Google Chrome Overview Updated March 23, 2021

Google Chrome

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1,770 'Google Chrome' stories

May 2011 - May 2022

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 Yesterday

Google is updating Lens in desktop Chrome so that it doesn’t open as a new tab and keeps you on the same page via a new side panel.

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Google Chrome Stories May 23

Google is preparing a way to remove the Discover feed from the New Tab Page of the Android version of Chrome.

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Google Chrome Stories May 11

One of Google’s big payments and privacy announcements at I/O 2022 is a very convenient feature that masks your physical credit card with a virtual one when shopping online with Chrome.

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Google Chrome Stories May 9

Google has long been a proponent of web technologies that offer an “experience comparable to a native application.” It has advocated for and built out browser features/APIs to that effect, and Google is now launching the Advanced Web Apps Fund.

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Google Chrome Stories May 5

Following our report last month, Google today announced its support for “passwordless FIDO Sign-in standards” and previewed what the end-user experience of passkeys on Android and Chrome will look like. 

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Google Chrome Stories May 4

What are Chrome Journeys and how do you use them?

Late last year, Google started testing out a new feature called “Journeys” for Chrome. This feature would allow users to utilize their Chrome history in a more impactful way by showing you not only the sites you’ve visited recently, but how you got there and what you found along the way. Sound cool? This guide will take you through Chrome Journeys and explain how to use the feature.

Google Chrome Stories May 3

At I/O 2021, Google announced that Assistant would help you change stolen credentials. This Google Assistant-branded, Duplex-powered capability for changing passwords is now rolling out in Chrome for Android.

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Google Chrome Stories April 30

Google has historically been very cautious about changing Chrome’s interface and layout given the extremely large user base. That said, one such change might be underway in Chrome for Android with the addition of a customizable toolbar shortcut.

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Google Chrome Stories April 27

Most Chrome features these days are rolled out via server-side updates instead of browser updates. One such example of that is a small tweak to the autofill popup in desktop Chrome that greatly improves usability when filling out forms.

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Google Chrome Stories April 26

Googler showcases the many web apps made possible by Chrome’s ‘Capabilities Project’

As the feature gap between native apps and web apps shrinks, the number of highly capable web apps has only grown. A Googler has taken the time to share a massive showcase of the web apps made possible by the APIs of Chrome’s “Capabilities Project.”

Google Chrome Stories April 19

Chrome Web Store adding Established Publisher and Featured extension badges

Over the past few years, Google has worked to clean up, boost privacy, and increase security on the Chrome Web Store. The latest effort introduces badges in the Chrome Web Store to better highlight high-quality extensions.

Chrome is a great browser with tons of tools and functionality. One feature that many users aren’t familiar with is the desktop version of Google Lens that’s fully integrated into Google Chrome. Follow along to learn how you can use Google Lens on Chrome desktop to search for any image on the web.

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Google Chrome Stories April 16

Chrome for Android tests confusing New Tab Page revamp, how to get the old design back [U]

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.

Google Chrome Stories April 14

Last week, Google introduced Lens multisearch to let you ask questions about pictures on Android and iOS. The version of Google Lens included with desktop Chrome has now been updated to do more than just search for images.

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Google Chrome Stories April 6

Desktop Chrome is getting a “step-by-step guided tour of some existing privacy and security controls” called Privacy Guide. 

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Google Chrome Stories April 1

In Google Chrome, Bookmarks tend to be one of those features that prove truly divisive among users. You either love them and use them often, or you’d rather not mess with cluttering up your browser. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to manage and hide them in Chrome using something called the Side Panel.

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Google Chrome Stories March 31

At the start of 2022, Google announced that the Privacy Sandbox was dropping FLoC as its proposal to replace third-party cookies for online ads. The company shared today that it will start trialing FLEDGE, Attribution Reporting, and Topics in Chrome and showed off end user control settings for the latter.

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Google Chrome Stories March 29

Google released the initial beta of its browser in September 2008 and over 13.5 years later Chrome is getting updated to version 100 today.

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How to set Google Chrome as your default browser on Windows 11

Google Chrome is an extremely powerful web browser. It becomes even more capable once you start adding extensions to make tasks easier and faster. Though, if you’re setting your default browser to Google Chrome on Windows 11, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Google Chrome Stories March 25

Google is rolling out a new Side Panel UI in desktop Chrome that provides fast access to your bookmarks and Reading List. 

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Google Chrome Stories March 24

Google has a new series of ads that are aimed at getting iPhone users to switch to its browser by pointing out how they’re likely using desktop Chrome and could get those features on mobile. 

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Google Chrome Stories March 18

Chrome on desktop has long offered the nifty ability to directly search other sites from the address bar. Google is making a pair of changes to Chrome Site search, including how you have to manually “activate” these shortcuts.

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Google Chrome Stories March 17

[U: Available in Canary] Google Chrome’s password manager is adding a new section for notes

Password managers are a key form of online security, and Google makes it rather easy to get started with a password manager built right into its popular Chrome browser. As that feature continues to get more important, Google is now adding room for notes on the Chrome password manager.

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.

Update: Google is continuing to expand Chrome’s “Side search” feature by supporting more devices and search engines.

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Google Chrome Stories March 16

Google sponsorship leads to ‘Chrome wheels’ and Android logo on McLaren Formula 1 cars

In a rather amusing display of corporate sponsorship, Google is now an “Official Partner of the McLaren Formula 1 Team and the McLaren MX Extreme E Team” with the Android and Chrome logos making an appearance on F1 race cars.

