The company is testing an eclectic mix of Mica material and Material You
Anyone running the current stable build of Google Chrome (version 114) on desktop knows the UI doesn't make it easy to tell the currently active tab apart from the others. It is usually just a shade darker or lighter than the others, but as much as we love dynamic theming, one of the world's most popular web browsers ought to have a better UI. Google seems to have received the memo because it's now testing a mix of dynamic theming and Microsoft's Mica material to differentiate the active tab.
Menu backgrounds get the colorful treatment
Google’s Material You design and dynamic theming engine made Android 12 several times more amazing than previous Android updates. Support for dynamic theming first arrived on popular Google apps, followed by hordes of third-party ones. Two years on, Google is bringing Material You theming to Chrome Canary.
The latest Canary build for desktop makes important info and features easier to access
This year, Google has been on a streak of sorts, adding new features and design tweaks to Chrome Canary ahead of their stable channel release as one big visual overhaul. We've also seen more functional features like Live Translate for video captions and Memory saver for resource optimization show up in earlier versions of the browser. Now, Google is refining the design for these feature dialog boxes.
That YouTube background music tab will never go to sleep now
The fact that Chrome is the most commonly used web browser on the planet means that Google has to ensure people have an optimal experience, regardless of the device they use. For a resource intensive browser like Chrome, the Memory Saver feature introduced in February this year is rather important. Gradually, Google is making this utility more customizable. To this effect, the latest Chrome Canary has a new button to prevent Memory Saver from closing specific websites.
The auto-verify feature is in testing on Chrome Canary
Most of us are familiar, often to our frustration, with CAPTCHA systems that ask us time and time again to prove our existence as human beings before we're allowed to interact with some online service. Over the years, folks have voiced their frustrations about these unavoidable puzzles, tasking us with clicking on endless traffic signal and spot-the-bus pop-ups. Salvation may soon be within reach, because now, Google Chrome is working on a solution to seriously reduce the need for those pesky CAPTCHAs.
Some menu entries now pull their colors from your Chrome theme
Most users of Google’s Chrome browser may be unaware of the significant visual update looming on the horizon, but it is something of an open secret for anyone following Chrome Canary’s near-constant changes. The latest tweak to the new design takes dynamic theming to the next level, with a minor change to the overflow menus.
The new tab page gets a fresh look
Google Chrome is one of the most popular web browsers right now across multiple operating systems. To keep things ship-shape, it sees a regular stream of updates. Some of these changes may go unnoticed, but it's hard to miss tweaks to the new tab page (NTP) on desktop. Google is now testing a new layout for the shortcuts on Chrome Canary’s NTP.
Such toggles are quite a rarity, even in Canary
Google offers a lot of features to help you focus and improve productivity on Chrome browser, and recent versions have made efforts to streamline things a bit. One such important change is the downloads counter shifting from the bottom bar to a drop-down menu next to the address bar, much like on Microsoft Edge. As a part of its grand 2023 redesign, Google Chrome is now testing a toggle that lets you turn off pop-ups for completed downloads.
A little change for the planned 2023 refresh
Gone are the days when computers mandated the use of a mouse and keyboard. Today, many of our favorite Chromebooks are convertible 2-in-1 notebooks with fold-flat hinges and touchscreen support. Many desktop operating systems like Windows 11 also offer touchscreen-friendly display settings with larger menu items and convenient touch targets. Google appears to have the same idea for menu items in everyone’s favorite browser, Chrome, and its big upcoming refresh on desktop.
Chrome Canary users can enable the feature using a flag
All the best web browsers store your browsing history until you clear it manually. At least on Google Chrome for Android, you can temporarily prevent history logging using an incognito tab. However, that isn’t always convenient, especially considering how rival web browsers allow quick deletion of browsing history from the last five minutes, two hours, or the previous day. Last year, the Google Search app made it easy for any user to delete their query history from the last 15 minutes with a single tap. Now, this option is available for everyone running Chrome Canary for Android.
