includes physical security keys that plug in over USB, while it also offers phone security keys. The latest effort turns Chrome for Android into a security key for Google Account sign-in. 

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Google Chrome Stories July 25

Apple’s mobile web browser is the main lightning rod of this year’s iOS 15 beta period and it remains to be seen whether it will actually launch in the fall. Chrome for Android tried a similar Safari on iOS 15 redesign years ago, and a designer on that project provided some interesting insight into why Google abandoned it.

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Google Chrome Stories July 23

Last month, Google announced that it would delay Chrome’s plan to phase out support for third-party cookies. As part of that, the company provided more details about the Privacy Sandbox and has today released a rollout timeline.

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Google Chrome Stories July 21

With the 2020 Summer Olympics set to begin in Tokyo this Friday, Google is bringing some of the best of the games to your home by adding new modes to Chrome’s classic Dino Run game.

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Google Chrome Stories July 20

In a significant expansion, Google is bringing its Lens visual search tool to the desktop web via the Chrome browser.

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Following version 91’s release on Android, Mac, Windows, and Linux, the next release of Google’s browser is rolling out. Chrome 92 is here with a slew of user-facing security and productivity enhancements.

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As part of the broader Chrome 92 update today, Google is expanding the availability of Site Isolation on Android, as well as to extensions on desktop browsers.

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Google is rolling out Chrome 92 for iOS today with a number of new user-facing features and tweaks.

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Google Chrome Stories July 19

Google’s next Android homescreen widget is a dedicated shortcut to Chrome’s Dino Run game, matching the iOS widget.

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Google Chrome Stories July 16

Chrome is set to offer a new home screen widget for Android to match the delightful ones added to Chrome for iOS.

Update: Chrome’s Android widget has gotten further along in development, revealing more of its final design.

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Google Chrome Stories July 14

Over the years, Chrome has been a big proponent of increasing HTTPS adoption to improve privacy and security on the web. The latest Chrome steps include rolling out an HTTPS-First Mode and experimenting with a replacement for the lock icon in the address bar.

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Google Chrome Stories July 6

A new feature being tested in Chrome for Android lets you quickly swap between Google Search results with a single tap.

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Google Chrome Stories June 29

For years now, Google has been one of the biggest proponents of using a more secure HTTPS connection everywhere possible. Google’s latest optional push, “HTTPS-Only Mode,” would make older HTTP websites inaccessible in Chrome.

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After announcing a handful of new education features just last week, Google is updating the privacy and security defaults for students using Chrome, as well as accounts and other apps, managed by schools. 

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Google Chrome Stories June 28

Back in November, Google announced a suite for new features for Chrome, from performance improvements to tab search and address bar actions. Another, which is seeing a wider launch now, helps “pick up where you left off” by surfacing cards in Chrome’s New Tab Page. 

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Google Chrome Stories June 25

One of the hallmarks of the upcoming Material You design language, featured in Android 12, is apps theming themselves based on your current wallpaper. Signs have begun to point toward Chrome for Android preparing to support Material You color theming.

Update: A new flag confirms the Material You coloring will indeed be coming soon to Chrome on Pixel phones.

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Google Chrome Stories June 24

At the start of 2020, Google announced a plan to make third-party cookies “obsolete” in Chrome as part of its Privacy Sandbox initiative. In an update, the company said “more time is needed across the ecosystem to get this right” but did provide a more firm timeline today.

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Google Chrome Stories June 11

The Privacy Sandbox is Google’s initiative for building a more private web, and a key aspect involves phasing out support for third-party cookies in Chrome through an alternative called FLoC. Given Google’s reach, the change was always going to be contentious, and it today offered a series of Privacy Sandbox commitments.

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Back in March, Google announced that Chrome was moving to a four-week release cycle for faster feature rollouts. The company today detailed plans for Chrome OS updates and what the upcoming schedule looks like.

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For the past three years or so, Google has been working on a project behind the scenes with the goal to hide full URLs in the address bar. Now, Google is pulling the plug on its Chrome experiment and will not hide URLs.

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Google Chrome Stories June 4

Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Mozilla working to standardize browser extension development

Google, Apple, and the other major browser vendors today announced a WebExtensions Community Group (WECG) at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to “work together to advance a common browser extension platform.”

Google Chrome Stories June 3

Last year, Google introduced a more advanced tier of protections that anyone can enable in Chrome. Enhanced Safe Browsing now warns users about untrusted extensions, while offering an additional layer of analysis for downloaded files.

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Google Chrome Stories May 31

Google says it won’t build backdoors in FLoC, Privacy Sandbox

Google is dead set on eliminating third-party cookies from the internet, and leading the charge has been the company’s controversial FLoC initiative. This week, Google has come out against concerns that the tech giant would build backdoors into its Privacy Sandbox and FLoC.

Google Chrome Stories May 29

Last year, Google’s mobile browser introduced a custom share menu to replace the system default. Chrome for Android is now adding a built-in screenshot tool.

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Google Chrome Stories May 27

Google rolled out the latest version of its browser this week with the ability to freeze Tab Groups and have PWAs launch on startup. Under-the-hood, Chrome 91 is 23% faster, thanks to a pair of JavaScript additions

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Google Chrome Stories May 26

Google Chrome set to gain Android 12-style stretchy scrolling

Love it or hate it, one of the tweaks coming with Android 12 is the addition of an iOS-like stretch effect when scrolling past the edge of a page. It seems that Android 12’s stretchy scrolling is also coming soon to Chrome for Android.

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