Google Chrome Stories March 15

Google is continuing its work to speed up Chrome with version 99 released last week. The company touts a handful of speed improvements, including with the Speedometer benchmark, on both Chrome for Mac and Android.

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Google Chrome Stories March 11

[Update: Finally available] You can uninstall Chrome web apps just like a native Windows app

Google Chrome makes it pretty easy to install Progressive Web Apps or, PWAs, on your machine to where they feel like native apps. Soon, on Windows machines, you’ll be able to uninstall web apps from Chrome just like you can native apps.

Google Chrome Stories March 10

The Chromium underpinnings of Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge have seen more in-the-wild “zero day” bugs as of late. Google today explained what’s behind that browser trend, as well as what security features Chrome has in place to counter it.

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Google Chrome Stories March 4

Google’s homegrown Fuchsia operating system has taken another step closer to being broadly usable by gaining the full Google Chrome browser experience.

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Google Chrome Stories February 28

Here’s what you need to know about using Google Password manager

Google’s Password Manager is an ecosystem-wide service for users of Google Chrome and Android. Password Manager saves the credentials you use most and helps you log in easily while on Google Chrome. This guide takes a look at whether Password Manager is safe, walks you through how to use the feature, and highlights unique aspects of the service.

Google Chrome Stories February 25

Google Chrome’s password manager is working on the ability to ‘send’ passwords

Google has given its password manager a lot more attention in recent months, and things just keep evolving. Coming soon, it seems Google Chrome is adding the ability to “send” passwords.

Google Chrome Stories February 23

What you need to know about icons in the address bar on Google Chrome desktop

As browsers go, Google Chrome is one that has a ton of features in plain sight, though it can be easy to forget about them. A few of those features are found right in the address bar. This guide will take you through the many icons you might find on the right of the address bar, as well as what they mean and do.

Google has announced that, with its upcoming Chrome 100 release, the company will discontinue the “Chrome Lite Mode” feature that has been available on Android for years.

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Google Chrome Stories February 21

Everything you need to know about updating Google Chrome for desktop

Google Chrome is an ever-evolving browser, which means that it gets updated pretty regularly. Often, these updates improve security to protect you while browsing the internet. This guide will take you through how often Chrome updates, automatic updates, and updating Google Chrome automatically.

Google Chrome Stories February 11

To boost product and platform security, Google runs Vulnerability Reward Programs (VRPs) for Android, Play, Chrome, and web services. The company saw researcher payouts increase by $2 million in 2021 to $8.7 million.

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Google Chrome Stories February 9

Over the past year, Google has been encouraging developers to optimize their apps for tablets and foldables. After having done so, Chrome has seen an 18x increase in multi-window usage on large screen devices.

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Google Chrome Stories February 8

Creating and organizing tab groups in Google Chrome, what you need to know

Opening and closing tabs can get real messy real quick, especially if they aren’t organized and kept up with. Fortunately, Google Chrome has a feature that lets you group tabs together, saving a lot of headaches. This guide will take you through exactly how to create tab groups in Google Chrome.

Google is rolling out a pair of new Android widgets for Chrome today, while making official the previously experimental “Journeys” feature that lets you “revisit past explorations grouped by topic.”

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Google Chrome Stories February 4

The Google Chrome icon is in the process of being updated and modernized for the first time in eight years. This is meant to better “align with Google’s more modern brand expression,” with the company now optimizing the logo for each operating system.

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Google Chrome Stories January 31

Google Chrome extensions are useful for a variety of reasons, from keeping your password manager a click away to checking your grammar. Some extensions, though, really think outside of the box, like the “Wii Shop Channel Music” extension for Google Chrome which puts the iconic tune on any shopping site you visit.

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Google Chrome Stories January 27

Auto-playing videos and ads can be super annoying when surfing the web, but Google has taken steps with its Chrome browser to make that easier. Now, Google Chrome is preparing a minor tweak that will make it much easier to mute tabs with a single click.

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Google Chrome Stories January 25

At the start of 2021, Google offered the Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) as a replacement for third-party cookies used to place relevant ads on sites. Following criticism and feedback over the past year, Google today proposed the Topics API as a new solution.

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Google Chrome Stories January 7

While many iOS users default to Safari for their browsing needs, Google Chrome is ready for cross-platform syncing and more. However, an update rolling out over the past few days is causing issues for Google Chrome users on iOS that result in the app freezing entirely.

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Google Chrome Stories December 28, 2021

Google Chrome is set to reach version 100 soon, but it looks like the release will cause some websites to no longer work. Google has begun investigating and testing solutions.

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Google Chrome Stories December 16, 2021

In time for last-minute holiday shopping, Chrome for Android is getting a particularly useful price drop tracker right in the tab grid.

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Google Chrome Stories December 8, 2021

The addition of scrolling screenshots that allow you to capture the entire screen was a big part of Android 12. Google has now quietly added support for Android 12’s scrolling screenshots in Chrome.

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Google Chrome Stories December 2, 2021

Google Chrome is the most popular browser in the world, and that pushes Microsoft and others to go to great lengths to make a dent in the market. Microsoft Edge was rebuilt using the same base as Chrome last year, and it’s really good, but Microsoft is yet again aggressively trying to stop users from downloading Google Chrome on Windows.

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Google Chrome Stories November 18, 2021

Google is making a change to Chrome settings that lets users more easily delete the data stored by sites. At the same time, the Google browser is moving the ability to delete individual cookies into DevTools.

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