At least on Chrome Canary 113
Extensions on Google Chrome add to the browser’s functionality, bringing small capabilities and features that save you effort or give you more information. However, some of these extensions, mostly ad blockers, can break websites or cause unwanted behavior. You can open an incognito tab and continue browsing without interference from your extensions, but earlier this year, we spotted Google developing a toggle switch to turn off all the extensions without going incognito. This option is now available for all Chrome Canary users.
Eating into web pages’ usable screen space
Google Chrome is one of the most widely used web browsers in the world, but that doesn’t stop the development team from experimenting with new functional additions and visual tweaks to improve the user experience. As Material You design seeps deeper into Chrome, accompanying visual changes are coming to light, such as the ever so slightly taller Omnibox now available in Chrome Canary.
Reining in the RAM gluttony
Google’s ongoing efforts developing Chrome certainly don’t go unnoticed, considering it's the most popular web browser in the world by a landslide margin, across multiple platforms. Still, that doesn't mean it's perfect, and while the new Chrome 107 release includes improvements like support for HEVC hardware decoding in videos, and laying the groundwork for simplified login experiences down the road, long-standing issues like its infamous RAM hogging continue. Now there's finally some interesting progress towards doing something about that in development channels, with Chrome working on new tools for snoozing inactive tabs and freeing up system resources for other applications.
No more forgetting why you bookmarked a page
When bookmarks alone aren't enough, we often save web pages we want to visit later using tools such as Pocket and Evernote. These platforms allow multi-device sync, and you can even make notes when you save web pages. Someone at Google evidently thought this feature should be offered by default on Chrome and extended beyond notes for saved passwords, as development efforts have been ongoing for at least the last four months on the ability to annotate web pages inside Chrome.
More details could simplify install decisions
Progressive Web Applications (or PWAs) are an ideal middle ground for devs looking to bring their content to as many people as possible; you get the user experience associated with a standalone app, and their functionality can be relatively easy to implement. Although this has made PWAs immensely popular, Chrome for desktop hasn't been providing a ton of information when you go about installing them, potentially deterring users with obtuse messages. Now it looks like Google is finally doing something about that.
It's perfect for moving those memes-in-progress right into Photoshop
We've known for a few months that Google is working on a new download UI for Chrome. This menu is placed next to the URL bar and displays large progress bars, time remaining, and other information without shoving it into the bottom of your browser window. With the latest Canary update, Chrome's revamped downloads UI is getting another change: drag-and-drop files.
Still a work in progress, though
After testing tab groups in various forms for what seemed like ages, Google finally rolled out desktop support for the feature with Chrome Beta version 83 — allowing users to aggregate similar tabs together and label them with a custom name and color. Soon after, the tech giant added the option to collapse tab groups for more space. We've been hearing of a new option to save tab groups, and it looks like Google's making progress with the feature.
Saving you from potential disaster
With as much web browsing as we do on our phones, Google Chrome tabs can accumulate pretty quickly, and a common way for a lot of people to deal with them is to just take it things to the extreme and kill them all at once. As cathartic as that might feel, sometimes you might have some important stuff in there that you don't want to lose. To help you avoid doing anything rash,Google is adding a new confirmation dialog when closing all tabs.
An important milestone is coming up
Google Chrome has been with us for a long time as both a browser and a lightweight OS, and today it's made an achievement. A milestone we've been waiting for is now being teased — Chrome's first three-digit version, Chrome 100, is now rolling out on the Canary channel.
For those websites that are scaled just a bit too small
Sometimes, websites just don’t scale well on mobile screens, and for those of us with less-than-average vision, this means squinting and relying on accessibility services like Force enable zoom. On desktop, there’s a more elegant solution that scales the whole website to make it appear bigger, and judging by a recent update to Chrome 97, this feature is making its way into the mobile version of the browser.