As October winds down, it’s time for another Chrome release. Version 107 of Google’s popular browser arrives on October 24, 2022, and it includes further work on some under-the-hood features to make your web browsing safer.
Continuing with User-Agent Reduction
Chrome’s big 100th release marked the beginning of Google’s plan to reduce the information in user-agent strings. This information tells websites what kind of device and OS you’re using, but it can also be used to build a profile about you.
That’s why Google stopped supporting unrestricted user-agent strings in Chrome 100. It replaced them with a more secure “User-Agent Client Hints API.” Google says Chrome 107 is “Phase 5” in this plan:
The <platform> and <oscpu> tokens (i.e., parts of the User-Agent string) are reduced to the relevant <unifiedPlatform> token values, and will no longer be updated.
Preparing to Deprecate the Widevine CDM
Watching content from streaming services in your browser isn’t as simple as you might think. In order to watch DRM-enabled content, Chrome uses the Widevine CDM (Content Decryption Module). Soon it will be deprecated.
Chrome 107 is the first version of the browser to ship with the replacement for Widevine CDM, which will be fully deprecated on December 6th, 2022. If Netflix suddenly stops working in December, you’ll need to make sure you update Chrome.
Coming Soon: Privacy Indicators for Chromebooks
A recent trend in smartphones (started by Apple) is privacy indicators. These are little dots or icons that show you when your device is accessing the camera or microphone. Google is working on bringing this same thing to Chromebooks.
The feature will: “show a green icon in the status area as well as add a silent notification to the tray” when the camera or microphone is accessed. It’s expected to hit the Canary channel soon as a feature flag, which means it may be ready for Chrome OS 108.
What Else Is New?
You may have noticed Chrome 107 is especially light on big features. However, there’s still a lot happening under the hood. You can read about many of these changes on Google’s developer site as well as on the Chromium blog. We’ll highlight a few changes here:
- In CSS Grid, the
grid-template-rowsproperties allow developers to define line names and track sizing of grid columns and rows. Chrome 107 supports interpolation for these properties.
- Web apps that support screen sharing when calling
getDisplayMedia()will exclude the current tab from the list of tabs offered to the user.
- The option for Chrome to show a button for switching tabs while screen-shared will be passed to
- You can now customize keyboard shortcuts for your favorite commands in DevTools.
How to Update Google Chrome
Chrome will automatically install the update on your device when it’s available. To immediately check for and install any available updates, click the three-dot menu icon and click Help > About Google Chrome.
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