Chrome 78 rolling out to devices now with file system and SMS APIs

The new APIs will let sites access local files and check SMS verification codes

Google Chrome app on Android

Chrome 78 is now rolling out to Android, macOS and Windows. It brings a slew of changes, security fixes and more.

First and foremost, the update brings the new Native File System API, which allows web pages to access your computer or phone’s local files directly. The feature is available as an ‘Origin Trial’ in Chrome 78.

The API allows web sites to bring up a file picker window. Users can select a single file, multiple files or entire folders, depending on what the site allows. Then, the site can make changes to those files.

The Chrome team built several security precautions into the API, so don’t worry about malicious sites using it to steal data. Plus, Google will continue to update and secure the feature before it officially rolls out.

For example, sites can only see files users select, and can only save changes to those files if users grant permission to do so. On desktop, web sites with that permission show an indicator in the address bar. Plus, the permission goes away when users close the page.

Google also added a new SMS Receiver API, which allows Chrome to check verification text messages.

Typically, when a site wants to verify you using SMS, you have to leave Chrome and check your phone for the message, copy the code and go back to Chrome to paste it in.

Google added an Android API that can automate this process with apps, and the SMS Receiver API enables a similar function for Chrome.

The search giant says the website can’t access your text messages. It can only see the single verification text sent from the website. Google also implemented security measures to prevent sites from viewing verification messages from other sites.

Other small features

Here’s a short list of some of the other small changes that found their way into Chrome 78.

  • Emoji in placeholder text now appears grey like regular text
  • Web pages can’t create a pop-up window when closed. This doesn’t affect the ‘Are you sure you want to close this tab?’ dialogue that appears when closing a site where you’ve entered information that could be lost on exit.
  • Chrome now supports JavaScript optional chaining
  • Media Session API getting a new seeking option. It could allow, for example, the Spotify web app to have the same seekable timeline bar as it does in the notification on Android 10

Source: Android Police