Check out the big new features in the Chrome 84 beta

From new APIs to improved security measures, Chrome 84 looks to be a large update

Google Chrome

Chrome 83 has rolled out to users, which means it’s time for the next version of Chrome to hit the beta channel.

It’ll still be a while before Chrome 84 arrives for the public, but it seems to be a feature-packed release.

First up, the Chrome 84 beta adds a flag to enable recommendations for what to play next in media controls. Flags are semi-hidden settings used by developers to test new features before enabling them for all users. The ‘#enable-media-feeds’ flag is available by typing ‘chrome://flags’ into the address bar. However, Android Police reports that enabling it doesn’t do anything yet.

Once enabled, the feature should allow users to control things like YouTube’s ‘Up Next’ feature from Chrome’s built-in media controls.

Chrome 84 is also enabling the Screen Wake Lock API, which will allow websites to keep a phone’s screen on. Google added this for two reasons, the first being to stop websites from using “hacky” workarounds like playing an invisible video to keep the screen on. It also replaces an older API that had several security issues with it.

The new API will give more control to the device, allowing it to override the wake lock in certain cases, such as if the battery is too low.

The last new API coming in Chrome 84 will fix an annoying part of two-factor authentication (2FA). Back in 2017, Google built a feature into Android that would allow apps to ‘listen’ for 2FA messages sent over SMS and automatically input the code to make the process easier for users. Chrome 84 will bring a similar function to the web. Sites can add a string of characters to a message that will tell Chrome which site the message is for. Chrome then asks the user if it can read the message and pass the info to the site.

Unfortunately, websites will need to add support for the API before it will work properly. In other words, it could be some time before users actually benefit from the feature.

Other big changes in Chrome 84

One of the most annoying things about the web right now is the near-constant notification pop-ups. Almost every time I load a website, it asks to send me notifications for something. Other browsers have made steps to reduce the notification spam, and now Google’s doing the same with Chrome.

Chrome 84 will crackdown on websites that block parts of or all of a page until users allow notifications. These “abusive” notification prompts are one of the top complaints Google receives about Chrome.

Google says it will notify websites through Search Console if it detects abusive notification experiences. Once notified, the site has 30 days to remove the behaviour or Chrome will apply a ‘quiet’ interface saying it blocked notifications.

In the same vein, Chrome will now show a warning when users connect to websites that don’t support Transport Layer Security (TLS) 1.2 or later. Users can still tap ‘Advanced’ and click through to the link, but Chrome will block that in the future as well.

Those interested in trying out Chrome 84 in beta can grab it from the Play Store for Android or from Google’s website from PC and Mac.

Source: Android Police