Chrome 84 entered the beta just a few weeks ago, but it is already running on a stable channel on all platforms. This is one of the most important Chrome updates we’ve seen in a while, with some removed features and regular functionality for both people and developers. Let’s dive right in!
RIP Chrome Duet
The bottom bar interface is being tested in Chrome for Android Many years This time. First was ‘Chrome Home’, which moved the entire address bar to the bottom of the screen, which was later changed to ‘Duplex’, then to ‘Duet’ to avoid confusion with the Google Assistant feature of the same name. Name has been changed. It now appears that the long-running interface experiment is gone for good.
Chrome Duet on Chrome 83
Chrome 84 has removed two feature flags for Duet, # enable-duet-tabstrip-integration and # enable-chrome-duet. If you enable # temporary-uni-flag-m82 and # temporary-un -fire-flag-m83, they can still be seen in the flag list in Chrome 84, but even then, Couple Flat Does not seem functional. The Unexpire flag also has a description that reads, “These flags will be removed soon,” indicating that Duet is probably gone for good.
Although it looks like the Chrome Home / Duplex / Duet saga has finally arrived, Google may have other ideas to get to the bottom of the screen … like the tab switcher?
Conditional tab bar
A possible replacement for the Chrome Duet could be the ‘Conditional Tab Strip’, which first appeared as part of Chrome’s tab grouping feature (which is yet to fully roll out on Android). Google is removing the tab bar from the tab groups feature, so it can work whether or not tab groups are being used. Just go to chrome: // flags # enable-conditional-tabstrip and set it to ‘enable’.
The “conditional” part of the name comes from the fact that it is not always visible, even when the flag is enabled. The flag doesn’t work for me, but our own Rita L Khure has got it working on her phone, as did some Android Police readers who sent us suggestions about the feature.
Native applications on Android have been able to set shortcuts since Android 7.1, quick actions that you hold on the app icon. Starting with Chrome 84, web applications added to the home screen may also contain shortcuts. Like native apps, you can hold on to a shortcut to give it your icon.
Example of PWA (PhotoStack.app) with app shortcut
It’s not much work for developers to add shortcut support to their web apps – Twitter has already done this, and I added them to my own Photostack application in about 30 minutes (most of the time it was generating icons ).
Even though Google says that Chrome 84 should have app shortcuts available to everyone, and they were functional for me on beta releases, I can’t get shortcuts to be displayed by default in static releases. Perhaps it is tied to a server-side rollout, or it is a buggy.
Web otp api
There are many services that use phone numbers for verification or two-factor authentication, but usually require leaving the current app and reading a message from your SMS app. Google introduced a way for native Android apps to automatically read verification texts in 2017, and now the company is bringing the same feature to web apps.
Here’s how it works: When a website sends you a verification text, it can add a string of characters to the end of the message that tells the browser what site / app it is intended for. Android then shows a sign asking if Chrome should be allowed to read the message and send it to the site. If you accept, Chrome will automatically fill it – there is no need to switch to your messaging app.
The catch is that websites have to be updated to take advantage of the new Autofill API, just like native Android apps that use this functionality. I hope my bank will add support for this shortly from the heat of the universe.
Blocking some information requests
Chrome has already taken steps to prevent every site under the sun from creating notification popups, as usually you have to interact with the site for a while before showing the browser-level prompt, but now the browser is slightly going forward.
Google is now cracking down on websites that block pages (or all) until notifications are allowed. “Offensive notification signals are one of the top user complaints we receive about Chrome,” the company wrote in a blog post. “A large percentage of notification requests and notifications come from a small number of offending sites.”
Google will notify websites via the search console if the company detects abusive notification experiences, at which point the site will have 30 days to remove the behavior or kick in a cool interface.
Transport layer security, or TLS for short, is a technique used by HTTPS sites to ensure that all data is transferred over a secure connection. TLS 1.0 and 1.1 are quite old at this point – they were released in 1999 and 2006 respectively. TLS 1.0 is vulnerable to many types of attacks, including POODLE, while TLS 1.1 supports weak cryptography.
With the release of V72, Chrome withdrew support for TLS 1.0 and 1.1 in early 2019, but Chrome 84 adds an additional full-page warning on sites that do not support TLS 1.2 or later . You can still visit pages by pressing ‘Advanced’ and following the site link, but the browser warns that the workaround will be “disabled in the future”.
On a related note, Google has begun testing blocking HTTP downloads from HTTPS websites. It was originally slated to debut in Chrome 81, but delayed the V84. However, Chrome on Android will not start blocking these downloads until Chrome 85.
As always, this update includes changes for both users and developers. Some of the minor changes included in Chrome 84 are:
- Basic Test: The new Cookie Store API allows service employees to use HTTP cookies.
- The distance between items in CSS Flexbox can now be created using ‘Gutter’.
- Basic Test: The new Idol Detection API allows pages to correctly tell when the user is idle (the mouse is not moving, no key is pressed, etc.).
- Basic Test: Websites can now choose in strong isolation with the new Genesis isolation API.
- The Web Authenticator API can be used from a cross-original frame if it is enabled by a feature policy. Google stated, “It is of interest in banks to comply with PSD2 regulations in the EU where they have to authenticate their users in terms of a 3-party service-provider’s site. Secondly, some sites outsource their certification to the 3rd Want to do. – opposition provider. “
- The Screen Wake Lock API is enabled by default, and allows sites to keep your screen running in certain situations.
- Chrome 84 includes a new flag for the Media Feeds API, which, according to the now deleted documentation, appears to be a content recommendation interface for websites to use. The feature does not seem functional yet.
- A new Raw Clipboard Access API is hidden behind a flag, which allows web apps to copy / paste images and other raw data instead of just text.
The APK is signed by Google and upgrades your existing app. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Instead of waiting for Google to push this download to your devices, which you can download and install on the day, just like any other APK.