Google Chrome 90 is rolling out with improved security, video streaming and more

Google Chrome 90 is rolling out with improved security, video streaming and more
  • Google has started rolling out the new version of its web browser - Chrome 90.
  • The new version of the browser brings major security and privacy enhancements.
  • The new AV1 codec will improve video streaming and reduce data usage without hampering the quality.
Google is now rolling out the Chrome 90 for Windows 10, macOS, Linux and mobile devices in its bid to push secure HTTPS browsing with multiple user-centric upgrades and security enhancements. It's the first version of the browser to automatically load all URLs over a more secure HTTPS protocol.

In simple words, the new Chrome version will directly ping the HTTPS (secure) version of the website, whereas the Chrome 89 and older versions ping the HTTP (non-secure) version of the website before redirecting the user to the secure version. Also, there is no encryption in HTTP, but with HTTPS the data is encrypted before sending.

New consumer-focused features on Chrome 90

The new browser version brings a few but significant upgrades over its previous iteration.

AV1 Codec

The AV1 codec is a much-needed addition to the browser given the rising adoption of video streaming. It is an open-source codec that is designed to enhance the quality of video streaming across all platforms. The codec also reduces data usage while streaming, especially on mobile devices running Android or iOS and allows better streaming quality on a slow internet connection.

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In addition to improving stream quality, it also brings better compression efficiency that comes in handy for tasks like screen-sharing and similar. But the browser alone doesn't improve the quality, the content also needs to be encoded in AV1 to make use of this addition.

For example, in early 2020, Netflix had started streaming AV1 to some Android viewers. Then, Google introduced the AV1 codec to its Duo video chat app, and MediaTek enabled AV1 YouTube video streams on its Dimensity 1000 5G SoC that is being used in new smartphones.

Window management on Chrome

Google Chrome is also getting a very useful feature that lets you name the windows. The feature aims to make the browsing more organised and easy to identify the windows in a sea of tabs. Once your Chrome is updated to version 90, you will be able to access the feature under the 'More tools' option in the Chrome settings menu. Once the names are assigned, Chrome 90 will save them, and it will restore them when you open the browser next time or after a crash.

Other improvements in Chrome 90

Other improvements include a new WebXR Depth API based on its existing WebXR Device API, which will let it measure the physical distance between the device running Chrome and real-world objects for a better AR experience and more accurate understanding of the user environment. It will allow a better simulation of the physical interactions of virtual objects in the real world.

For developers, Chrome is now getting a new overlay (optional) to display the website performance using Core Web Vitals and other Google metrics.


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