Google Chrome 86 rolls out with flags for menu icons, back-forward cache, and more
Google this week started rolling out Chrome 86 to users, almost a month after it first appeared in the Beta Channel. The update should be available on all platforms with the exception of Chrome OS, where it will arrive next week. Here are some of the new features in Chrome 86.
If a password you’ve saved in Chrome on Android and iOS has been compromised, the browser will now let you know and also prompt you to change it. With support for the “.well-known/change-password” standard, websites will be able to specify the URL where users can go to change their passwords.
With the standard in place, users can quickly and easily find the page they need to change their compromised password on. By making password changing more convenient, users will hopefully change their compromised passwords rather than getting discouraged by the whole process.
Chrome 86 will also warn users when they encounter insecure forms or downloads. An insecure form could be hosted on encrypted HTTPS pages but submit data via non-encrypted HTTP operations.
Google wants to improve how users navigate large menus, so the company is working on adding menu icons in Chrome 86. According to Android Police, these features must be enabled through flags, and there are two to test out. There’s #tabbed-app-overflow-menu-icons and #tabbed-app-overflow-menu-regroup; the first adds icons next to each entry in Chrome’s overflow menu, while the second reorganizes the menus into sections.
Even small changes can make big differences in accessibility. Google Chrome to add icons in the overflow menu.
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) August 22, 2020
Native File System
When Google rolled out Chrome 78, it began testing a Native File System API, which allowed web pages to directly access your computer’s file system. That feature is now rolling out widely with Chrome 86, making it much easier to pick files to upload to a website.
For security, sites can only see the files you select, and they can only save changes back to those files once granted permission. You’ll also see an indicator in the address bar once a website has file permissions, and file permissions are only valid as long as the website is open.
Enhanced Safe Browsing for Android
Chrome 86 also introduces Enhanced Safe Browsing to Android — a feature that was previously brought to Chrome for desktop. The feature is designed to protect users from malware and phishing by proactively checking whether a website and downloads are dangerous. Enhanced Safe Browsing, when enabled, has reportedly seen a 20% drop is users typing their passwords into phishing sites, according to Google.
There are many more developer-facing technical changes in Chrome 86, including the start of FTP deprecation and availability of WebHID APU as an origin trial. The latter will allow web based games to take full advantage of gamepads.
Chrome 86 also adds a flag for Back-Forward Cache, which can speed up webpage load times when going backward and forward. The feature is available in Android as a flag (#back-forward-cache).